Blues And Twos - Police Officer's Blog

Blues and Twos - Police & Law Blog is a an amalgamation of thoughts, feelings and observations on news, current affairs and UK policing in general. Our police blog has contributions from officers of the rank of Inspector (Organ Grinder) down to Constable (Monkey). Blues and Twos - The Police Officer's Blog

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Does The Police Service Listen To It's Officers?

The Police Service has been modernised, it's now being run in a 'private sector' style with police officers having to meet arrest performance targets and the like. Therefore police employees are fully allowed and encouraged to comment on the manner and management style of their Chief Constables...... Oh how wrong can you be!

Essex Police officers have been banned from commenting on an 'unofficial' police forum. The forum is operated by what's considered by most 'in the know' to be the UK police's online 'broadsheet' website - Police Oracle.

Police Oracle is a free news and information portal operated by mainly ex-police officers. The site was launched in 2002 by Geoff Hyams an ex-Met DI, who at the time of launching wanted to provide a free information resource to UK police officers, with aims to help cut police costs and promote good practice.

Geoff Hyams has been quoted in the national press on a similar subject: "Deafness to rank and file staff sometimes means failure to hear the most informed criticism of all, increasing the likelihood of external criticism and the threat of heavy handed government intervention."

Police Oracle is more used to reporting the news from a police prospective, than actually making the news itself. I only hope they continue to allow their member's access to this unofficial police forum.

The thread Essex Police - What A Mess! has been mentioned on numerous news sources, including regional newspapers and radio, it was also mentioned on CoppersBlog last week - Wee Rog. The forum thread is now apparently causing 'official' police concern.

Essex Police spokeswoman Kim Perks said: "The numbers reflected in the so-called opinion poll are tiny in the context of the 6,300 full and part-time staff that Essex Police employs and there is no evidence that it is Essex staff who have voted, or that the same person hasn't voted numerous times."

Essex Police Authority Chairman Robert Chambers said: "I am 150% behind Mr Baker. If there are any officers who are unhappy with the policies of the police authority or the police force then they should contact the chief constable - he is more than happy to talk to them. I can understand if you have a junior constable that might appear a bit foreboding, but that is the kind of man Mr Baker is. I am quite sure if there are genuine concerns they will be looked into."

This maybe so Kim, but unfortunately for Essex Police, the thread Essex Police - What A Mess! has had over 39 pages of comments left on it by police officers both serving and retired, members of the public, and members of local neighbourhood watch groups etc. At 10 comments per page, there's currently nearly 400 comments on the site.

The thread is unusual in that the officers are giving advice to members of the public and encouraging them to complain to their police authority and local MPs. It seems that the thread has allowed members of the public to talk frankly with police officers in Essex, there appears to be a real exchange of views between the public and police officers at grass root level.

I would have thought that the grown-up thing to do as far as dealing with this thread is concerned, would be for Essex Police to acknowledge the thread and look at the comments made by police and public alike, then action them.

The majority of posts seem to have been made during 'off duty' time, the police officers posting their comments are only doing so because they love their job, they hate to think they're not providing adequate service to the people of Essex.

In my opinion, Police Oracle should open a forum thread for every county in the UK, thus giving the public in other counties the chance to speak frankly with their police officers.

Articles in the press so far:
Top Cop Praises His Staff
Police officers attack the Chief Constable
Anyone like to air views on Essex Police?
Police play down Chief Constable poll
Website attacks police chief in arrests storm
Officers attack Chief Constable
Essex Police ban staff from web forum
Chat room attacks on police chief
Essex Police - How to put it right?

If you find anymore please tell me.


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