This blog was sent into our team using the contact details at the bottom of this article. It was written by someone who has recently left the thin blue line.
‘Today marks the end of a 17 year career in the Police Service, and it’s a day that came 13 years too soon.
Whilst there have been times when I have been short of patience through weight of work or lack of sleep, I was always compassionate and caring. I always tried to be the person I’d like to see in my hour of need – as cheesy as that may sound.
As Police Officers we’ve always faced uncertainty – not knowing what the next call would be, who would be waiting for us, what funny or traumatic sight would be awaiting you, but we cope. It’s what we put ourselves forward to do. It is part of the job description.
What isn’t part of the job description is being assaulted, spoken to disrespectfully and then expected to doth your cap politely and smile, but again, and sadly so, it slowly became part of the same job description.
“Head down, crack on” would be the call and mantra recited by many a Sergeant, and as good public servants we did exactly that. When things start to break, do we sit back and allow it to happen? Not at all, it’s when we’re at our best – this is the time when 10 carry out the work of 100 because we can’t fail. We’re not allowed to and it’s not in our DNA.
This attitude is the attitude that got us into trouble and started this slow and pervasive degradation of a once great Police Service. Being the makers of our own misfortune, we always made it work, or at least we did everything humanly possible.
Because we didn’t give up and made things work, our numbers were cut, your public servants, the lasses and lads in blue who would be the lifesavers, the roadside medics, the counsellors, the social workers, the carers of children and more importantly, the keepers of the peace.
With a drop in numbers, departments were cut, officers with specialist training were put back into general police duties and we started again. “Head down, crack on” – and we did.
Did the system break, did we allow it to buckle and collapse with a lack of numbers? Not at all. Motivated by pride in what we do, we made it work and to the people in high places, the cuts didn’t seem too bad. The service was still working – however, what they weren’t aware of was the damage that was being suffered by individuals who refused to quit.
With all still ‘ok’ on the front line, there came more cuts. More jobs axed, less recruits, more PCSO’s and once an officer retired, their boots weren’t filled. Instead there was a gap. A gap that needed to be filled, but by who?
The answer? No one!
Crime rates surged, numbers fell and the population continues to grow, but the Police Service is expected to continue on and say thank you for no pay rise in line with inflation, retirement age increased, a pension cut and a promise smashed.
Now I agreed with the pension cut, the pragmatist in me realises that a final salary pension for officers who are retiring and living longer, with less officers being recruited, and therefore, less being paid into the pension pot – something had to give. I wasn’t happy about it, but everyone was facing cuts and making sacrifices. Why were we any different?
So now we are at the present day, the Police Service demolished and 20,000 officers lighter, the government, and more importantly, the Prime Minister who had been the Home Secretary and orchestrated all these cuts, stands in front of the worlds press and spins lies about more officers to investigate Cyber-Crime or the UK having more armed officers.
These are lies. Plain and simple. Ask Theresa May a straight question and if she could bare to answer honestly, she may gain an ounce of respect back – but it’s not possible. When told she was the cause and would always have the legacy of destroying one of the finest Police Services around, she could only quote facts about having more officers to investigate Cyber-Crime and Terrorist Intelligence.
Well on her watch, there have been 3 terrorist attack whereby people from all walks of life and many countries have lost their lives on British soil. No one can say for certain that 20,000 extra police officers would’ve prevented these incidents, however, with all those extra police officers comes a extra pairs of ears and pairs of eyes – the only tools that are required to see and hear when something isn’t quite right. To understand that certain neighbourhoods have certain individuals within them that could be planning an attack, travelling to Syria, preaching hate and generally hitting all the triggers.
This way, with these extra officers, more could’ve been done at the start. Engagement, action and help, but without these officers, these breeding grounds go unmonitored and bad people get to do as they please. Whilst I appreciate that the terror attacks are at the forefront of our minds, this pattern of ‘bad guys’ doing as they please spills over into drug dealers, burglars, those committing violent crime, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, child abuse and the list goes on.
Who is going to stop this from growing and getting worse? The Police? I don’t think so. They now firefight. There’s no room for pro-active work at street level. No room for dynamism. There is just enough room for officers to deal with what’s happening this minute – and still some crimes go unchecked, people go unseen and victims of crime are left without any sort of resolution. Is this the fault of the Bobby on the street? Not at all. This is the product of those in management making the most of their limited resource and keeping their fingers crossed that something else horrific doesn’t happen on their shift!
So, after 17 years of a career that I fully intended to see out, I bow out and walk away. I feel a sense of relief that I don’t have to worry as much any more, however I feel extremely selfish.
My boots – they will never be filled. My colleagues that I stood shoulder to shoulder with, faced unpleasant sights with, shared laughs and tears with and those I called family – they are now one less in number. With officers falling with mental health issues and others incapable of maintaining the facade of a service that can cope, the system will break, catastrophically. Unless there is a change.
Our national security is on a knife edge and the lack of officers are a contributory factor. Mrs May, as dramatic as it sounds, you have the blood of the victims of these abhorrent crimes on your hands and I hope, even if it’s not publicly, you feel ashamed of the things you’ve done. This isn’t political. I am not writing this with the General Election in mind – it has nothing to do with it. The timing is coincidental.
Whilst there have been bad apples and poor choices made by certain officers or forces, they are in a minority. Prime Minister, you have helped unpick a fine establishment and left it with huge holes that seem irreparable. One day you will see and understand this, hopefully not when it’s too late.
My final day comes and goes and do I receive any sort of thanks or gratitude by anyone at all? No, not a thing. My email to the Chief Constable was met with a bland 5 line email – almost as if it was too much trouble. Never before in this job have I felt like more of a number.
So my hat is hung up, as are my cuffs and note book. I’ve had my share of death, life, blood, tears, anguish, heartbreak and joy and I walk away with an immense sense of pride with some of the people I’ve helped and things I’ve achieved. I also fear what is to come.’
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