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The Police

Sorting this out will be good. It has been countless years since the police force was subject to a major re-organisation. Why? Every time there's a Soham or a Ripper the media trots out the failings of the police. Soham, in particular, highlighted a situation where it demonstrated that a police force made up of regional empires does not work. The boss of the East Riding force stripped his system of data because he didn't know, didn't understand or couldn't be bothered to read the data protection act. So, when Mr. Hunter should have been vetted for his job at Soham school, it couldn't be done because the system was full of holes.

    We have seen 4 major forces in Yorkshire amalgamated and the screaming can still be heard. The senior coppers didn't like it. They are all too interested in protecting their little empire with the sizeable salary and pension to go with it, and, oh, don't forget the power that they have surrounded themselves with. This amalgamation is one pace in a marathon.

    The police did realise that there was an increasing incidence of cyber crime. Just like a Danger Mouse decision, the answer was "right, well have a cyber crime unit". Well done, that is another finger in one of the thousands of holes in the badly leaking dyke. And still the penny doesn't drop, does it?

    It is high time the "old boys" regime was smashed and moulded into an effective force to deal with modern day crime. This business of the insularity of the police and the all stick together system and the "we will investigate our own problems" has surely been exposed as unworkable by now. Look at the death of Mr De Menezies at the hands of the police. After the killing, Mr. Blair, the Chief Constable, straight away defended the actions of his force, only to have to claw his words back later. He should have been bright before shooting from the lip, not after. When a man is knocked to the ground and has more than 1 bullet pumped into the back of his head, that is assassination. It is certain that the officer responsible meant to kill. Please do not ask CB to believe that they thought Mr Menezies had a bomb on his person. If they thought that to be the case they would have shot from a distance.

    What to do to update the force? CB suggests a national unified force. Crime these days is getting ever more organised with the use of technology to assist the criminals.  The force to deal with that must be just as professional. There should be a board of directors which should, at minimum, have a Chairman, Managing Director, Finance Director, IT Director, PR and Media Director and an Operations Director. Only one of these should come from the ranks of the police, the Operations Director. Every other job is its own specialist area. If this structure works the world over in business, then it will work for the business of a professional police force.

    There is an increasing need to liaise closely with other police forces, particularly with our partners in Europe. Crime sees no borders. The IT Director of the police should provide an IS infrastructure to serve the force but also be open, given certain safeguards, to the Railway Police, Customs and Excise, Interpol etc. After all, they are all in the same business of catching the criminal. If the Railway Police have dealings with an unruly passenger, surely they should have the ability to check the police computer to make sure that their customer hasn't got unfinished business elsewhere in the system. The days of keeping information secret to protect "my collar" are long gone. If an ammendment to the data protection act is needed, get it done. Also the "competitive war" between the police and the customs and excise should cease immediately. They are both after the same thing.

    With a board of directors, the police would be governed by national policy decisions. With all data at a central source and under the control of an IT professional, then the data dumping incident would, hopefully, not happen again. Statements, such as the hasty one made by Mr. Blair after the De Menzies killing would come from the office of a seasoned media professional and not have to be retracted later. The general pooling of knowledge all tied together with a good data base and serious sql techniques should help to track down and apprehend criminals much more quickly and, therefore, more cheaply. The board may create regions which might then have chief inspectors, superintendents or whatever the board decides. These regional senior officers would be responsible for the administration of the boards decisions and policies in the regions, but would not be empowered to take major decisions without the boards sanction. All operations would be under the central control of the board, hence a coherent and nation wide policy.

    This is a long term deal which would take many years to implement. For this reason there is ample time for the old guard who would refuse such a move to be pensioned off. The new promotions within the existing force would soon come to realise the way forward and not be a problem over acceptance. The effective removal of the "Peter Principle" which seems to be the current norm can only move us forward. Is there something wrong with the training methods? Once again, central control may help this problem. A few highly skilled decision makers must have a greater control than a fragmented organisation like the police force we have at the moment.

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© The JSC Group March 2006