Wednesday, March 30, 2011

West Midlands Police forcibly retire a millennium of experience.

Sworn servants of the Crown cannot be made redundant, but under a little-used regulation A19, they can be forced to retire once they have completed 30 years' service. Over the course of this year, almost a thousand years of experience and policing knowledge will be removed from the West Midlands Police Service. Yesterday five of these officers, due to leave within a few days, spoke to the BBC.

DC Tony Fisher said,

"I use the analogy, West Midlands Police are being a bit like the Villa, going down and very quickly... You can even see now the front-line policing is affected, burglary detection rates, robbery detection rates are down, robberies and burglaries are going up and to be honest it's been quite soul destroying to see these changes."
Oh and Warwickshire have confirmed that 150 of their officers (about 8%) will be pulled from frontline roles to fill admin posts vacated by civilian staff made redundant to cut costs.

No wonder that decent coppers like Response Plod, an anonymous officer in the Met (who will doubtless be exposed and silenced by the national press in the public interest) feel moved to comment about his day policing Saturday's march
I met people who are in the same boat as us. Facing an uncertain future, facing massive cuts and exploitation by a government that not only are threatening our very existences, have lied to us all. I met a family with their young Son on the way there who had travelled a hundred or so miles to show their support for everyone of us facing cuts be them doctors, nurses, teachers, fire brigade even Union of boilermakers... I spoke with them for some time and they thanked us for helping them demonstrate safely and that they know we face an uncertain future but cannot demonstrate with us. To those I did manage to speak to I thanked. I thanked them for demonstrating a worthy and just cause and to prove that us decent hard working people will not just go gently into that good night. I thanked them because I could not join them. They were our voice today too and they did us proud
Kudos to the officers who have spoken out, still serving the public and the police service even as their careers come to a premature end. That's 20,000 years of policing gone. What was that about not hitting the frontline? A strong contender for the 2011 award for Keeping a Straight Face While Saying Unbelievable Things (won in 2010 by Nick Clegg for the Lib Dem manifesto launch) is the unnamed WMP press officer who wrote
the loss of 649 officers and their combined experience over the next four years does not mean service and protection to communities will suffer.

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