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Techie1

Policing Minister: We are not deaf to your concerns

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Minister hints at better resourcing and pay.

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The government listens to the service and is keen to help officers, the Policing Minister says.

Addressing the Police Superintendents’ Association Conference today, Nick Hurd said pay and resource complaints are being listened to.

After beginning his speech apologising for the non-appearance of Home Secretary Amber Rudd, he addressed a number of topics including resourcing.

On pay, he said: “We’re not deaf, even if we sometimes give the impression that we are.

“The message we have heard very clear and constant is about stretch and strain and the pressure experienced police officers telling me they haven’t worked under these conditions before.

“I’m standing here as a representative of the government who’s profoundly aware that police officers and a number of others have had to take their share of the burden […].

“There’s a limit to what we can reasonably ask of people.”

But he added that there is “considerable concern being expressed by employers” about “sustainability”, which is why there has been a delay so far. He said there will be an announcement on pay imminently.

Candid conversations about budgets will soon be held, he said, and hinted he will make some forces spend their reserves.

PSAEW president Chief Supt Gavin Thomas had earlier called for a pay rise and for better resourcing.

Mr Hurdalso promised a thorough review of resources and budgets, and other areas such as morale which he wrote to chief constables and police and crime commissioners about today. He said such a body of work had never been done before, and will shape the 2018/19 budget with an evidence base.

Elsewhere he promised a total of £60 million funding for several projects, including funding for certain forces.

His speech coincided with the announcement of a number of successful bids to the police transformation fund including a pilot to roll out video evidence in courts, £6 million to help digital policing in Cheshire, Essex, Hampshire, Gloucestershire and Merseyside and £23 million over the next three years for the NCA, Regional Organised Crime Units, and some police forces to detect, monitor and disrupt organised crime groups.

Responding to the funding announcements, Paddy Tipping, chairman of the Association of PCCs said: "The £60 million funding package announced by the minister will be invested across our regions and in local forces to ensure that our police can respond to the range of threats which pose harm to our communities.

"This funding covers programmes that use innovative ways to keep our communities safe, by investing in digital policing methods and effective local partnerships to combat serious and organised crime, whilst protecting the most vulnerable members of our society."

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2 hours ago, Techie1 said:

On pay, he said: “We’re not deaf, even if we sometimes give the impression that we are.

“The message we have heard very clear and constant is about stretch and strain and the pressure experienced police officers telling me they haven’t worked under these conditions before.

The government definitely does a good job of giving the impression that they are deaf to our concerns about pay and a myriad number of other things  such as the overall level of police funding, AFO numbers, assaults on officers etc.  On pay we should be getting our annual rise now in September but they acknowledged back in June that they hadn't even looked at the PRB submission let alone decided on what we will get meaning that it will be at least  December before we get it.  Remember this comes for a government which back in May said that they would seriously consider pay awards of more than 1% but they then decided not to look at the recommendations for another 3 months.  I worked out that had my pay kept pace with inflation I would have been over £4000 better off than now in gross terms,, whilst I have also lost take home pay due to NI and pension contribution increases.  

The 'protected' budget for my force is increasing at 0.3% pa when inflation is almost 3% so we are still making cuts and closing police stations, but all the easy cuts were done a long time ago.  We've lost 10% of our work force since 2010 whilst the population has gone up by 10% during the same period.  We're going through our third reorganisation in another vain attempt to match resources to demand but demand continually outstrips resources.  Recent HMIC reports have said that we have been performing well but we've just had another inspection but I don't think we'll come out well from. On example that I've heard is that they made three attempts to report a crime and failed every time due to long call queues or no one manning a front desk.

Demand isn't going down and partnership working doesn't seem to do a lot for the police particularly when other public sector bodies are facing budget cuts.  In the face of that a decent budget increase and not the paltry 'protected' budget is required.  I'd love to see some concrete proposals from the government but I'm not holding my breath.

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