Or it was at least, and it gives me absolutely no pleasure to write these words.
When I joined the Met a million years ago in 1972 the old sweats took delight in telling me that I was now part of the finest Police Force in the world, they were referring to the Met of course, but a case could have been made for almost any UK Police Force. British Policing was a model for so many others across the world. Â You only had to spend a handful of days at Hendon to trip over any number of foreign students studying something there, if only how to drive and skid.
I wasnâ€™t originally going to write this post, and if you inhabit the world of Twitter you will have seen much of it already in separate tweets, twats, whatever.
I have had much to say about â€œthe cutsâ€ over the years, and I take none of it back, but today it finally hit me how deep the Crisis In Policing truly is. However, Iâ€™m not going to mention money at all in this pcost, but there will be a few numbers. Grim numbers. Â Iâ€™m not even going to rant, this is way too serious for a rant.
Firstly, as I have referred to before, the latest official stats were released this week on the number of Police Officers in England and Wales. Â As expected numbers have gone down further and are at their lowest level for a long time.
The official government chart looks like this:-
If that isnâ€™t bad enough, do you recall Mrs May saying this in 2011, when she was still Home Secretary?
Â â€œAs I said earlier, we have to meet the challenge of police reform at the same time as we meet the challenge of reducing police spending. And we have to do that while protecting â€“ indeed, improving â€“ frontline police servicesâ€
This year Front Line Services look like this
Another official government chart. Does that look like something that is being protected or improved?
Mrs May and/or Amber Rudd has had no influence in Scotland. Their manpower chart (official government chart) looks quite different to ours
The overall numbers might be fewer (I shall come back to that later) and they are not without problems but the chart is trending in the right direction.
The Special Constabulary were meant to be our saviours in the May/Cameron vision. Â Look what has happened to them.
Yes, I know, another official government chart.
There is no pretty graph specifically for PCSOs, but they peaked at slightly under 17,000 in 2010 and had been reduced to 10,213 in March 2017
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (Norn Iron apparently) fares no better
But look on the bright side, we must be doing better than some of those hard-to-point-at-on-a-map places in Europe? Right? WRONG
My last nice, official government chart shows that the Police Service of England and Wales has fewer officers per 100,000 head of population than Scotland and Northern Ireland. In fact even Liechtenstein (whereâ€™s that?) has more than we do.
In fact England and Wales is 7th from the BOTTOM
The only words I can think of to describe this whole situation are â€˜Disgraceâ€™ and â€˜Travestyâ€™. Â Theresa May you have done this, you and David Cameron. How can we possibly claim to be the finest in the world? How will we ever be able to claim that again? You proudly claim that â€œPolice Reform is workingâ€. Â How can you possibly say that faced with the above information, every Â piece of it found in a government Â Briefing Paper dated June 2107, so it is relatively current.
Donâ€™t â€œshed a little tearâ€, just â€œdry your eyesâ€ and get angry. Very angry. Â Please feel free to share this post, particularly if your MP is on Twitter. This is a National Disgrace that our Police Service has been dragged so low down. Letâ€™s all make our MPs aware of what the picture looks like when the dots are joined up.
I, for one, donâ€™tlike it. If you donâ€™t like it feel free to give your MP some grief in his/her Summer Holiday.