Response 74686809

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Risks

1. Does the Policing 2026 strategy identify and acknowledge the main risks, challenges, opportunities and demands likely to impact on policing over the next 10 years?

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No
Not sure
We would welcome any view you have.
The “Strategy for Consultation” document appears to in large part discount the fact that crime levels for more traditional offences have ceased declining. Murders are up approximately 20% over the past year compared to the preceding three years. Robbery and Serious Assaults are holding firm in significant sections of the country and domestic housebreaking remains in line with historic averages in various parts of the country. Such offences have been both operational and public priorities many years and will remain as such for as long as there is drug and alcohol abuse. The document also appears to have in parts an entirely unrealistic vision of the future. For example, the document states on page 41 a public space assault was solved due to facial recognition software on CCTV picking out a suspect. This is bordering on absurd for anyone who has worked in local policing and knows that funding for the maintenance of often times low quality CCTV cameras is the first thing to be dropped when there is a need for budget cuts. CCTV inRedacted textfor example is routinely offline in recent years due to financial issues. Page 46 gives the example of a financial crime series being identified by an “artificial intelligence” employed by the police. Again, the disconnect between the current reality of cuts to crime and intelligence analysis resources in the police and this vision of a super computer solving our crimes is bordering on farcical. The reality is that there are no grounds for suspecting that local authorities will have the funds for cutting edge facial recognition software installed in their CCTV and no grounds for suspecting that the Police will be granted the budget of a small country to develop and implemented sophisticated artificial intelligence. The reality is that public space violence and complex crimes will require the assistance of human beings, employed by the police to investigate crimes and analyse crime patterns. Other areas such as the growth of eldery sections of society and isolation in old age are entirely relevant and appropriate, as is the likely growth of offences linked to internet technology and challenges for the police due to the permitting of military grade encryption for drug dealers, sex offenders and terrorists. A particularly large threat will be the prison service’s inability to prevent such military grade encryption from entering our prison system and the lack of political will to implement very straightforward technical blocks to illegal use of mobile phones and other communications devices by prisoners. The current scenario of senior figures in organised crime orchestrating gun running, murder attempts, witness intimidation and drugs supply from the comfort of their prison cell with an illegal mobile phone will be exacerbated by the spread of military grade encryption on these devices. As such, it will become far, far more challenging for the police to solve such offences and this will only embolden inmates and crime gangs to more ambitious acts of violence as the fear of being caught diminishes.

Focus

2. Do you agree the main areas of focus proposed within the Policing 2026 strategy are the right ones to deliver an enhanced policing service?

Please select one item
Strongly agree
Mostly agree
Ticked Not sure
Mostly disagree
Strongly disagree
Please tell us why you think these are the right or wrong areas of focus?
The “one size fits all” approach to policing, and the movement of the vast majority of specialist roles toRedacted textfollowing the inception of the single force has been somewhat ruinous for the organisation. The level of knowledge and expertise lost as people leave and as a “performance agenda” have been imposed on all corners of the country is something that the organisation may not have recovered by in 2026. It is therefore welcome to see a mention of “localism” in addition to the basics of “prevention” and “protection”. “Knowledge” and “innovation” are simply too woolly as concepts to offer any feedback on.

Methods

3. Do you agree the methods proposed within this strategy are the right ones to deliver an improved policing service?

Please select one item
Strongly agree
Mostly agree
Ticked Not sure
Mostly disagree
Strongly disagree
Please tell us why you think this is the right or wrong approach?
This all seems broadly sensible and common sense, although what is specified by “corporate support services” and "empower" people is unclear and therefore makes it difficult to provide further comment.

Performance

4. The Policing 2026 Strategy states that public confidence will be a key measure of success and the effectiveness of Police performance. Do you agree with this approach?

Please select one item
Strongly agree
Mostly agree
Not sure
Mostly disagree
Ticked Strongly disagree
We would welcome any views you have
Public confidence is in large part a result of what information the public are fed by media outlets. There is often times a huge disparity between the reality and what the media present (and therefore public perception). For example, various crime types are known, beyond doubt, to have substantially fallen during the 1980s, 90s, 00s and until the last few years. Yet public crime survey results show heightened concerns and a perception that crime levels are increasing. It would be inappropriate for Police performance to be in large part influenced by something so prone to manipulation by partisan media elements. Additionally, it is clear that media outlets consider that negative stories and headlines will be read by more people than positive or neutral headlines. Therefore, crime levels, solvency rates and other measures commonly used in policing prior to the single force to gauge performance levels should be the primary data source for evaluating Police performance. Suitably qualified statistical experts should be employed to interpret these figures to ensure that the police do not respond to figures that are not statistically significant (as had routinely been the case under Chief Constable Redacted text). An absolutely key indicator of police performance was dispensed with at the inception of the single force. Namely, the rate of which crimes submitted to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscals Service (COPFS) are treated as “no further proceedings”. This is arguably the sole most effective indicator of police performance, albeit it also relies on the COPFS being run relatively effectively.

Workforce

5. The Policing 2026 strategy highlights that we will need to re-shape our organisation with a workforce focussed on having the right skills and capacity to meet future challenges. Do you agree with this approach?

Please select one item
Strongly agree
Ticked Mostly agree
Not sure
Mostly disagree
Strongly disagree
We would welcome any views you have.
It is irrefutable that the proportion of police employees who were police officers has risen significantly since the inception of the single force. In order to become a police officer there are no specific qualifications or training that is required. The range of mental ability, experience with IT and language skills is therefore extremely varied amongst the police officer population. Some police officers are wholly unqualified for any kind of office based role that entails numeracy, literacy or ability with computer systems. Yet in recent years they have been routinely placed in such roles. As an example, the issue of police officers wrestling with spreadsheets and producing false data due to administrative errors is a daily occurrence throughout the force and highlights the errors in this approach. Additionally, with a maximum salary of over £37,000, police officers in Scotland have been some of the highest paid and least qualified office based workers in the country. Such a level of financial waste would be appalling in circumstances where the police had an unlimited budget. In circumstances where there are budget cuts such a level of financial waste is completely negligent and arguably a dereliction of duty. For non-administrative roles, there is a culture within the police that these same individuals with no specific required qualifications to hold the position of police officer, can be turned into Cybercrime specialists, project managers, financial investigators, IT experts and Crime Analysts simply by attending a three day course on a given subject. As a result, the organisation is filled with specialist posts filled by entirely unsuitable personnel who simply would not be considered for a job interview in their position if it was advertised publically given their lack of formal qualifications. The organisation also faces countless reviews and projects headed by the same highly variable quality of officers, with often disasterous consequences. For example, the failed i6 project was headed by a police officer and has set back the IT infrastructure of the organisation for years. At present a review of the intelligence and crime recording systems used by the organisation is being undertaken by police officers and there are no grounds for suspecting that they will have sufficient knowledge or expertise to identify the best solutions for the force. There should be no doubt that the process of filling specialist, office based roles is pronounced and ongoing despite suggestions to the contrary by senior management of the police. As recently as December 2016, a new unit was set up Redacted text. The force already has a raft of suitably trained police staff Redacted text officers and this new unit Redacted text. This is but one current example of the wastage, duplication and inappropriate use of resources that has been a regular occurrence throughout the single force since its inception. Police staff specialists on the other hand cost far less to employ, typically from £18,000-30,000 for non-managerial roles, compared to up to £37,000 for the lowest paid rank of police officer. The financial benefits alone of employing police staff should be stark to those with basic numeracy. Additionally, these police staff roles are advertised to the public and specificy the required skills, qualifications and experience. Therefore, specialist staff with perhaps a relevant degree, or comparable work experience in another organisation can be identified and recruited. Consequently, it is possible to recruit staff with far more relevant qualifications and experience at a fraction of the cost when compared to filling positions with police officers. It is absolutely essential that the organisation completely reverses the process of increasing the number of police officers and reducing the number of specialist police staff. The proposal to reduce the number of police officers by just 400 and increase the number of specialist police staff by just 170 by 2020 is inadequate considering the scale of the problem in recent years and the loss of thousands of police staff roles that could have been doing all of these office based roles.

Clear & Understandable

6. Is the strategy presented in a clear and understandable way?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
We would welcome any views you have.
Despite the lack of clarity and the apparent lack of will to make the radical changes that are required, the strategy does appear to be broadly coherent. However, the process of looking 10 years ahead is deeply flawed as the industry standard for policing is a maximum of 3 years. This is recognised in the document itself when it states "we believe it is not possible or advisable to predict the appropriate skill mix that will be necessary beyond a three-year horizon.” This calls into question why a period of 10 years was selected and casts doubt on the knowledge base of the individual(s) who approved such an undertaking.

Other views

7. We would welcome any additional views you have on our strategy and how it will affect you, or any other person.

We would welcome any views you have.
The consequences of squandering money on employing expensive police officers in office based roles for which they are insufficiently qualified cannot be overstated. It wastes what is a tight budget and results in the organisation creating such uncertainty for police staff that vast numbers of skilled and experienced staff members have left the organisation seeking an employer with a more logical and coherent vision. It also leaves the key areas where police are suitably trained and excel in understaffed; namely, response policing, community policing and CID.

About you

10. Are you responding as an individual or an organisation?

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(Required)
Ticked I am answering as an individual
I am answering on behalf of an organisation