Sleepwalking into Disaster (reblogged from @Policechoice)

17 Mar

I do not write these words easily.
I have spent a good deal of time considering this issue.
I am compelled to comment. My perspective, is of a retired Officer of 34 years service, who values those who put themselves in harms way on our behalf on a daily basis.
The recently published ‘Police Federation Independent Review’ http://www.polfed.org/fedatwork/independent_review.aspx
“The evidence gathering revolved around the Terms of Reference, which
were set by the Police Federation and accepted by the Independent Review.
Our research sought to determine whether the Federation:
•• Acts as a credible voice for rank and file police officers
•• Genuinely serves the public good as well as its
members’ interests
•• Is able to influence public policy on crime and policing in
a constructive manner
•• Is an example of organisational democracy and effective
decision-making at its best allowing genuine ownership of the
organisation by police officers and effective communication
between members and the Federation at all levels
•• Is recognised as a world class leader in “employee voice”.”
These were/are very worthy objectives.
However, in my view the Federation has not grasped the opportunity for radical reform.
The Report is insular, and inward looking.
I looked in vain for references to the Ballots by members which mandated the Federation to explorethe seeking of the same ‘Employment Rights ‘ [excluding Right to Strike] enjoyed by every other Police Officer in the European Union, but not the UK.
Why was this?
There is no doubt that on at least 2 occasions in recent history, a majority of officers have voted for this. The use by the Federation of the term ‘Industrial Rights’ is easily misinterpreted as ‘Industrial Action’.
Officers in the UK, in the 21st Century are a world away from 1919.
Unions are not a dirty word. They understand their focus, as do those with whom they engage. The Royal College of Nursing, for example, is a Union. JUDGES are represented by a Union. Incidentally, when the current Government sought to impose a 1% increase in their Pension Contributions from it’s base of 0%, what happened?
They successfully argued that this was unlawful, and a breach of CONTRACT!
‘Compulsory Severance’ aka Redundancy, hangs over Police Officers like the Sword of Damocles. The Home Secretary says it’s off the table ‘ for now’?!!
The conclusion and implementation plan of the Review includes the following terms written in Bold letters:
Building Trust, Professionalism, Unity and Value for Money.
In my view, these fine words require a sea change in the culture, and nature of the representative body for Officers from Constable to Chief Inspector.
The time has come for the office of Constable, with it’s individual responsibility and accountability, to be protected, in a modern manner.
You will see from our Home Page, written by a member of our Legal Team, that it is totally lawful for officers to seek Employment Rights. It is also totally lawful, for officers to engage in activity in support of those Rights.
This means Union representation, professionally lead and responsive to the NEEDS of Members and their families.
Officers deserve protection from bullying in the workplace , eg ‘Performance Management ‘ chasing ‘Targets’! At present, as Officers [ except for Health and Safety Law] are not employees, and cannot seek redress at Employment Tribunals, unless a ‘Diversity’ element is associated .
The Federation is in a cleft stick, concerning representation.At present, it does not have the stature and skills to pro actively challenge political iniatives, which damage the traditions of Policing in this country. For example, the ‘ mission creep’ of PCSO’s, let alone the ‘efficiency and morality of their pay : responsibilities ratio.
I have seen the human cost of these failures,writ large on the faces and disposition of ex- colleagues and their families.
The public have not voted for the shockingly misnamed ‘Reforms’ of WINSOR, beloved by Policy Exchange.
The cuts and denigration from those who should know better describing officers as ‘overpaid Blue Collar Workers’ springs to mind.
I am not anti -Federation. I am very respectful of ex colleagues who have done their best to bridge the ‘unbridgeable gap ‘namely, represent officers effectively without the wherewithal, to do so.
Issues of Direct Entry at Superintendent and Inspector level have the potential to damage the service, in terms of cohesion and empathy for operational activity, and it’s consequences.
Policing, like other ‘Blue Light’ Public Services, is NOT a Business. It should be business- like. The chequered history of National Projects like AIRWAVES, indicates that Strategic Project Management is a developing expertise.
The prime criterion of policing is Quality of Service, not distorted activity in support of Targets, whose rationale is questionable.

You have a choice.

The choice is YOURS.

Tony MUNDAY

This entry was posted in employment rights, FEDERATION, POLICE IN UK LACK RIGHTS and tagged EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS, EQUALITY, FEDERATION, POLICE IN UK LACK RIGHTS by Tony Munday. Bookmark the permalink.

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