Friday, 24 September 2010

'Thin Blue Line' getting ever thinner

What percent of the total number of police officers do you think are available to patrol Holyhead, Llangefni or Amlwch's streets at half past midnight on a Friday night?

20 percent? 15 percent? 10 percent?

Combined percentage of officers and PCSOs 
visibly available to the public at different times in two sample forces
click to enlarge

Well, according to a report (pdf) just released by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC), the actual amount is likely to be just 6.4 percent. According to the above diagram from the report approximately half of all police officers are anyway deployed away from the "front line" on other matters (e.g. investigation, intelligence, and various bureaucratic functions), 42 percent just aren't rostered for duty at night, and of those who are 2 percent are off sick, on holiday or on restricted duties -- leaving just 6 percent to man the 'thin blue line' on our streets. Strangely almost double that number (11.3%) are available at the rather less crime-filled time of 9am on a Monday morning... 

The report also goes on to explain why so much police are now deployed away from the front line:
"In seeking to reduce every risk to the public and possibility of error, all police officers’ work has increasingly become controlled by rules of good practice or guidance. In 2009 alone 2,600 pages of guidance were issued to officers setting out how their work should be done; and there are now 100 processes in the criminal justice system, requiring 40 interventions by police officers, staff and specialists. The cost to policing is estimated at £2.2 billion per year. The effect has been to draw resources into investigation, intelligence and other specialist functions, and away from the public: the number of warranted officers working in these areas increased by 3,000 over the last four years, while the number working in the community declined by 1,400."
To illustrate this point the report helpfully includes another diagram demonstrating just how much 'guidance' the average police force receives annually from the policing quango, the National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA):

Apparently in just 2009 alone there were 52 guidance documents produced by both the NPIA and ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) comprising more than 2,600 pages and over 250 recommendations. All of this just goes to show that the current model of policing were priorities are set centrally from Whitehall and require endless police paperwork and box-ticking is drawing ever larger numbers of Police Officers from the front line where we need them. As I have already written, the North Wales Police Authority is in favour of the status quo -- I say it's time to try something different.

UPDATE: A commenter writes "I read somewhere as well that we have never had such a high ratio of Police to general Public. If that is true, why are tey unable to attend burglaries etc, and try not to attend car break-ins at all." You are right, the below chart from the same report, shows that we do currently have record numbers of Police and PCSOs:

Click to enlarge

There has been a 50% increase in police officers over the past 40 years, and a fourfold increase in other staff, including PCSOs. Yet, ironically, more and more police are being re-deployed away from frontline services.


Anonymous said...

I have never been able to fathom the purpose of PCSOs other than to be cheap Police Officers. I have always thought that PCSOs (if there is a need for them) should be used in the background to release Police Officers for the front line.

I think we are rapidly moving towards a system seen in Italy, Portugal and Spain where it is not uncommon to have part-time Police who have 'normal' daytime jobs and do Police work at nights and weekends in addition to full time Officers.

I read somewhere as well that we have never had such a high ratio of Police to general Public. If that is true, why are tey unable to attend burglaries etc, and try not to attend car break-ins at all.

Anonymous said...


Man wakes up in the middle of the night, having been awoken by a noise outside, he struggles out of bed and sees a prowler trying to break into his car. He instinctly picks up the phone and dials 999

" Emergency services how can I help you?"
"Hello, can I have the Police please?"
" Connecting you, hold the line please"

"Hello there, my name is ...... and I live at....., there's a man in the front, he's trying to break into my car, he's got a knife and he looks a bit shady, can you send someone round please?
" Let me think, big fellow eh?"
"Yes, he's huge"
" Carrying a knife, you said"
" Yes, please help, he's trying to still my car, I need it for work tomorrow"
"Well were, a bit short staffed tonight, and we'll send a car round in the morning, you have a nice sleep sir, go back to bed and don't worry about your car, it's insured isn't it?"
" Yes, of course it's insured"
" What I'll do is give you your incident number and if he does steal or damage your car you can pass it over to your insurance, okey dokey, good night"
Five minutes later, the man dials 999 again and asks for the Police.
" Police, can I help you at all?"
" Hello there, I phoned you before about a prowler in the front trying to steal my car, do you remember?"
" Yes"
" Well, you see I got my shotgun out and he's now splattered all over the front garden!"
Five minutes later, four police cars turn up and a helicopter hovers over the house with searchlight blazing and loudspeakers blaring. The Police knock on the door," Where's the body?" asks the Police, " I thought you were short staffed" said the victim.

The Red Flag said...


Anonymous said...

Well said and well done but who or what is ROFL?

Anonymous said...

Any chance we can get a photo of IWJ in a funky North Wales Police Baseball cap? Now that would be a challenge, well worth a Druid's Penny as I remember you did a competion to get a photo of our AM in his ministeral car, and he ended up in a balloon, instead. That's a nice challenge for the readers, writers and extremist( we all know who he is)how about it Druid?

The Great Councillini said...

"I think we are rapidly moving towards a system seen in Italy, Portugal and Spain where it is not uncommon to have part-time Police "

Perhaps we are, but we continue to pay ever-higher amounts of money for the so-called service which in reality is no such thing.

101 is a handy number for less-urgent calls to the police. Except, if you have an issue during the early morning hours, there's nobody there, not even a message service. During the day, I had one operator start to argue a point of law that she clearly had no idea about but felt it necessary to tell me about anyway.

It's crap. We should all stand together and tell the police that they are not doing what the public want them to do. Sadly, just like schools and hospitals, they have become an instrument of the government, who use them to get the good-news statistics they need to make us thing they're governing.

At least this recession is making people think a bit about the money they pay, and what they get in return. That can't be a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

Less police, less chance of getting Anglesey County Council Investigated.

The Red Flag said...

Anonymous said...
Well said and well done but who or what is ROFL?

24 September 2010 16:33

It's text speak

ROFL - Rolls On Floor Laughing
PMSL - Piss My Self Laughing
FOCL - Fell Off Chair Laughing
M8 - M8

etc etc etc

Anonymous said...

ROFL stands for Rolling on Floor Laughing, and all of these statistics, figures, graphs and the like the Druid pops on here makes me very, very suspicious. There's now way that a joskin like Albert and IWJ could string all of these facts and figures together, there's something strange going on, I don't like it, I'm not sure if this is right, am I playing into the hands of someone who wants to put me in a box with the rest of my Country? Or is the Druid someone we can TRUST.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Anon 18:16 - I can confirm I have no intention of putting you "in a box".

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Anon 16:49 - Indeed. I'm happy to offer a Druid coin for anyone who sends in a photo of IWJ wearing a "funky North Wales Police Baseball cap"...

Anonymous said...

Damn you druid, your a tease, let me try my best to conjure some baseball cap stories up, did he gets his wifi in his balloon?

Puck said...

Can I add another TLA (Three Letter Acronym):

TIA (This Is Anglesey) - apologies to Leonardo Decaprio (Blood Diamond)

Lordgnome said...

Perhaps if the police spent a bit less money on electronic toys such as the scamera vans and ANPR, etc. then they might have some staff and cash to provide officers to deal with crime.

Anonymous said...

1. The small but dynamic PCSO in my area is fantastic and is well supported by the community.

2. To overcome the cut-backs NWP are removing all speed limits for patrol cars. With ome planning, one car will be able to serve the whole island and will be able to get from A to B (Amlwch to Benllech) and B to C (Benllech to Cemaes) etc in moments thereby making it possible to survive with just one officer. A vast amount will be saved on officers but it will of course be necessary to increase HQ support staff.


Anonymous said...

Druid 18.41 Your subject was overheard at the doctors
"doctor, I think I am shrinking"

Doctor replied "then you will have to be a little patient"

Anonymous said...


Heaven forbid that anyone would be so smallminded or petty enough to wish to dispose of all the technology available to the Police just because they have been caught breaking the law with said technology.

I conclude then that you have in depth knowledge of how ANPR and the all encompassing 'etc' that you quote work or in your case here don't work. It would be criminal if such an experience as your was wasted and this blog is exactly the place where you can expose this blatant use of useless technology by the Police.
Let rip Lordgnome. Expose the lot.
Start with ANPR. Tell us what it does, how it's deployed and why it is an useless piece of kit in detecting crime and catching criminals. We can then move on to 'etc' I'm eager to know how we can reduce what effiency already exists in their crime detecting capacity.
I wait with baited breath (but wont be holding it)

The Red Flag said...

ANPR is a spin-off from the electronic intelligence gathering that was used in Northern Ireland. In simplistic terms it is a camera that can read a number plate and transmit it to a computer where it can be stored or compared against other databases.

The camera can be set up covertly, overtly, or even fitted into the front of a car.

An example of it's uses would be to set one up on a natural choke point such as Britannia Bridge and as a car passes that is not taxed or MOT'd, or is connected to organised crime etc it automatically alerts a patrol car waiting further up the A55 or stores the data in the PNC database for later use. Likewise mounting one in the grill of a marked or unmarked Police car can achieve the same effect as the camera checks the number plates of cars in front. During intelligence-led operations (against for example terrorists or drug lords), they can be set up in things as small as 'discarded' coke cans, fake dog turds, man-made rocks etc and left monitoring the movement of vehicles in and out of target zones.

"Allegedly", they were used to great effect in Northern Ireland and were set up all over the place and linked to codes that in turn denoted council wards. A huge database of the pattern of life was built up in a system known as VENGEFUL supplemented by patrols logging number plates parked up at night, at checkpoints etc.

The Red Flag said...

/cont. You can even have differing levels of security so that a known terrorists car can pass one that the Police are monitoring and it doesn't alert them but will alert the deeper intelligence agencies thus the Police are unaware of any significance and the terrorist - seeing no reaction from the police - thinks his cover is safe.

Anonymous said...

Red Flag

So what you are saying is that those camera vans that have a couple of police cars either side of it stopping certain cars are not speed vans but actually catching wanted criminals and detecting some of the more serious motoring offences such as disqualified drivers, no insurance etc with the added bonus that it tracks the movements of the more serious criminals who just so happened to not be actually committing a crime at that particular moment.

If by abolishing them as LordGnome advocates and transferring the cash to "..some staff and cash to provide officers to deal with crime." would the amount caught/detected across the whole North Wales Police go up dramatically or plummet?

You obviously know a bit about these things. I'm looking forward to LordGnome giving us further examples of such wanton waste and to your views on those. Sadly, I don't think we'll get any even though I don't think for one minute he's just another clueless 'sneer and jeer' fuckwit.

The Red Flag said...

You are confusing two different technologies and their uses. APNR is just a numberplayte reader. It doesn't need to be in a big van. It can be run through a high definition cameraas small as a matchbox and fitted behind the grill of a car or inside seemingly harmless objects. Them speed vans are using laser cameras (although doubtless feeding into the APNR system as well - why look a gift horse in the gob) and one of the reasons the vans are so big and noticeable is the deterrent effect. When I got bounced one fine sunny february morning on the A55 it was a dark blue unmarked Vectra with the speed camera built in. He even replayed the footage to me on a little screen on the dashboard, in colour. Lovely picture.

Hundred quid and six points before you ask.

Anonymous said...

Red Flag

Please switch on your sarcmode detector!!

Anonymous said...

"When I got bounced one fine sunny february morning on the A55 it was a dark blue unmarked Vectra with the speed camera built in"

Ah, some old fashioned speed detecting by a Traffic man who, instead of using Vascar, got you by latest technolgy.

Of course even this will be frowned upon in lala land occupied by the righteous. The types that want everyone else severly dealt with but not poor ole little them.

And no, this not aimed at you Red Flag. Six points eh. Not just one mph over the limit then!!

The Red Flag said...

Well anon it was 102 point something-or-other thanks for asking.

The down hill stretctch in the Mona area where you can see the A%% dropping down in front of you then going up the other side for about 2-3 miles. There was me tootling along at 70 and just one other car on the whole stretch - the Vectra. It was to good an opportunity to miss ( I had a BMW then) . I tore past him in the outside lane and the rest was - as the saying goes - history.

I got the bus from Holyhead to Llangefni full expecting to be banned. The beaks didn't because the copper said the conditions were excellent and the road empty except for he and I, so they eased off on me a bit.

It was a fair cop guv'nor - no complaints (other than the cost of a return bus ticket Holyhead-Llangefni - outrageous).

Anonymous said...

A report published this month in the Police watchdog magazine " Dixon of Dock Green" reveals a majority of the North wales public believe the Police force discriminates against minority groups.

And it is the motorist who suffers most from police discrimination according to public opinion.Over 75% of the people questioned thought that police officers deliberately discrimanted against drivers who drove either too fast, or in an erratic manner while under the influence of alcohol.


According to the survey other minority groups such as burglars, drug dealers are often singled out for attention by the police.


A spokesman for the Federation of Policemen said that public confidence in the North Wales police was in the increase, since the removal of the baseball cap as uniform and despite the fact that they ocassionally roughed up people or shot them by mistake.
Meanwhile, a report published by the Police Complaints Commission, and the Welsh Audit Office showed that the number of complaints made against police officers increased during the last year.

I tried to contact the Police to verify these facts, but no one was available."We are too busy to talk was their message on their answer machine, we are on the beat"

Anonymous said...

Fellas, what's your idea of the most glamourous job in the world? Film star, pop star, x factor star? Your all wrong, the most glamorous job is driving a patrol car!

A lot of people imagine it's boring driving a police car back and forth along the same route every day. But nothing could be further from the truth. My favourite route ran through a housing estate, my car was PLOD 47, but back at HQ we called it PLOD69 for obvious reasons.

I'd take my patrol car down there about 9:30 am after all the fellas had gone to work and the birds would be queuing up for it at every corner. I'd make sure everyone of them had a ride in the back seat.I'd be so busy I often got back to HQ 6 or 7 hours late!

Sometimes I would do a country route just to give myself a rest. But on one occasion that plan backfired. I was driving in this village where no-one lived so I knew I'd have a quiet time. Little did I know a dozen top models had been posing for a sexy calendar in the countryside, and they all wanted to get in the patrol car for a lift home. I drove around the countryside for hours, stopping on request to give them a nice ticket. When I got back to HQ I parked in a quiet corner and had a nice nap.

Mind you, it's not all sex in the patrol cars. Sometimes I'd only have sex with one woman at a time.Like the time a gorgeous blond film star got in my patrol car. It was the last patrol of the evening and there was no-one else around. She smiled and asked if the car went all the way. I didn't need to be asked twice, and within seconds the windows were all steamed up and the suspension was being tested to its limit. By the time we'd finished - several hours later - the patrol car PLOD69 was a total write off.
I told the inspector I'd driven over some rough ground and he believed me. I still smile every time I drive past that old patrol car in the scrapyard.

Anonymous said...

You took a dozen models in your patrol car?

You should be sacked for carrying more than 4 against Con and Use Regs!


I don't speak Welsh. Why are all the word verifications in Welsh?

The Red Flag said...

I don't speak Welsh. Why are all the word verifications in Welsh?

It isn't welsh. As everyone can see it is a Mongolian dialect expressed phonetically in roman lettering. The words relate to the differing conditions of Yak hair at different tomes of the year and different weather.

For instance my verification word is 'imativis' which as everyone knows means 'somewhat silky, with a hint of grease and a tad of dandruff, softened by the April dews.'

Anonymous said...

Mine was jism, I hope that wasn't referring to Cliff Richards who could probably flood his village in a tidal wave of..