He is a brave man. Many of us recount the senior officers' constant lying in blogs and verbally, but he stood up to be counted and called their bluff. I'm certain the fact they couldn't sack him was like a knife in their sides â€“ until his resignation. I'm not surprised he is leaving - within the Met it is considered anathema to speak to non-police people about the huge lies told by senior bosses like the Assistant Commissioner, Simon Byrne, and Sir Bernard.
PC Patrick, good luck on the outside!
Why is the Met like this? It's an infection of management culture which meshes perfectly with senior managers' desire for promotion and status.
The Commissioner and his underlings rule by command-and-control. They are in thrall to performance indicators, which the Sir Bernard and the likes of Simon Byrne use to defend themselves from criticism. But these are 'indicators' â€“ they should be allowed to 'indicate', and no more.
The water is pouring through the dam, but Bernard and Simon have their thumbs in the hole:
â€œYes I know water is pouring through, but look â€“ my thumb is in the hole. I know it's achieving nothing, but it's in the hole! I deserve my next promotion because my thumb's in the hole!â€Â They create practices like the disastrous Local Policing Model (see my post below) â€“ and pass rigid requirements for figures to those below. This propagates downwards, each manager knowing that he is safe as long as he can provide his boss with the figures she wants. For the PCs â€“ the ones doing the work â€“ they must do exactly as they are told, even if it's impossible.
â€œSquare pegs in round holes? Just do it. I don't care how.â€
Consider Yves Morieux 2013 fascinating TED talk about removing complication in management:
â€œIntegrators are managers who you reinforce so that they have power and interest to make others cooperate. How can you reinforce managers as integrators?
By removing layers. When there are too many layers people are too far from the action, therefore they need KPIs, matrices â€“ they need poor proxies for reality. They don't understand reality and they add the complication of matrices and KPIs...the less rules we must have to give discretionary power to managers.
Â We do the opposite â€“ the bigger we are the more rules we create and we end up with the Encyclopedia Brittanica of rules. You need to empower everybody to use their judgement, their intelligence.â€
Doesn't this sound rather like the opposite of the current Command and Control policing, where KPIs and matrices are everything and only the Commissioner is allowed to make decisions?
The Local Policing Model derives from a world of make-believe. Sir Bernard thinks that by allowing officers no flexibility he ensures it will work. Unfortunately the reverse is true. It means that nothing ever works properly.
The Local Policing Model could work if tweaked â€“ the senior managers need simply to listen to the problems experienced by the PCs, and make amendments. But they don't do this. Each strata of management simply tells the layer below it:
â€œNothing is going to change. Make it work exactly as we've told you.â€
So here is the lack of power to make a decision. Managers and constables are not empowered to make choices. Sir Bernard reserves that only for himself.
So the blame lies at the top â€“ a Commissioner unwilling to accept that there has to be flexibility, and that new practices will never work first time. It's not about saving face, but being realistic.
When a company manufactures an item, the final design comes about by an iterative process of development, taking problems on board. When a fault is found with a manufactured product it will be recalled and fixed â€“ a car for example a car. So why can't police managers do this?
Another is that it is foolish to expect a constable to be a Jack-of-all-trades and do everything when even a simple arrest will spirit away eight hours of her time. Sir Bernard has closed the prisoner handling teams, but why not reform them?
Any new system, such as Local Policing Teams, has flaws that appear after implementation. One such flaw is the closure of police stations and replacement with the appointment system and the 'Contact Points' â€“ a PCSO shuffling her feet in a town hall for an hour, unable to report crime or do anything except direct people to the nearest 24-hour station. Why not recognise this as a failing and revise the plan?
That doesn't happen. Police senior bosses seem to copy each other in their refusing to admit mistakes.
Incidentally, with all these hoops that members of the public must leap through to see a constable, no wonder Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe can claim crime has fallen.