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Where Are All The Police? – An Analysis of Police Resources To quote the inimitable Gadget:


“It is not enough to tinker around the edges: major change is needed if you want us to be able to respond quickly to your burglary or assault or mugging – or maybe even stand a chance of preventing them from happening in the first place”.


More of Gadgets’ insights are included at Appendix E.


Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), has said that the police service is ready to make changes. “But reform must add real value to the critical service we deliver which keeps our communities safe,” he added.


Sounds good on the face of it? What ACPO considers as ‘reform’ under ‘tight budget constraints’ includes reducing police officer numbers. “Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas” as they say, so make no bones about it, ACPO will make any reduction at the service delivery end of the operation, not from the top. For that very reason, there needs to be an independent body reviewing the operational and fiscal value of senior and in particular ACPO ranking officers.


When the Rt.Hon. David Cameron and his coalition came to power we were told; the future of our ‘Big Society’ is all about reform, change and local control and accountability, all be it amid a difficult financial climate. There will be some pain but it is necessary for us all to join together and work through it. We have to be bold, innovative and daring when we examine the ways we do things and search for best value delivery.


So here’s something radical that will help the police service to deliver front line service to our communities. It will assist with the reduction of expenditure under the current financial constraints of present budgets and, it will not detract from ’local accountability’. It’s not new; It has been discussed at length previously but more or less dismissed out of hand by senior police officers and Police Authorities (APA).


The subject is force amalgamation and/or regionalisation and it’s so obvious why it is frowned upon by ACPO and the APA… Their jobs, inflated egos (and not inconsiderable expenses claims) are the things that will suffer. All too often the same lines are trotted out from he self serving interests of ACPO and APA about larger forces defeating the objectives of connecting locally with the community. Where is the evidence of this? When members of the public call a police officer do they look at the crest on his hat and turn him away because he isn’t from their force area? Of course not. To a member of the public, this is a policeman, with no interest in the insignia. National amalgamations were dismissed by previous Governments due to the cost and work involved in making it happen. 43 police forces have grown into empires run as fiefdoms by their protective Chief Officers. Like 43 Managing Directors of plc subsidiary companies, they will resist any proposals for amalgamation vigorously, voicing whatever reasons they think will deflect the attention away from the subject. Why would a Chief Officer support a concept, however positive, that might lead to the loss of his rank? This should not remain an obstruction to what will best serve the public at large.


One large or ten regional forces would bring immense financial and resource sharing benefits that would ultimately serve the tax paying public better, and deliver optimum levels of value for money and efficiency. There is nothing to fear from this and everything to gain if only someone in power will have the courage to admit it and do something about it. One large or ten regional forces could still maintain a local relationship with its community by using BCU’s effectively. The only difference is that each force would comprise a greater number of BCU’s and officers. The delivery of service need not be adversely affected and indeed would benefit.


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