Your Opportunity to change Policing

On the 15th of November 2012 the election of the Sussex PCC (Police & Crime Commissioner) will take place. For the first time the electorate will have a direct say in policing. The Police Minister Nick Herbert said in a speech that this will be

"a new era in policing, when local people will elect a Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex" .

Up until now the Sussex Police Authority has had this power; Who are they?, what do they do? I think most ordinary residents will be unable to answer that question.This will all change with the election, the electorate will be able to decide what Police force they want and how it operates. This is why I am putting my name forward to be chosen as the Conservative Party Candidate.

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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Will there be conflict between the Crown Prosecution Service and elected PCC’s

I have been giving much thought to how an elected Police & Crime Commissioner will work with the CPS.  Of course operational matters are with the Chief Constable, but the way the police work and the systems they use will be affected and the way the CPS works with the Police will by logic be affected as well.
I have lawyer friends and police friends, lawyers complain at the low level of educational attainment of some police and the quality of their paper work, Police friends and various Police blogs bear witness to the Police constables poor opinion of the CPS and the lawyers employed.
Any conflict up and till now has either been hidden or fudged, but when you get an elected PCC I think his or her reputation will stand on the performance of the Police and the number of successful prosecutions.  Second best will not suffice, so I think there will be real tensions in the relationship.  Also the fact that the PCC has an elected mandate will strengthen his/her hand to act.
How will a successful PCC cope with these tensions and manage any crisis, well I believe that systems will reduce friction and drive up quality, so breaking down inefficient systems and re-working them to cut failure will play an important part of minimising tension.  But personal relationships based on trust and even handedness will be the back bone of dealing with disputes and problems.
If the PCC is to be successful, then they have to be aware of these problems from the start and plan how to deal with them, this is ultimately good management and something I am aware of and very willing to confront  

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Sussex Police Community Support Officers (PCSO's) do not work after midnight, why?

PCSO uniform
 PCSO’s in Sussex are prevented as a matter of policy of working after midnight, when I have enquired why this was the case, the reason given was that it was Sussex Police’s policy and this was due to budgetary issues. 
 PCSO’s earn just under £20,000, Sussex has approximately 390 PCSO’s and their basic salary is within SPA 7 grade (£18,093 to £19,770). They do not have the power of arrest; PCSO’s are not replacements for Full Constables but are the eyes and ears for the Full Constables and do prevent crime.   I believe that PCSO’s have an important role and the role gives a career path to becoming Full Constables.  I also believe that they should be allowed to work after midnight, and it’s ridiculous that they are prevented from doing so. 

  If I was elected as PCC I would insist on this change. It would be very useful operationally  for them to be available on Friday & Saturday nights to allow them to police the Night Time Economy and work up to 0300hrs, but why have any restrictions at all?  If you remember back to the riots in August 2011, manpower was stretched to the limit, so I would support lifting all restrictions on PCSO working.    

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But in addition there are also Special Constables, Specials are a valuable community resource and are a useful tool to re-enforce Full Constables and PCSO’s.  There should and if elected there will be a concerted effort to reach out to communities and recruit many more volunteers to be Sussex Specials.  This is and would be the Big Society in operation  

Monday, 12 March 2012

Police levy for the Night Time economy?

Familiar Scene
Currently the government are consulting regarding introducing a night time levy for Policing in areas where there is a high volume of alcohol related trouble. This would involve business’s that sold alcohol being levied money to pay for the additional Policing required in their area. In a recent Survey I conducted on my blog Anti-Social behaviour came top with alcohol related crime coming an equal second.

I think as always there are issues with the way the draft legislation is currently drafted, the civil service does need the grafting of the common sense gene, but leaving this aside, I do think there are merits to having a night levy and shifting the burden of paying for Policing from the Tax payer to the user.

The issue though for Sussex is the lack of Unitary Councils, Brighton would be an obvious case for introduction, but where there are District, Borough and County government structures you have issues of Rural and Urban mix, the current draft of the legislation says that it has to be District or Borough wide, this would penalise Rural Pubs when you want to keep them going as they are useful social hubs for communities.

I believe there is scope to introduce them to urban centres based on parish borders, but until the civil service looks at this with common sense then it will be an experiment without much practical value.  But any elected PCC should be working with government to craft legislation that works for the Resident, Customer and Proprietor.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Systems Thinking-how it could help reform Policing in Sussex

Taiichi Ohno WorkplaceManagement

In my business and my political career I have used Systems thinking as a way of managing and incentivising  staff, The world can thank a pioneering Japanese man for systems thinking.  Taiichi Ohno, former executive vice president of the Toyota Motor Company, pioneered ideas that later became coined as Lean by American's.

It all came about because levels of demand for cars in the post war economy of Japan were low and over production in the factories had to be avoided.

Having visited and seen supermarkets in the USA, Taiichi Ohno recognised the scheduling of work should not be driven by sales or production targets but by actual sales.Toyota still uses Lean to this day – some 50 years after Mr Ohno started the revolution

What is Systems thinking and what relevance is there to modern day Policing?

Well rather than being some over complicated academic theory it’s based on common sense, it empowers staff and creates a culture of continuous improvement. 

The concept of unnecessary and avoidable process’s being built into jobs and then taken for granted was noticed by motion efficiency expert  and former bricklayer Frank Gilbreth who saw that masons bent over to pick up bricks from the ground.  The bricklayer was therefore lowering and raising his entire upper body to pick up 2.3kg brick, and inefficiency had been built into the job through long practice.

To any Police Officer reading this blog will immediately realise why Systems Thinking can help the Police, the same habit of building in efficeny into their work practices have plagued the Police for years.

Frank Gilbreth introduced a non-stooping scaffold which delivered the bricks at waist level and allowed masons to work about three times as quickly and with less effort.

Small commonsense changes suggested from the grassroots at the sharp-end improves effiency and increases staff morale

For example, I remember when at the Council we were discussing a target, should we target to answer our phone calls within 5 rings or 6 rings, (this was the type of Top down Micro management we had to implement under the last government). 

 Systems’ thinking approaches the question from a different angle, rather than ask how many phone rings you should have, it asks the question why are we having so many telephone calls in the first place?

Systems Thinkingin Public Sector
John Seddon
 When an organisation does not do something properly it generates negative demand, People phone up to complain about something that has not been done, Systems Thinking deals with the negative demand by leaning systems to be simpler, so to get it right first time.  Nobody rings up their council to say things have gone right, they just expect it to be so. 

large organisations over the years have built up over complicated process’s or moved manual process’s on to Computers without any thought of reform, this sometimes involves up to 30 different actions from start to finish to complete one function or outcome, if you study what needs to be done from start to finish and reduce the number of actions you get a more efficient and workable process (Not complicated), yet over decades organisations, many in the Public Sector have done this. Leaving us inefficient top down structures.

Control & Command
 John Seddon

How do you “get buy-in” from staff and middle management, well you walk the floor and talk to them, most staff at the sharp end know what needs to be done, but they are compelled in working a certain way by the Control and Command management style.  Once you start to trust your grassroots staff to make decision and redesign process your efficiency and staff morale rises and you have a much more dynamic organisation,

This would be one of the changes I would implement to Sussex Policing if I am given the chance.

If you want to know more about systems thinking there are several links to follow :-  Wikepdia Systems Thinking   &  John Seddon (Advocate & Consultant) 

Rt Hon Nick Herbert (Police & Justice Minister) & Paul Dendle

Rt Hon Nick Herbert (Police & Justice Minister) & Paul Dendle
Nick Herbert (Police Minister) meets Paul Dendle on the streets of Arundel