This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Secret Diary of a PCC (Day seven)

I knew I was going to win and become PCC the day that Barack Obama was re-elected US President. I thought here’s a man who has charisma by the bucket load, intelligence off the scale, compassion for his fellow human beings that hugs the world (unlike Mitt Romney who was able to happily return to his home planet as tweeted by @DeanLReeves) and political nous even greater than Peter Mandelson’s. Just like me! I had it in the bag.

And so it came to pass. I was duly elected by the popular vote.

But one thing has been troubling me since I was elected: there are mounting stories of low police morale. Many officers are considering leaving The Job. I know they won’t of course, because they all have mortgages and nowhere to go unless they want to work part time in a call centre or serve cocktails in a late opening bar. But I am still concerned as low morale means low performance and then guess who gets in the neck?

I blame the former Chief Constable of course: his leadership was clearly not up to scratch. Despite his years of study, cramming and hothousing in Bramshill, he couldn’t lead a bunch of 7 year olds to an ice cream party. The acting Chief is not much better.

And so it falls to me to put together a 10 point plan to boost police morale:
  1. New uniforms: the current wardrobe is made of scratchy material and shaped like tents, particularly on the larger members of our team. Whereas the mounted division always look rather smart in their jodhpurs, shiny boots and big gloves. Everyone is now going to wear this uniform! We will be the most dashing police force.
  2. New batons: the current batons look a little drab to me and not very easy to hold. I am sure the officers will appreciate the new standard issue ‘pirate’ batons with hand protectors and silver paint.
  3. New sandwiches: I know how the police ‘army’ marches on its stomach and so I have arranged new suppliers of lunch for the troops. All sworn officers (not staff sadly – the budget would not stretch that far) will now be issued with a lunch box and sandwiches every day. The choice will be chicken or ham or ham/chicken medley plus one cherry tomato to boost their vitamin C.
  4. New cars: Yes you heard it right. Every officer will be issued with a boxed replica of the force’s Land Rover Discovery with full livery. These will become collector’s items in the future to be handed down for generations to come.
  5. New organisational structure: (The acting Chief bleated on a bit about operational independence regarding this one but I told him it was all about priorities and if he wanted a shot at becoming chief…) I can’t describe this yet as we still working it out but I do know there will be lots of jobs with words like ‘neighbourhood’, ‘community’, and ‘performance’ in the titles. It will be a far flatter structure, of course, partly because all the management books talk about empowerment stuff and also, frankly, we can’t afford too many managers these days. 
  6. New vision: the old vision is looking a little, well, jaded. The font needs updating evidently. And ‘stakeholders’ is a bit passé now. And it lacks a picture – a rising sun will be added. I know some wags say that it looks like a setting sun. But it is not! It is rising, just like my popularity will be once these ten points are put into place.
  7. New culture: I have decreed that the old culture has got to go. Henceforth all officers and staff will have to be a) not cynical, b) driven by the aspirations (not targets) in my policing plan, c) respectful of all, even politicians.
  8. New procedures: We are going to re-engineer all of our processes in the next 3 months. I have hired some whizzy consultants who will map all of our processes in detail, scrunch up the bits of paper those maps are on and start again. We are going to be a lean, mean, crime fighting machine with no waste or legacy baggage. There will be a place for everything/one and everything/one will be in their place! We will be able to eat our sandwiches off the floor of the custody suites.
  9. New Chief Constable: I will be appointing the new Chief to implement all these points of course. If they don’t work and we still have low morale, I will need someone to blame. I will make sure that the new person has leadership grandeur, laser like insight into policing and real people skills. Someone a bit like the new head of the HMIC should suffice.
  10. New me: I am going on a diet and exercise regime as I have discovered that whilst it might be good use of my time being driven around the force area by my chauffeur, it has not been good for my waist line. So I have commissioned a new commissioner’s vehicle that includes an exercise bike with built in tablet so I can keep fit and read all the reports I need to whilst on the move. The energy produced by cycling will make the vehicle greener as well. I will look as slim as Obama before the month is out. Having a fit PCC can only help morale.

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