Government “dicing with death” over police recruitment plans – crime commissioner

CONCERN: Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent Ian Johnston

CONCERN: Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent Ian Johnston

First published in Campaign news

 THE Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent said the government is “dicing with death” with their plans to recruit senior officers from outside the service.

Recently elected Ian Johnston said: "I’m not overstating things when I say that someone joining the service as a superintendent is actually dicing with death.”

He said it “defies logic” for the government to think that someone could join as a critical role such as superintendent without policing experience and have responsibility for investigating murders, rapes and serious incidents.

"One of the arguments which is being put forward to justify this plan is that it’s difficult to attract and retain talent to the ranks of the police. The facts tell a different story because as it stands officers who show leadership qualities can gain promotion through the ranks relatively quickly. However this should always follow the vitally important stage of walking the beat, detecting crimes, making arrests, speaking to the public and all the other things that police constables do on a day-to-day basis.

Mr Johnston added: "If the Government are really that concerned about opening up the Police service to a wider pool of talent and attracting the brightest and the best then they shouldn’t have taken the shameful step of cutting the starting salary of Police Constables by £4000.”

Comments (27)

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11:48am Wed 30 Jan 13

dzfgfgfg says...

I agree to an extent but do you not think that some fresh blood/fresh ideas might be useful to the Police at this very difficult time ? I truly believe that cutting Police pay is completely disgusting. Such a shame that the local community are not allowed to raise private funds in order to show their sincere gratitude for the dangerous work they do.
I agree to an extent but do you not think that some fresh blood/fresh ideas might be useful to the Police at this very difficult time ? I truly believe that cutting Police pay [particularly for those risking their lives on the beat] is completely disgusting. Such a shame that the local community are not allowed to raise private funds in order to show their sincere gratitude for the dangerous work they do. dzfgfgfg
  • Score: 0

12:10pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Howie' says...

'Such a shame that the local community are not allowed to raise private funds in order to show their sincere gratitude for the dangerous work they do'.

We do, it's called Taxes.
'Such a shame that the local community are not allowed to raise private funds in order to show their sincere gratitude for the dangerous work they do'. We do, it's called Taxes. Howie'
  • Score: 0

12:14pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Woodgnome says...

It would be surprising if an (ex) senior Policeman did not think Policemen were best at running the police service. To say otherwise would be a bit like a turkey voting for Christmas. It would be more refreshing to have an open mind until the options are explained..
It would be surprising if an (ex) senior Policeman did not think Policemen were best at running the police service. To say otherwise would be a bit like a turkey voting for Christmas. It would be more refreshing to have an open mind until the options are explained.. Woodgnome
  • Score: 0

12:41pm Wed 30 Jan 13

TK355 says...

How about instead of allowing people from outside the police and from other countries join the police to run it, why don't we allow people from outside join the Govt for some equally fresh ideas. I would welcome an Australian viewpoint when it comes to a number of policies. I am sure that with some outside help we could turn this nanny state around and start locking people away for breaking the law instead of handing out pathetic, insulting sentences that mean there is little deterrent for people to go around committing crimes. You can't blame the police for this as they do the donkey work and get the crims before the courts but it's just what happens after that annoys most
How about instead of allowing people from outside the police and from other countries join the police to run it, why don't we allow people from outside join the Govt for some equally fresh ideas. I would welcome an Australian viewpoint when it comes to a number of policies. I am sure that with some outside help we could turn this nanny state around and start locking people away for breaking the law instead of handing out pathetic, insulting sentences that mean there is little deterrent for people to go around committing crimes. You can't blame the police for this as they do the donkey work and get the crims before the courts but it's just what happens after that annoys most TK355
  • Score: 0

1:30pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Cwmderi says...

This initiative does appear to be sending out mixed messages from the government.
On one hand they drastically cut the pay for newly recruited police officers and on the other they want to recruit people with high qualifications into senior policing posts without any real knowledge of what goes on at the front line and what it's really like to patrol the streets of our communites.
Sounds a bit like the government trying to load the police system in the same way they have loaded the present Public Schools Cabinet in London, which has proved to be another disaster.
This initiative does appear to be sending out mixed messages from the government. On one hand they drastically cut the pay for newly recruited police officers and on the other they want to recruit people with high qualifications into senior policing posts without any real knowledge of what goes on at the front line and what it's really like to patrol the streets of our communites. Sounds a bit like the government trying to load the police system in the same way they have loaded the present Public Schools Cabinet in London, which has proved to be another disaster. Cwmderi
  • Score: 0

1:32pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Katie Re-Registered says...

In order to make the police more diverse the first thing they can do is scrap those ridiculously archaic gendered uniforms and have a unisex uniform for all, just like most other modern law enforcement agencies around the world.
In order to make the police more diverse the first thing they can do is scrap those ridiculously archaic gendered uniforms and have a unisex uniform for all, just like most other modern law enforcement agencies around the world. Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: 0

2:10pm Wed 30 Jan 13

dzfgfgfg says...

I wonder what new fresh ideas our new Police Commissioner has for turning around the Police force and their outrageous pay structure situation ?
I wonder what new fresh ideas our new Police Commissioner has for turning around the Police force and their outrageous pay structure situation ? dzfgfgfg
  • Score: 0

4:41pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Chris 4 Gwent P&CC says...

Surely this is an operational decision by the Home Office and therefore outside the remit of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

I note the Chief Constable or ACPO is not making any comment!!!
Surely this is an operational decision by the Home Office and therefore outside the remit of the Police and Crime Commissioner. I note the Chief Constable or ACPO is not making any comment!!! Chris 4 Gwent P&CC
  • Score: 0

7:22pm Wed 30 Jan 13

dzfgfgfg says...

Such a shame all of the Police miss such a fantastic opportunity to engage with the public and really discuss the heart of these important matters. While I understand that all senior Police officials are frightened of public comment ,would it not be refreshing to see a little dialogue once in a while ! I think there is a general feeling in the community that we would like to assist them if we could,either with moral support or indeed expertise !
Such a shame all of the Police miss such a fantastic opportunity to engage with the public and really discuss the heart of these important matters. While I understand that all senior Police officials are frightened of public comment [usually for being held to their statements at a later date],would it not be refreshing to see a little dialogue once in a while ! I think there is a general feeling in the community that we would like to assist them if we could,either with moral support or indeed expertise ! dzfgfgfg
  • Score: 0

7:27pm Wed 30 Jan 13

dzfgfgfg says...

I might add that the reason that senior Police officers do not comment is because they may be held to their opinions at a later date under changing circumstances!
I might add that the reason that senior Police officers do not comment is because they may be held to their opinions at a later date under changing circumstances! dzfgfgfg
  • Score: 0

7:50pm Wed 30 Jan 13

regaturn says...

At least if people enter the service at Superintendent level they won't have to corrupt themselves in order to be promoted with phoney and misleading crime figures, Who once said there are lies **** lies and Gwent Police crime figures!!
At least if people enter the service at Superintendent level they won't have to corrupt themselves in order to be promoted with phoney and misleading crime figures, Who once said there are lies **** lies and Gwent Police crime figures!! regaturn
  • Score: 0

7:51pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Dave on his Soapbox says...

.....recruiting management from outside the 'business' seems to be the 'flavour of the month' across the board.....it sems tha the people who have been there, come through the ranks...and have and understanding of how things work or not....are not able or capable of doing a good job....when in fact it is often the new people or top managers....who cause the problem because they won't trust or believe those lower down the tree.....
Cost cutting, stats and targets...along with people trying to 're-invent the wheel'....is the reason nothing works properly....and 'the workers' are forced to cut corners.
.....recruiting management from outside the 'business' seems to be the 'flavour of the month' across the board.....it sems tha the people who have been there, come through the ranks...and have and understanding of how things work or not....are not able or capable of doing a good job....when in fact it is often the new people or top managers....who cause the problem because they won't trust or believe those lower down the tree..... Cost cutting, stats and targets...along with people trying to 're-invent the wheel'....is the reason nothing works properly....and 'the workers' are forced to cut corners. Dave on his Soapbox
  • Score: 0

7:58pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Mervyn James says...

Bring on the accountants, next, Police carrying adverts for Sainsbury's....
Bring on the accountants, next, Police carrying adverts for Sainsbury's.... Mervyn James
  • Score: 0

8:49pm Wed 30 Jan 13

scraptheWAG says...

I BET ian johnson would not want a civilian looking inside the police world it always annoys me how much a civil servant gets paid to a private sector employee
I BET ian johnson would not want a civilian looking inside the police world it always annoys me how much a civil servant gets paid to a private sector employee scraptheWAG
  • Score: 0

10:05pm Wed 30 Jan 13

richie55 says...

Well said Mr Johnston.
The people of Gwent do not know yet how lucky we are to have you as commissioner and what a good police service we have here.
Well said Mr Johnston. The people of Gwent do not know yet how lucky we are to have you as commissioner and what a good police service we have here. richie55
  • Score: 0

10:36pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Bobevans says...

A totaly daft thing to say. It does not inspire confidence

How many organisations only recruit internally.

In general the police in the UK do not have the best of records with policing. efficiency and controlling costs
A totaly daft thing to say. It does not inspire confidence How many organisations only recruit internally. In general the police in the UK do not have the best of records with policing. efficiency and controlling costs Bobevans
  • Score: 0

8:15am Thu 31 Jan 13

rightsideup says...

Bobevans wrote:
A totaly daft thing to say. It does not inspire confidence

How many organisations only recruit internally.

In general the police in the UK do not have the best of records with policing. efficiency and controlling costs
How do you know?.
[quote][p][bold]Bobevans[/bold] wrote: A totaly daft thing to say. It does not inspire confidence How many organisations only recruit internally. In general the police in the UK do not have the best of records with policing. efficiency and controlling costs[/p][/quote]How do you know?. rightsideup
  • Score: 0

11:05am Thu 31 Jan 13

coalpicker says...

On the button Mr Commissioner, A few
recent cases in the met show what senior foreign officers are capable of . Providing the over sight panel is not comprised of police sycophants and do the job they are there to do ,we should stick with the current setup, give it a chance to work .
On the button Mr Commissioner, A few recent cases in the met show what senior foreign officers are capable of . Providing the over sight panel is not comprised of police sycophants and do the job they are there to do ,we should stick with the current setup, give it a chance to work . coalpicker
  • Score: 0

12:21pm Thu 31 Jan 13

The Red Claw says...

Who can blame Mr Johnston for attempting to defend the previous or existing system? He is a product of that very system and it is always far easier to support something you are familiar with, and which you have directly benefited from.
But there is a solid argument that if the existing system is so good why have we had so many miscarriages of justice and major issues arising such as the Hillsborough enquiry? Surely leadership, as produced by the current system, must have been a major factor in these matters? There are also numerous individual examples that have reached the courts that cause real concern, not least that of a senior policewoman convicted last month of trying to sell information to a newspaper. Whilst there are no doubt, many dedicated senior police officers, there does seem to be a disproportionate number of ‘bad apples’ around who appear keen to give their profession a bad name, and these are only the cases that the public get to know about.
Who can blame Mr Johnston for attempting to defend the previous or existing system? He is a product of that very system and it is always far easier to support something you are familiar with, and which you have directly benefited from. But there is a solid argument that if the existing system is so good why have we had so many miscarriages of justice and major issues arising such as the Hillsborough enquiry? Surely leadership, as produced by the current system, must have been a major factor in these matters? There are also numerous individual examples that have reached the courts that cause real concern, not least that of a senior policewoman convicted last month of trying to sell information to a newspaper. Whilst there are no doubt, many dedicated senior police officers, there does seem to be a disproportionate number of ‘bad apples’ around who appear keen to give their profession a bad name, and these are only the cases that the public get to know about. The Red Claw
  • Score: 0

12:35pm Thu 31 Jan 13

The Red Claw says...

Coalpicker, I think you are thinking of a particularly good example of one of my points above however we should be careful over the phrase ‘foreign’. I may be wrong here but I think to be a British cop you have to be a British citizen, or at least have duel nationality, which I think our mutual example has. I also see your point about giving the current set up a chance to work, but again I it’s already had a fair chance for a great many years now. All too frequently questions arise, both in the public domain and media, regarding the quality of some police leadership that the current system produces.
Coalpicker, I think you are thinking of a particularly good example of one of my points above however we should be careful over the phrase ‘foreign’. I may be wrong here but I think to be a British cop you have to be a British citizen, or at least have duel nationality, which I think our mutual example has. I also see your point about giving the current set up a chance to work, but again I it’s already had a fair chance for a great many years now. All too frequently questions arise, both in the public domain and media, regarding the quality of some police leadership that the current system produces. The Red Claw
  • Score: 0

2:37pm Thu 31 Jan 13

username2 says...

Well said Red Claw.
Well said Red Claw. username2
  • Score: 0

8:45pm Thu 31 Jan 13

Dai the Milk says...

The thought of drafting in outsiders (or fast-tracking people at the quoted speed to inspector rank) would be laughable if it wasn't so dangerous. In this profession, more than any, operational experience is a sine qua non and non-negotiable. Will somebody tell me what the difference is between an experienced superintendent managing a siege situation and a heart surgeon sorting your ticker out? Then ask yourself if you would allow the manager of the HSBC to perform a heart operation on you or your loved ones? Food for thought. An idea thought up by people divorced from the real world.
The thought of drafting in outsiders (or fast-tracking people at the quoted speed to inspector rank) would be laughable if it wasn't so dangerous. In this profession, more than any, operational experience is a sine qua non and non-negotiable. Will somebody tell me what the difference is between an experienced superintendent managing a siege situation and a heart surgeon sorting your ticker out? Then ask yourself if you would allow the manager of the HSBC to perform a heart operation on you or your loved ones? Food for thought. An idea thought up by people divorced from the real world. Dai the Milk
  • Score: 0

9:24pm Thu 31 Jan 13

The Red Claw says...

Dai the Milk makes a very good comparison here. I’m not too sure of the difference but I’ll give it a go. The heart surgeon will be totally and personally responsible for any decisions they may make during any surgical procedure. They also possess a very high level of skill which he or she hones each and every day through personal practice. It is a total myth and unfair to suppose that a police superintendent experienced or not, has the supposed flexibility of action and decision making that we see in fictional TV police programmes. He or she is mainly there to ensure that national policy and guidelines, as set by the Home Office, are closely followed, thereby hopefully producing decisions that achieve successful and effective outcomes whatever the situation. These ‘policies’ exist in most of the public service and are almost like a ‘join the dots’ puzzle or a ‘Haynes Manual’. They are, however based upon years of hard won experience and it would be foolish indeed to stray very far from them, especially as they provide the practitioner with a significant element of insurance. Also, unlike the heart surgeon, if things go wrong in the superintendent’s case, there are inevitably a great many subordinates available who can be readily sacrificed if it proves necessary during any subsequent enquiry.
Dai the Milk makes a very good comparison here. I’m not too sure of the difference but I’ll give it a go. The heart surgeon will be totally and personally responsible for any decisions they may make during any surgical procedure. They also possess a very high level of skill which he or she hones each and every day through personal practice. It is a total myth and unfair to suppose that a police superintendent experienced or not, has the supposed flexibility of action and decision making that we see in fictional TV police programmes. He or she is mainly there to ensure that national policy and guidelines, as set by the Home Office, are closely followed, thereby hopefully producing decisions that achieve successful and effective outcomes whatever the situation. These ‘policies’ exist in most of the public service and are almost like a ‘join the dots’ puzzle or a ‘Haynes Manual’. They are, however based upon years of hard won experience and it would be foolish indeed to stray very far from them, especially as they provide the practitioner with a significant element of insurance. Also, unlike the heart surgeon, if things go wrong in the superintendent’s case, there are inevitably a great many subordinates available who can be readily sacrificed if it proves necessary during any subsequent enquiry. The Red Claw
  • Score: 0

9:30pm Thu 31 Jan 13

D Taylor says...

I've never wanted an ex-police officer as police commissioner but I do want policemen in operational control of the police. But I also think that some way should be found to recruit persons who are very well educated or have useful experience in business or the armed forces into the police at the level of constable or even sergeant, after appropriate training, without making them spend years pounding beats before they are given any serious responsibility.
I've never wanted an ex-police officer as police commissioner but I do want policemen in operational control of the police. But I also think that some way should be found to recruit persons who are very well educated or have useful experience in business or the armed forces into the police at the level of constable or even sergeant, after appropriate training, without making them spend years pounding beats before they are given any serious responsibility. D Taylor
  • Score: 0

4:50pm Fri 1 Feb 13

Dai the Milk says...

The Red Claw wrote:
Dai the Milk makes a very good comparison here. I’m not too sure of the difference but I’ll give it a go. The heart surgeon will be totally and personally responsible for any decisions they may make during any surgical procedure. They also possess a very high level of skill which he or she hones each and every day through personal practice. It is a total myth and unfair to suppose that a police superintendent experienced or not, has the supposed flexibility of action and decision making that we see in fictional TV police programmes. He or she is mainly there to ensure that national policy and guidelines, as set by the Home Office, are closely followed, thereby hopefully producing decisions that achieve successful and effective outcomes whatever the situation. These ‘policies’ exist in most of the public service and are almost like a ‘join the dots’ puzzle or a ‘Haynes Manual’. They are, however based upon years of hard won experience and it would be foolish indeed to stray very far from them, especially as they provide the practitioner with a significant element of insurance. Also, unlike the heart surgeon, if things go wrong in the superintendent’s case, there are inevitably a great many subordinates available who can be readily sacrificed if it proves necessary during any subsequent enquiry.
Red Claw, I think you'll find most surgeons follow a 'join the dots' procedure too. At least I certainly hope so. I'd hate to think some maverick, artistic surgeon was about to perform major heart surgery on me or my loved ones and experiment with a few tricks of his/hers for a change to see what happens !!
[quote][p][bold]The Red Claw[/bold] wrote: Dai the Milk makes a very good comparison here. I’m not too sure of the difference but I’ll give it a go. The heart surgeon will be totally and personally responsible for any decisions they may make during any surgical procedure. They also possess a very high level of skill which he or she hones each and every day through personal practice. It is a total myth and unfair to suppose that a police superintendent experienced or not, has the supposed flexibility of action and decision making that we see in fictional TV police programmes. He or she is mainly there to ensure that national policy and guidelines, as set by the Home Office, are closely followed, thereby hopefully producing decisions that achieve successful and effective outcomes whatever the situation. These ‘policies’ exist in most of the public service and are almost like a ‘join the dots’ puzzle or a ‘Haynes Manual’. They are, however based upon years of hard won experience and it would be foolish indeed to stray very far from them, especially as they provide the practitioner with a significant element of insurance. Also, unlike the heart surgeon, if things go wrong in the superintendent’s case, there are inevitably a great many subordinates available who can be readily sacrificed if it proves necessary during any subsequent enquiry.[/p][/quote]Red Claw, I think you'll find most surgeons follow a 'join the dots' procedure too. At least I certainly hope so. I'd hate to think some maverick, artistic surgeon was about to perform major heart surgery on me or my loved ones and experiment with a few tricks of his/hers for a change to see what happens !! Dai the Milk
  • Score: 0

5:48pm Fri 1 Feb 13

The Red Claw says...

Point taken Dai. You'll probably agree that the surgeon is a bit more 'hands on' though!!
Point taken Dai. You'll probably agree that the surgeon is a bit more 'hands on' though!! The Red Claw
  • Score: 0

6:26pm Fri 1 Feb 13

Dai the Milk says...

Depends on the Superintendent !!! But I know what you mean.
Depends on the Superintendent !!! But I know what you mean. Dai the Milk
  • Score: 0

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