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, March 27, 2013

Secret Diary of a Police & Crime Commissioner: appointing the new Chief Constable

Well. Here we are. I can almost breathe out:
  • Plan, tick! 
  • Budget, tick! 
  • New desk, tick! 
  • Chain of office, tick! 
  • Appointed second deputy after the first one went all Bramshillified, tick! 
I think I deserve a well-earned Easter break. All I have left to do now is appoint a new Chief Constable. 

I have been holding back on this because a) I had a million other things to do (well, not quite a million but it seemed that way) b) it is going to be such a faff doing it and c) I rather like having an acting Chief Constable, he is rather, how can I put this… easy to manipulate. But I guess I am going to have to get on with the job, even if all the brightest candidates have found jobs already. Still, I can always appoint an assistant Chief Constable or even a Chief Superintendent if I want to – although there are a few people who would get rather sniffy about that. Perhaps I will appoint someone from abroad: cat pigeons what?!

Of course, with all the power that I have, I can more or less do as I please. There are times when I regret that the legislation to create PCCs was so poorly drafted and scrutinised but on many occasions I delight in the fact that you can drive a whole troop of police horses through it. Hah!

So what kind of Chief Constable do I want? Here is my initial stab at a person specification:

Must believe that the main job of police officers is to lock criminals up (despite that fact that many of them spend hour upon hour sorting out people with mental health problems that the other agencies have run away from, finding lost cats, sorting out road traffic incidents, recycling Socialist Worker Party placards on the force bonfire etc)

Must be willing to back me up no matter what I say (like any good politician, I have been known to speak from the hip and I therefore need an urbane civil servant who can interpret my words benignly)

Must believe in my policing plan (which is of course includes lots of guff, pomp and claptrap, but it’s my guff, pomp and claptrap, I will have him or her know)

Must be willing to make further cuts in policing without so much as a squeak or a whimper (this, of course, is called ‘living in the real world’ and whilst we are all doing our best to finagle the accounts and build in rosy assumptions about the future into the 3 year budget, there will need for more people to be ‘let go’)

Must be tough on social media and tough on the causes of anonymous tweeting and blogging (the police service of 2013 is no place for dissent, criticism or self-flagellation! All officers and staff must be on message and tweet only the most anodyne of statements)

Must be able to speak the Queen’s English (and not management lingo and no quoting from American authors in the Harvard Business Review)

Now, to start the search!

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