Thursday, October 26, 2006

Performance ratings.

I wasn't going to play around with the performance ratings for the police that were issued earlier this week. However after reading this article I just couldn't not say something.

It seems that the forces are rated on 7 areas, its ability to reduce crime, investigate crime, promote public safety, provide assistance, improve citizen focused policing, improve resource use and deliver local policing. Each area is given points on a scale of excellent, good, fair or poor where, with a maximum of 21 in total must mean that excellent = 3 points and poor = 0.

Now that seems fair enough but when you look down these list some of these are easier to do than others. For arguments sake reduce crime is a lot more difficult to do than promoting public safety and so on. Plus, most of these tasks bear little resemblance to crime fighting which is what we want our police to do. In fact only reducing crime and investigating crime are targets I would consider for a police force not providing citizen focused anything. What does that mean anyway?

Anyway, as with everybody that is given targets you concentrate on the things you can do to give the best return on investment. Biggest bang for your buck as they say. Of course this then gets to a point where to move up the ladder will require a significant investment for perhaps one extra point.

At this stage we will stick with the 'improvements' in the forces at the bottom of the pile who are now at three points. WTF. I was flabbergasted. My flabber was well and truly gasted. Three points. What did they have before?

In reality that means that they could take every penny given to them. Sack the coppers. Spend it on a PR firm giving awareness posters, TV spots and road signs for promoting public safety and get an excellent worth three points. They would then have the same points they have now on a fraction of the police force and at greatly reduced cost. Next year they wouldn't have to keep up so many posters so they could then spend the bulk of their money on improving the resources delivery of the safety notices. Streamline the payments for the PR firm. FM it to a third party. Now they are at six points. Of course no chance of reducing crime but, Hey, that's only worth the same three points max and it would require real work and dedication and is by no way guaranteed to work.

Interesting that the top force is 18 points. Could it be that no force has a decent score in reducing crime either? Because let's face it the only areas in the measured items list that interests us is the reduction and investigation of crime. Everything else is paper pushing and politicking. I suspect nobody got full marks in either of those two areas.

Anyway, the bit that made me say something. 'the results show a slight improvement, from 62.3% in 2004/05 to 63.2% in 2005/06, this is equivalent to an additional 1,186 full-time officers carrying out front line duties' So a less than 1% increase in a artificial figure can be equated to an extra 1,186 policemen on the beat. Are we paying 1,186 more people for front line work? I doubt it. It just means that they are getting more efficient at filling out the forms.

The Police, NHS, DWP, everybody is striving to meet artificial targets and not doing what they are being paid for. Politicians, *spit*, they have a lot to answer for.


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