There are now just 135,838 officers in England and Wales, the lowest since 2002, following a four per cent cut in 12 months. Civilian staff have also been axed in huge numbers with an 11 per cent fall – or 8,820 fewer.
One force, Cleveland, slashed almost 70 per cent of its civilian workers. It is the first real sign of the impact on police forces as they face budget cuts of up to 20 per cent over four years.
Nick Herbert, the policing minister, insisted front line policing must be protected and urged forces to use their resources more efficiently. He said claims that crime would rise if officer numbers fell were “simplistic and unfounded”.
Labour accused the Government of putting the public at risk with cuts that go too far too fast. It follows a stark warning from Gloucestershire Chief Constable Tony Melville that his force was now on a "metaphorical cliff edge" because of deeper than expected cuts.
And rank and file leaders warned the ability of the police to protect the public will be hit. Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation, said: “How can we possibly provide the same level of service to the public if we are losing thousands of officers?
“Today’s announcement is just the tip of the iceberg, as we will see even fewer police officers available as we embark on policing the biggest security event this country has ever seen, the Olympic Games. “It is deeply disappointing that the Coalition Government’s decision to cut the police budget was taken purely for fiscal reasons, without any regard for the impact on public safety.”
The number of police officers fell by 6,144 in the 12 months to September 2011, while civilian staff were reduced by 8,820. Some forces saw a cut in officer numbers by more than seven per cent while others saw civilian staff reduce by more than a fifth.
Traffic wardens 'pressured' into issuing tickets
By Victoria Ward 6:57PM GMT 26 Jan 2012
The practice was exposed by parking warden Hakim Berkani, 45, who was sacked for refusing to issue large numbers of tickets. Mr Berkani won his employment tribunal after judge Jeremy Burns ruled that his opposition to the secret quota scheme could not “justify dismissal”.
The father of two, from Wandsworth, south London, lost his job last February after tipping off a driver who was about to be given a ticket.
Mr Berkani claimed that he was harassed and eventually dismissed by NSL, the contractor, because he preferred to warn motorists that they had parked illegally rather than issue a fine.
Details of the minimum quota policy were disclosed in evidence after other wardens revealed that they were under pressure to meet secret targets. Internal emails suggested that wardens were expected to issue an "absolute minimum" of ten tickets a day to avoid being disciplined.
It was claimed that one colleague was held up as an "excellent example" for issuing 35 tickets, known as Penalty Charge Notices, in a single shift.
A letter from an unnamed warden said it was "very difficult to issue a genuine and honest PCN” in the wealthy London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, because the residents were “unbelievably well-behaved”.
Another warden claimed that he was told his PCN productivity was “the worst of all" and a third said he was "targeted" by a supervisor for "not taking part in the dodgy practices” and failing to issue enough tickets Mr Burns, sitting at the Central London Employment Tribunal, found that Mr Berkani was unfairly dismissed for his "opposition to the respondent's clandestine quote system" and his trade union activity.
He said Mr Berkani only issued tickets as "a last resort" and that disciplinary proceedings against him, following three years of service, were a “sham” designed to get rid of him.
Wardens "felt under considerable pressure” to issue parking tickets, he added, and as a result, “some adopted a predatory and in some cases dishonest rather than co-operative approach to motorists."
Chelsea resident Alasdair Seton-Marsden, 49, a former marketing director and FTSE 100 board director, studied law in order to represent Mr Berkani at the three-day hearing.
New PCSOs draw on their faith to help tackle crime in community
Avon and Somerset police have welcomed two new police community support officers who will be helping in the fight against crime.
Dan Bonnici, 24, and Rob Hendra, 42, have joined the team at Radstock Police Station bringing with them more than just dedication to the job and a sense of social justice.
Both have strong religious beliefs. Mr Hendra, who will be covering the Radstock beat, has been a committed Christian all his life while Mr Bonnici converted to Islam five years ago.
Mr Bonnici, who covers Timsbury, High Littleton, Farrington Gurney and surrounding villages, said: "Actually it is thanks to my faith I have the job as a PCSO. Joining the police was not something I had thought of until I was encouraged to apply to become a PCSO by a former police inspector I met while at the mosque. " He said I had the skills and enthusiasm needed for the job. I took what he said on board and realised that it would be something I would like to try and immediately sent off an application. So far it has been great and I have really enjoyed meeting people within the community."
Thursday, February 02, 2012 >> Somerset Guardian
Mr Hendra, who has already spent time working as a PCSO in Filton, Bristol, said the key to being good at the job is looking for solutions to problems by thinking outside of the box.
He said: "An example of this is when I was working at the other station we had an incident when sub-continental workers who had been brought in to work on a new project at Orange were being verbally abused by a number of youths.
"What I did was set up a cricket match which helped build up the trust and understanding and in turn made the area safer for everyone."
Both PCSOs have encouraged people to get in touch if they have issues in the area where they live.
Mr Hendra added: "If you see us on foot patrol, stop us in the street and have a chat about any issues that are affecting you or your neighbourhood.
£80m police mobile device scheme saved little cash, delivered few benefits
Programme to equip police with Blackberrys and personal digital assistants has not delivered hoped-for results, says the National Audit Office
Gill Hitchcock Guardian Professional, Friday 27 January 2012 13.00 GMT
The Home Office's £80m programme to equip police with Blackberrys and personal digital assistants (PDAs) has achieved limited cash savings and only one in five forces have used the devices effectively, according to a National Audit Office (NAO) report.
The Mobile Information Programme began with the Labour government's announcement in September 2007 that 10,000 mobile devices would be provided to police officers within the following 12 months. Previously such devices had been introduced in only a small number of forces.
The programme distributed £71m of central funding to forces between 2008-09 and 2009-10. By March 2011 more than 41,000 devices had been rolled out to police officers and police community support officers through the programme, in addition to the 10,000 already in use before the scheme began.
The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) was awarded £9m in funding to manage the scheme and the programme's delivery targets were consistently exceeded. However, the NAO found it had not properly considered how forces would use the devices, nor the amount of local expenditure needed.
The NPIA "undertook a high-level assessment of forces' mobile technology requirements, but only limited analysis of their capability and capacity to introduce it. The investment board criticised the business case for lacking sufficient cost-benefit analysis between the options, not knowing whether local forces were prepared for mobile technology and not clearly understanding the costs or local funding required," the report said.
While the devices have enabled police officers to spend more time out of their stations, an estimated 18 minutes extra per shift, not all forces have seen significant process improvement thanks to the scheme.
"22 [of the 32] forces responding to our survey cited drawbacks with their mobile technology projects including the speed with which forces were asked to roll out devices, low usage, technical problems or limitations, or lack of senior buy-in to the use of mobile technology. These are barriers to effective process change," the report says.
In addition, there was no assessment of the number of devices that each force would need under the programme, according to the report. In some of the forces surveyed by the NAO only 1% of officers had devices; 19 forces had devices for less then half their officers, while three forces had more devices than officers.
Only 10 of the 32 forces who responded to the NAO found they had derived savings from the programme.
"While the Mobile Information Programme did not explicitly set out to deliver cashable savings, these should have followed from objectives to reduce bureaucracy, increase efficiency and contribute to better policing. The focus
on increasing visibility and supporting front-line officers means that cashable savings to date have been limited. Some forces are, however, predicting greater savings in the future, for example in reducing control room costs," the report says.
Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: "In the majority of forces, the benefits have not so far extended beyond simply allowing officers to spend more time out of the station.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 Surrey Mirror
POLICE community support officers (PCSOs) have been granted powers
allowing them to stop and search young people. The officers were given the authority last month to search any underage young people they believe are smoking or drinking, or any over-18s drinking in specified public areas. Previously, only police officers had these powers.
The announcement from Surrey Police sparked concern among leaders of Time4, a community organisation which aims to provide opportunities for young people in Merstham.
Director Roy Alexander, 40, said: "The kids distrust the police and I can't see how this will help. The PCSOs need to be approachable, they need to show themselves to be human.
"They should break down barriers and undo the bad reputation they already have before they start searching bags, which actually seems invasive."
A member of the Time4 team, Liam Barcelo, 20, from Merstham, said: "PCSOs already seem to over-exercise their authority and exercise their power when they don't always have sufficient training in the law. This is only going to make things worse."
Nathan Tidy, 19, a painter and decorator of Radstock Way, Merstham, said: "PCSOs are plastic policemen. They can't do anything because they haven't had the right training, so they should not have more authority."
But Zoe Charman , 37, of Malmstone Avenue, Merstham, who has a 16-year-old daughter, told the Mirror: "My daughter has been stopped and searched by a police officer. Though it doesn't happen any more, she has been in trouble with the police before and they regularly sent her home. There needs to be enough officers who can enforce the law, I think this is a good idea."
The powers have been granted by the chief officer group following discussions with the PCSOs directly, their supervisors and colleagues, as well as the Unison trade union.
POLICE in Staffordshire are to be told to use buses while out on patrol
– to cut back on the cost of cars. Thursday, January 19, 2012 this is Staffordshire
Talks are under way between Staffordshire Police and public transport firms about allowing more uniformed officers and PCSOs to travel free.
The force wants to cut £900,000 from its £5.8 million annual transport budget and hopes putting bobbies on buses and trains will cut the use of fuel and fleet cars.
Senior officers today reassured residents that officers will not use public transport to get to emergency calls.
Staffordshire Police Authority considered the plan yesterday. Selwyn Brown, of North Staffordshire bus-users group ACES, said today: "I applaud the plan. "Anything that can help us feel safer is good. "Years ago, you used to see police officers on buses all the time. They were part of the community.
"If they are going to be seen on the buses again
NEXT month, two key decisions are due to be made that could result in dozens of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) disappearing from the county’s streets.
Northamptonshire County Council wants to slash the £500,000 a year it spends on PCSOs, while Northampton Borough Council is proposing to cut the £100,000 a year the authority spends on the officers.
Northamptonshire Police is also planning on cutting 25 PCSOs over the next four years as part of plans to reduce the force’s budget by around 20 per cent.
The council proposals, which are set to be voted on next month, have prompted a row about who should be paying for our PCSOs and whether the police should be dipping into their reserves to pick up the tab.
We asked a number of the key personalities, who should be paying for our PCSOs?
Michael Ellis, MP for Northampton North, said he wants Northamptonshire Police to use its reserves to pick up the tab for PCSOs who are facing the axe.
The force has £21 million worth of reserves, including £9 million of general reserves.
Mr Ellis said police should think about what the public wanted the force to spend its money on and vowed to fight to save PCSOs.
He said: “I have spoken to the chief constable, I have spoken to the leader of Northampton Borough Council, I have written to the chairman of the police authority and I have been invited to spend some time with PCSOs and my view is that the retention of PCSOs should be a priority.
“The litmus test for all of this is what would the general public want?
“I am elected to represent the general public and I think their view would be that they know the police need reserves but they would rather have PCSOs. I think the public would rather have PCSOs . . . and I think that is what we should remember.”
The leader of Northamptonshire County Council and Northamptonshire Police Authority member Jim Harker (Con, Kettering Rural) said he wanted to work with the police to help plan for the future.
He said the county council had contributed £500,000 a year in funding for three years and then extended the agreement into this year, as the Government had matched the contribution.
However, he said neither the Government nor the county council could afford to carry on.
He said: “What I think is worth doing is talking to the chief constable to see how the county council can work with the police to improve community safety and work to make sure the people of Northamptonshire feel as safe as they can and we can help with that in lots of other ways but it won’t be in funding PCSOs.”
Rosemary Yule, treasurer of the police authority, said it would not be sustainable for police to fund PCSOs from reserves.
She said: “The £21m represents a forecast level of total reserves for the authority.
“However the great majority of this is committed either for capital spending, pensions, insurance, shared services investment or to support the revenue budget in future years. This future support will enable us to bridge our budget gap over the next four years without steep increases in council tax.
“The authority is committed to planning financially for future years and our published reserves strategy is a key part of this.
“Unfortunately, using reserves as a one-off measure to fund ongoing PCSO salaries would not be prudent or sustainable.”
LIBERAL Democrat councillor Brendan Glynane, a member of the borough and county council as well as Northamptonshire Police Authority, condemned the cuts to PCSOs.
He said: “The truth of the matter is that the Conservatives are cutting their funding at the borough council and at the county council. This is a decision by the Conservatives and no amount of spin and half-truths will change that. They should be up front and honest with people and not try to deflect the blame for their decisions.
“Northamptonshire Conservatives are making our town and our county less safe and then have
Northamptonshire Police defends decision not to dip into £21m reserves to save PCSOs
By John Harrison Published on Friday 6 January 2012 12:41
POLICE chiefs have defended a decision not to use the force’s £21 million of reserves despite a funding crisis that could see nearly 50 PCSOs lose their jobs.
Northamptonshire Police is to cut 25 PCSOs over the next four years, with Northamptonshire County Council and Northampton Borough Council also set to slash their funding for community officers. Forty-seven PCSOs could be lost across the county, including 20 in Northampton.
Police bosses have urged the county council, which could cut its annual £500,000 worth of funding for PCSOs, as well as the borough council, which wants to slash £100,000 a year, to reconsider their plans before they are discussed next month.
However, the police chiefs are now coming under pressure to defend the use of their own reserves, with council leaders asking why the force is not using its own cash to pay for PCSOs.
In a report for the county’s police authority it was revealed Northamptonshire Police is sitting on reserves totalling £21.7 million, including general reserves of £9.5 million.
Michael Ellis, MP for Northampton North, said: “That is a vast amount of reserves. I accept that a body like the police has to have reserves but not £21.7 million. We are talking about the county council cutting £500,000 and the borough council cutting £100,000. They could fund that money from their reserves and still have more than £21 million. I don’t want to see PCSOs losing their jobs when there are millions of pounds sitting in police reserves.”
However, Northamptonshire Police said the money was already committed to other areas and said it would not be “prudent or sustainable” to use it to pay for PCSOs.
A Police Authority spokesman said: “The £21m represents a forecast level of total reserves for the Authority. However the great majority of this is committed either for capital spending, pensions, insurance, shared services investment or to support the revenue budget in future years. This future support will enable us to bridge our budget gap over the next four years without steep increases in council tax.
“The authority is committed to planning financially for future years and our published reserves strategy is a key part
Leader of Northampton Borough Council says police have enough money to fund PCSOs
By Wayne Bontoft Published on Tuesday 3 January 2012 07:30
THE LEADER of Northampton Borough Council has thrown the gauntlet down to police officials in the county, calling on them to fund the area’s Police Community Support Officers.
As part of proposed budget cuts, Northamptonshire County Council is planning to withdraw the £500,000 a year it pays for PCSOs in the county, while the borough council is also planning to cut £100,000 it gives the police.
It is feared the cuts will lead to there being 20 fewer PCSOs on the streets of Northampton.
But later this month, the leader of the borough council, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) will table an official motion calling on the police to fund the PCSOs from their own savings, which he claims add up to more than £20 million.
He said: “Times are tough for all public bodies at the moment and the borough council can no longer afford to fund PCSOs.
“They do important jobs in our local communities so knowing how much money the police authority has in reserves, I hope they will consider using some of that money to keep funding PCSOs.”
The council leader’s motion will be debated during a meeting of the authority on January 16. If it is passed by councillors, the council’s chief executive, David Kennedy, will write to chief constable, Adrian Lee, setting out the council’s stance.
But opposition councillor Brendan Glynane (Lib Dem, Delapre & Briar Hill), who is also a member of the police authority, accused the Conservatives of attempting to mislead the public over the issue.
He said: “I think they’re playing politics with policing here. They’re trying to shift the blame for the fact that they’ve made a political decision not to fund PCSOs. They need to stand up and say that’s what they’ve done and see how people like that.”
He also denied the police had the money to make up the shortfall, adding: “That money is allocated for a lot of changes the police are going to have to make in the future.”
Thursday 19th January 2012 By Jamie Brooks
CHARD Street Pastors will be kept in the loop from this week
– thanks to a donation for new radios.
The town’s police force received £1,000 funding through the Safer Somerset Partnership to buy four town link radios, which were presented to the pastors on Thursday.
The Safer Somerset Partnership is a group of agencies in the county working together as a single Community Safety Partnership in order to tackle crime, disorder and antisocial behaviour, and to reduce re-offending.
The radios were used for the first time at the weekend and proved a handy tool of communication, not just for the pastors, but also for their links with the police and the pubs in the town.
PC Paul Thomas, beat manager of Chard police, said: “We were keen to support them and we knew they had an issue with communicating with each other – they have been borrowing radios from the station until now.
“We saw funding was available from the Safer Somerset Partnership and applied on behalf of the Street Pastors and it went from there.
“The radios also allow them to communicate with our PCSOs and helps us work in co-operation with one another – the police working hand in hand with the street pastors.”
Nat Thomson, of Chard Street Pastors, said: “We’d like to thank the police and the Safer Somerset Partnership for their support
Police follow their noses to cannabis worth £10k
stashed in Salford alleyway January 10, 2012 Manchester Evening News
Two police workers followed their noses to uncover cannabis with a street value of £10,000.
PCSOs Mike Fisher and Andy Shaw were on patrol in Burton Walk in the Trinity area of Salford when they caught the smell of something pungent.
They followed the scent to a back alley and found four bags and a bucket filled with marijuana.
Following the discovery, PCSO Fisher, of the Salford East Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We followed a strong smell of cannabis which led us to a back alleyway where we found the stash of cannabis.
“Residents regularly tell us that they are concerned about drugs and we have taken a large quantity off the streets that otherwise would have been sold within the local area. We take the cultivation of cannabis very seriously and will always act on information provided to us by the public, so if anyone knows anything then I urge you to contact us so that we can bring an end to drug-fuelled misery.”
Anyone with information on drugs can call the policing team on 0161 856 5127 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
Pionering webchat with Islington Police “massive success”
Aimee Brannen Friday, January 20, 2012
The first ever live webchat with Islington’s police chief has been hailed as a great success.
Borough commander Ch Supt Mike Wise and Sgt Mike Atkinson fielded questions from the public for one-and-a-half hours yesterday evening (Thursday) during the event held in partnership with the Gazette and Will Perrin, founder of King’s Cross Environment and Let’s Talk About Local.
Issues hot on the agenda included irresponsible driving affecting cyclists, gang problems on estates and the soaring number of mobile phone thefts in the borough, as well as last summer’s riots and the forthcoming Olympics.
A number of questions also related to council plans to roll out a massive CCTV upgrade across the borough’s estates – as revealed by the Gazette earlier this month – and one member of the public asked if it would have helped solve the Andrew Jaipaul murder case.
The 21-year-old was repeatedly stabbed in an attack by a group of up to 20 men on the Andover Estate, off Hornsey Road, Holloway, on Sunday, June 26, last year.
Ch Supt Wise, who confirmed his support for the CCTV project, said: “The murder of Andrew Jaipaul was an absolute tragedy and my sympathies are still with his family and friends.
“It is difficult to say whether an expansion of CCTV in this case would have assisted in the investigation but clearly it would have given the investigating teams another avenue of inquiry.”
Following the event, Ch Supt Wise said: “This is a fantastic new opportunity to be able to discuss important issues around policing and community safety with the people of Islington. I really enjoyed receiving the questions and I thank you for the positive feedback that many of you gave in relation to what we are doing tonight. I very much look forward to being able to take your questions again in April.”
Srgt Atkinson added: “With modern technology playing a bigger part in people’s lives, I think it’s essential for the police to utilise this technology to engage with local residents. We’ve had a fantastic response and I envisage rolling this out on a permanent basis.”
Below are some of the other highlights:
Kara: How do you intend to help cut crime when frontline services affected – speaking for Caledonian in particular where the sergeant now has to be shared with Barnsbury?
Ch Supt Wise: “As with all public sector organisations, the Met has to make significant budget reductions over the next few years. The commissioner has made it quite clear that we will do everything possible to protect frontline service, and I believe, as do many police officers, that neighbourhood policing is key to developing community confidence and delivering a service that local people really want. It is a reality that I have had to ask sergeants to supervise two wards but I have retained at least two constables and three PCSOs on each ward. Let me also assure you that other officers are regularly posted into areas of Islington where we need to tackle a particular crime.
Luella Bourne: What are Islington police doing to help rough sleepers by Angel Station off the streets. The warm air vent near the station must save many homeless people from freezing night temperatures. I hope they are not moved on by police unless there is a better alternative?
Chief Supt Mike Wise: “The issue of rough sleeping in London is one which is high on the agenda for many inner London boroughs. Islington Council has an outreach team, the purpose of which is to ensure that we give as much support as we can to the vulnerable and integrate them into mainstream accommodation. In this instance, the role of Islington Police would be to make those referrals and support the outreach team in their work.
2012: Do you think things will be very different when the Olympics are on? Will tourists be safe...Will travel be impossible?
Ch Supt Wise said: “I think the Olympics is a massive opportunity to showcase London and the United Kingdom. The Met along with many of its partners have worked tirelessly over a number of years to put together a policing and security operation to ensure we have a safe and secure games. All police leave has been cancelled so that we can, with colleagues from around the country, put as many uniform police officers, community support officers and members of the special constabulary on the streets of London. This is designed to provide reassurance, protect visitors to London and deal robustly with those who intend to commit crime.”
N5 Resident: “I have had friends and heard stories of others who have had their mobiles stolen from out of their hand by young thugs on bikes. Are there any ways police can seize and sell off their bikes once they’re convicted? Or give them to a charity or something? Would Islington Police back anything like this?”
Sgt Mike Atkinson: “If a person is convicted of committing an offence while on a cycle we have various options to deal with them. We would look at banning them from using pedal cycles for a specific area/specific time. We do seize property including cycles and they go to auction. Money from this then gets invested into local projects/charities. We have recently given money to several youth diversion projects in the borough.”
Chris: I have read in the local paper that the council intend to increase CCTV to cover pretty much all estates in Islington. Is that something you would support?
Ch Supt Wise: “The use of CCTV is a very valuable tool to prevent and detect crime. There are many instances in Islington where we have detected very serious offences and brought offenders to justice through this method. I absolutely understand people’s concerns in respect of civil liberties but used responsibly with safeguards, then CCTV does provide reassurance and confidence in many communities. Therefore I would support further expansion after the appropriate consultations take place.”
CitizenX: Do you think less jobs for young people will mean more youth crime? And youth charities are getting their grants cut...
Chief Supt Mike Wise: “I often think that young people are unfairly stigmatized and all the public sector and voluntary agencies should pull together to provide as much opportunity as possible to ensure our young people are able to flourish and fulfil their potential. It is true that a number of funding streams have been cut but Islington Police and the council have been considering other ways in which we can support young people in the borough. There are also a number of well established community projects such as Arsenal in the Community who do much good work in diverting young people away from crime. Through our neighbourhood policing teams we support various projects including a Safer Neighbourhoods Annual Challenge (SNAC) which gives young people to interact with police and work on community projects.”
Saturday 7 January 2012 09:00 Thorne and District Gazette
CHILDREN tried their hand at walking the beat in a bid to learn how to become a police officer.
Certificates were awarded to nine youngsters from the Wheatley and Intake area after completing the Junior Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) scheme.
The scheme, gave them an insight into the roles and responsibilities of PCSOs over a 12-week period including crime and the consequences, a visit to the CCTV suite and the cells.
The children also covered environmental issues, such as litter picking, removal of graffiti as well as safety sessions including fire safety and road safety.
The children’s families were invited along to a presentation evening at Wheatley Youth Club to see what the young people had been doing during their training.
Supt Peter Norman from South Yorkshire Police and civic mayor and Wheatley councillor Eva Hughes handed out the certificates.
Children and young person officer, Pc Emma Bloodworth, who organised the scheme, said: “The scheme gave the young people an insight into the role of the PCSO and how they work in partnership to improve local communities.
“It aimed to teach young people about the implications of their actions, preventing antisocial behaviour and having respect for themselves and others.”
Partner organisations were also involved to educate the junior PCSOs on real life scenarios and the consequences incidents can have on the community.
Pc Bloodworth added: “The young people have shown a real dedication to the scheme turning up every Friday night for the last 12 weeks.
“They have taken part in various activities in the community whilst also learning about crime and how the police and PCSO’s work. It has helped to build relationships between the police and young people and hopefully will be rolled out across the Borough so more young people can get involved.”
Coun Hughes, said: “This scheme has been a big success and it’s excellent to see young people helping out and learning how to work with PCSOs and Council officers to keep
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