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To think that a National Scottish Police Force is possibly not the best idea ever?

(30 Posts)
Salmotrutta Tue 25-Sep-12 18:55:57

They have just been reporting the appointment of the new Chief Constable for the National Force on BBC Scotland.

Yes, I get that they may save money by centralising control BUT ...

Policing in the Highlands and rural areas will be vastly different from somewhere like Strathclyde or Lothian.

I'm not sure one Chief Constable (from The Big City) with overall control of a National force will understand the challenges of policing vast beats that stretch over thousands of square miles in the Highlands or Islands.
Even Tayside and Grampian have huge rural areas within their different divisions.

And the local bobbies in a rural beat will have very different daily challenges to those they have in a city surely?

Under the present system the Chief Constables are at least familiar with their Force's divisions and what is required

I'm just not sure "one size will fit all" here ...

And are they going to do this elsewhere in the UK does anyone know? I'm interested!

MissHuffy Tue 25-Sep-12 19:40:42

I've been working on some elements of this - very low level, back office stuff - and all the differing requirements of the forces are being fully considered. I'm a bit wary about saying more on here but all the information I'm aware of indicates that the public safety and maintaining frontline services is the main focus. There are big efficiencies that can be made by consolidating back office services across the forces which means there is more money available for actual policing.

English forces are looking at doing this regionally rather than nationally.

Salmotrutta Tue 25-Sep-12 19:51:02

Oooh - interesting!

I really hope it is the "back office" stuff that gets consolidated.

I do worry though that a single National Force with Top Brass sitting in offices in Glasgow/Edinburgh won't serve rural communities with massive divisional beats very well.

Well, we'll see, won't we?

I hope this guy does a full tour round the country and finds out what the bobby in Lerwick does on a daily basis and how policing a small community in the middle of nowhere actually works.

Euphemia Tue 25-Sep-12 20:22:04

And maybe he could find out why every second police officer in Tayside is at the side of the road with a radar gun. There's hardly any cars here! Get down the central belt and catch some real criminals. grin

Pandalicious Tue 25-Sep-12 20:44:37

The divisional structure is ridiculous in this day and age; not just for things like IT systems but general knowledge / intelligence sharing, joint ops etc are all far more difficult than they should be. Personally it can't come soon enough, and all of the officers I've talked to about it agree. The biggest difficulty seems to be accommodating all the various egos at the top. Strathclyde has plenty of rural beats so I don't think the different requirements will be an issue. I work with a different branch of the emergency services and while we are nominally organised on similar lines to plod in practice the dividing lines are all but invisible. It will save a ton of money, don't know how much will see it's way back to more bobbies on the beat though. Overall it's a good thing.

Pandalicious Tue 25-Sep-12 20:51:47

just to add ... there will still be local control and local knowledge (esential in the job), IMHO consolidation will mean more co-ordination and sharing. Everything is remote to somebody ... if you're in Stornoway then Inverness is 'the big city'; if you're in Inverness then Edinburgh probably feels like another planet.

dementedma Tue 25-Sep-12 21:27:36

Efficiencies will only be made if there is a good system in place. The idea of shared services is fine on paper,often doesn't work in reality. If the aim of it is just to save money at the cost of service delivery,it is doomed to fail.

Salmotrutta Tue 25-Sep-12 21:44:48

I'm not sure I agree about the divisional structure being outdated Pandalicious.
Each force has divisions because they are workable surely? I have seen a lot of the small local police stations being closed down. Stations where people knew the local bobby and would be able to pop in and ask about things, pass on info etc. I really can't believe we won't see even more closures of stations.

And remember a similar situation when regionalisation of the Councils came in?
It was unworkable and went back to the county council system anyway for administration!
The NHS can gone down the centralisation route too - so we have closed hospitals and moved everything to big centres. Not good.

I don't like it ...

MissHuffy Tue 25-Sep-12 21:45:20

There are some really good, efficient and effective procedures and practises in place, which could be quickly replicated and expanded if appropriate, and a real willingness to work together to get it right (from what I've seen).

When I questioned the primary motives/strategies that we needed to achieve I was quickly advised that public safety is always top priority. It made all of us non-public servants quickly pull our socks up and focus on what matters, not just the technology (which is my usual concern).

Salmotrutta Tue 25-Sep-12 21:47:17

The NHS has gone down ... hmm

scurryfunge Tue 25-Sep-12 22:00:03

I don't like it but I think it is the only way to save money. There will still be local points of contact from a police officer point of view, it will just be the administration that will be centralised. Although the public like the idea of speaking to a local bobby with knowledge of the area, the reality is that investigation should be formulaic and it should not matter where the investigation command sits. Provided bobbies still attend crime incidents then it shouldn't matter who is coordinating the investigation.

ilovemyteddies Tue 25-Sep-12 22:12:14

The Scottish people frighten me, did anyone see that Ross Kemp programme with the Glaswegian who twisted off two of his own toes? shock

bureni Tue 25-Sep-12 22:16:32

Slamotrutta, the PSNI has only ever had one Chief Constable and has not had any problems.

Shesparkles Tue 25-Sep-12 22:22:50

As a police employee I would categorically say it's a load of bollocks! When they speak about the back room jobs being streamlined, in practice, what has happened in the force I work for, is that civilian vacancies have not been filled by civilians, but by pulling police officers off their beats to fulfil their jobs. I currently have 3 officers on my shift filling civilian posts.
It's been strenuously denied by management, but these 3 people looks like police officers, dress like police officers etc.
Where's the financial sense in having a police officer being paid £37000 to carry out a function for which a civvie is paid £24000? It's happening.

WhereYouLeftIt Tue 25-Sep-12 22:22:55

TBH I've wondered in the past why this country (UK) still has so many different police forces. I can see how historically they developed this way, but that doesn't mean it's the best method now. In the 19th century, the local knowledge of the beat cops would have been all that was needed, because criminals were purely local. In the 20th century with organised crime and motorised transport, crimes could increasingly encompass the whole country, and the police needed more than local knowledge to address that. In the 21st century, with crimes such as people trafficking and identity theft and sophisticated frauds, a fragmented police force is at an increasing disadvantage.

Shesparkles Tue 25-Sep-12 22:27:00

Whereyouleftit, tha vast majority of "everyday" crime is still at a very local level, where the beatman's local knowledge is a very valuable resource.
Even when it comes down to control rooms, local knowledge has a huge part to play.
The ambulance service centralised their control rooms a few years back, and it's been carnage ever since.
People forget that the police is an emergency service, not a business, and it cannot and should not be run as such

Pandalicious Wed 26-Sep-12 14:50:18

Having divisions or regional forces won't make the slightest bit of difference to police stations closing or bobbies on the beat, there will still be layers of management between the Constable and the Chief Constable, no-one in the police force that I know of underestimates the importance of local policing.

If the officers doing civvie jobs have genuinely been pulled off the streets then that's scandalous, but usually it's that they are unfit for active duties but able to work in the office - in that case it's better to pay them £37k to do something than to sit at home on the sick long term.

Shesparkles Carnage seems a bit harsh (IMO), and the problems I see in the ambo service are not down to having centralised ACC (all IMO anyway) ...

chocoluvva Wed 26-Sep-12 15:05:47

Teddies!
I believe you may be confusing some Glaswegians with all scottish people.......

Shesparkles Wed 26-Sep-12 17:09:12

Well we're all fucked now with the new CC, and that the politicians have changed from saying no compulsory redundancies to "not keen on compulsory redundancy"

You'd better believe that these are active fit cops who have been pulled off their beats to work in the control room...there are 3 on my shift alone, and we have 5 shifts of staff, you do the maths .

I'm away to blow the dust off my degree and refresh my CV....

Shesparkles Wed 26-Sep-12 17:11:26

Sorry Panda, I meant to clarify, the problems I have encountered with SAS are relating to their control only, as they're the ones I have a lot of contact with. We often give up on our tie-line after 3+ minutes and have to use the 999, which can often be 1+ minutes unanswered...

JEMISMYNAME Wed 26-Sep-12 17:16:29

Ilovemyteddies - did you mean to be so rude?

CatPower Wed 26-Sep-12 17:52:05

One token Glaswegian junkie does not equal "all Scottish people". It's like saying Fred West is representative of all English men, ie UTTER BOLLOCKS.

Mayisout Wed 26-Sep-12 18:11:38

In our region of Scotland which is one of the largest there is hardly any night time cover anyway.

I would imagine the PCs doing office jobs will be replaced by civilians at the first opportunity. It's probably to avoid bad publicity for getting rid of front line staff but they will be replaced in time.

Salmotrutta Wed 26-Sep-12 19:16:56

The Scottish people frighten me, did anyone see that Ross Kemp programme with the Glaswegian who twisted off two of his own toes?

Yes, of course iloveteddies - Scotland is entirely populated by Glaswegians who pull off their toes hmm

Nothing like a nice bit of stereotyping eh?

CatPower Wed 26-Sep-12 23:02:23

Pfft, Weegies, bunch of softies. In the Highlands we don't pull our toes off. We bite them off. wink

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