What May Means

In order to appreciate what Theresa May is prattling on about, you need to be aware of the implications of Winsor 2, if you haven’t done so then please start by reading this post:


No matter your opinion on how far we have drifted from Sir Robert Peel’s original principles, I think it’s fair to say the modern police doesn’t really reflect some of them. “The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.” Now a lot of it’s about ‘public perception’ (making people think everything’s ok even if it’s not) and ‘visibility’.

Peel’s principles were full of foresight and have been the basis of policing since their inception. I think Winsor 2 will help consign them to history.

On Tuesday 27th March 2012 Home Secretary Theresa May referred almost all of Winsor 2 to the Police Negotiating Board (PNB), paving the way for its adoption. Below is my interpretation of her statement, but before that, a little something I thought of while reading the transcript of Winsor’s most recent appearance at the Home Affairs Select Committee:

Home Office Statistical Bulletin 03/12 provides details of recent police strength across the country. When Winsor began his review on the 1st October 2010 there were about 142,000 police officers in England and Wales (not including non Home Office forces such as the BTP). Winsor, during his research for part 1 of his review, says he personally spoke to 176 officers. At least three of those he either got mixed up about or made up (although he blames the police for the confusion). So, by my ‘barely literate’ calculations, that was about 0.13% of the total number of police officers in England and Wales around about the time he started (there are about 6,000 fewer officers now). This shows that he wasn’t interested in getting his review right. Pantene probably ask more people about how shiny they think their hair is, and he’s fundamentally changing policing! He didn’t bother interviewing anywhere near enough officers to get an accurate reflection of us all. If I investigated a crime which had 1,000 available witnesses stood in a line waiting to tell me what they saw and I took statements from just 2 of them I’d be laughed out of the crown prosecutor’s office, let alone get anywhere near a courtroom, and that’s rounding Winsor’s figure up to the nearest whole person.

I think May gave him his brief and he duly started making things up to fit precisely what she asked for, regardless of what he might discover during his ‘research’. Compare his recommendations with the three terms of reference below:

1) Use remuneration and conditions of service to maximise officer and staff deployment to frontline roles where their powers and skills are required.

2) Provide remuneration and conditions of service that are fair to and reasonable for both the public taxpayer and police officers and staff

3) Enable modern management practices in line with practices elsewhere in the public sector and wider economy.

Those aren’t terms of reference, they’re diktats.

We still don’t, to my knowledge, have an exact definition of what the ‘front line’ is do we? And what I think those 3 actually mean are:

“Work out a way to get everyone onto the ‘front line’ quick so we can flog everything else to the private sector!”


“It’s not a public service the police provide, it’s an unprofitable business. And the staff cost way too much. We need to make them cheaper, and make it easier to influence what they do and how they do it. Please think of some ideas to make this happen, but disguise them as improvement.”

May goes on to state that the government remains committed to further reform and lists a number of principles set out in Winsor 1. I haven’t read part 1 in full for some time, so cannot recall exactly what all of these relate to, but here is why I think they were quoted in the statement:

“Fairness is an essential part of any new system of pay and conditions.”

“This is a vacuous political sound bite that makes us sound nice but doesn’t actually mean anything at all.”

“The office of constable is the bedrock of British policing.”

“It’s going in all but name, but you still can’t have the same rights as employees, and saying this makes us sound like we value it.”

“The demands of policing should be given full and proper weight.”

“You think we are saying that we recognise the unique nature of policing and its impact on the lives of officers, and that this will be taken into account. Actually we could be talking about anything, or nothing at all, because this point doesn’t make reference to anything or have a context. But it sounds good. Weight. That word gives the impression of strength and security. Subconsciously this might influence people. We should use it again if we can.”

“People should be paid for what they do, the skills they have and are applying in their work, and the weights of the jobs they do.”

“If you don’t do what we think is more important, we will penalise you financially, regardless of the fact that not everyone can do whatever they want (or what we think they should). However, this phrase will be popular with the public and make the police sound resistant to reform because it sounds like common sense. Plus we said weight again.”

“People should be paid for how well they work”

“we are going to reduce people’s pay, but make it look like we are trying to improve standards.”

“A single police service – distinctions in pay and other conditions of service between police officers and staff should be objectively justified”

“We are going to try and make you the same as each other by making it harder to differentiate between the two. We won’t say harmonise though, in case someone picks up on it.”

“Arrangements should be simple to implement and administer”

“We are going to change things so we can do whatever we want to the police with little, if any, opposition, but people will like this phrase because it sounds like we are reducing bureaucracy and sorting out a mess”

“Phased introduction of reform”

“We are going to do it slowly but surely so most people won’t realise the consequences or notice until it’s too late, but we’re giving the impression that we’re doing it slowly to do everyone a favour by allowing them get used to the idea”

 Then comes pensions:

“This recommendation will be reflected in a proposal for long term reform of police pensions on which I will now consult the PNB. In common with the reforms which are being developed across public service pension schemes, the Government is committed to ensuring that police pensions are affordable and sustainable for the future. Those who work in the police and across public services will continue to have to pension schemes that are among the very best available.”

What this means is they are going to change my pension. And yours. And everyone else’s. But probably not their own, of course. They will probably change the two existing police pension schemes (PPS and NPPS) so they are more similar in remuneration and conditions to the civil service scheme. They claim we haven’t been reformed for decades. The pension scheme was changed for new recruits just a few years ago. 2005 was it? Or 2006? What I am afraid of though is might they even try and make the police pension and civil service pension schemes one and the same?  They lump the two together with the phrase “those who work in the police AND across public services”  This document is only about the police, why are they mentioning other public services? But maybe I’m reading too much into that?

May repeats Hutton’s view that the pensionable age should be 60. I covered this in my first post.

At this point I’d just like to remind you that I currently pay 11% of my salary into my pension, and over the next few years that will rise to over 14%. Judges are getting uppity and threatening legal action for being made to pay 1.2%, that’s 1 point 2, not 12, in case you didn’t see the little dot (previously they didn’t have to contribute at all). MPs pay between 5.9% and 11.9%, depending on the contribution rate they choose. MPs and Judges pensions are more valuable than the average police officer’s. Here is a quote from the House of Commons Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund Standard Note 01844, dated October 2011:

“An MP serving the average term of office of 15 years, paying contributions at 11.9% of pensionable pay…would accrue a pension of around £22,500 pa”

We’re all in this together are we?

And last but by no means least the final few points:

May is referring the questions of direct entry superintendents and appointment of overseas police chiefs to ‘partners’ for consultation (this means they are going to do it down the line, but make it look like they are considering it carefully). Particularly as she says “I do not believe it is in the best interests of the service to restrict its ability to appoint officers to senior positions to a limited number of individuals. While police leaders have undoubted strengths, I want to ensure the police service is able to draw upon the best pool of talent available.”

May also says that the Government will ‘consult’ on proposals to change the police officer pay machinery. Again, this means “We are going to do it, but we are going to make it look like we are just thinking about it for now, and when all this furore has died down we’ll get rid of PNB and PAT, move to three and five year reviews of things so there’s no yearly pay rise, sideline the Federation by changing the rules and you’ll be at our mercy forever more.” Aside from the financial implications, and as stated previously; the pay and conditions recommendations in my mind are some of the most dangerous and likely to  erode the office constable, and the help the loss of impartiality.

Finally, May does a bit of ‘blahing up’ as we call it in the job, and says the recommendations are of SERIOUS NATIONAL IMPORTANCE for the service, which could play a VITAL role in reform. And she’ll be taking them forward as a matter of URGENCY.

What do you think?

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20 Responses to What May Means

  1. Broken Bill says:

    This is all like watching a never ending episode of ” Yes, Prime Minister”.

    Without the laughs.

    • In order to respond more appropriately to the communities we serve I have noted your specific requirements and will have a target of 20% more humour in the next post.

  2. davethedog says:

    I think the Fed should be using your posts and hammering them home to the MSM and public as hard as they can. The public will only take any notice when they think that they will be affected. The use of private ‘police’ patrols working to profit driven business targets would be one of the best examples to use. Individuals can try to spread the word but only a national campaign would have a positive effect.

  3. david says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful post.

    I am halfway, 15 years in. I have given so much to this job. Now I fear for the future.

    The language of W2 is so demeaning and vindictive. I can’t quite believe that this is happening – I naively believed that no government would go this far.

    There has to be SOMEONE in ACPO with a conscience who will speak out against this. Or are they all happy to disappear into the sunset, policing destroyed forever in their wake?

  4. TomWinsorfan club (membership-1) says:

    This page has become a vital one stop for those of us who are worried about Winsor but dont do too well at reading double talk,Govt spin and lies..I assure you there will be many more ‘thicko illiterate’ Coppers as well as graduate Cops visiting your musings in the coming weeks,keep up the excellent work Sir!

  5. Tony Munday says:

    • I am a Police Inspector and have served the public and shared trials, tribulations, tragedies and humour with my colleagues.
    • I am a passionate believer in fairness and adhere to that principle every day.
    • Unfortunately, Governments of both persuasions have begun to belittle that principle in their dealings with the Police, and their representative bodies, particularly, the Police Federation.
    • This became evident with the attack by SHEEHY on our terms and conditions. Coincidentally, David CAMERON was a member of that team.
    • The process of dismantling the office of Constable began to increase in tempo with the introduction of Police Community Support Officers and, the ‘Performance Culture ‘ adherence to Government imposed targets.
    • The Omni competent Constable was not ‘effective’ in this regime. A wide range of Units each with their own ‘remits’ decimated both Uniform Policing and the Criminal Investigation Department. We became a disjointed sausage machine, churning out ‘disposals’ with little reference to the real needs of the public.
    • Jacquie SMITH’s interference with the Edward DAVIES Pay Award to Officers broke the covenant with us. We had relied upon protection from Government by moral persuasion, and respect for the role we performed in society.
    • Subsequent Pay freezes accelerated the process of reducing our trust in the negotiating machinery. It was evident that the Government had no fear or compunction at behaving in this manner. Indeed, when Jacquie SMITH continued to behave in this manner, the Permanent Secretary opined “The Feds will make a few noises… but you can ignore them, they’re toothless.”
    • This is how our reliance upon fairness is regarded.
    • The Coalition Government clearly regard the police as a soft touch.
    • No other group of staff in the public sector are facing actual cuts in their wages, less favourable terms and conditions, and the continued denigration of their efforts.
    • The WINSOR Reports represent the most sinister and savage assault on the concept of policing as a vocation, and career, serving the public.
    • It was as a result of seeing colleagues from all backgrounds and length of service, feeling crushed and bewildered by the Government’s contempt for us, and the inability or unwillingness of the Federation to defend us, and, by extension, the public, that compelled me to act.
    • On Monday, 12 March, I submitted my e- petition; it was approved on 13, March.
    • The petition reads:’ That Police Officers in the UK are given the Right to Strike in line with European counterparts. The Government should recognise this Human Right and repeal legislation forbidding the creation of Police Unions and this Right.’
    • I honestly never expected that I would need to advocate this drastic change of direction.
    • I fully appreciate that people hold mixed views on this petition.
    • However, I feel that it is totally unfair that some of our best citizens are being treated in this manner. We certainly are not ‘All in this together”!!
    • The office of Constable is worth defending.
    • In the event of the petition reaching 100, 00 votes, then Parliament must debate the issue.
    • We citizens are entitled to ask our MP’s where they stand, and, indeed, watch how they vote in this Debate. To use the hackneyed phrase beloved of politicians, they can truly ‘be held to account’.
    • Please register your support for YOUR Police, before the Privatisation Agenda spreads its poisonous tentacles further round the throat of some of the best men and women I have ever met in my life, YOUR Police.



  6. 28/30 says:

    This will go a bit quiet for the games. We will get it bad in the press if they they feel they can blame us for their PCC candidates failing Nov 2012, but for joe Public it will be a free ‘kick a politician’ oppertunity like a European election. Politician v local football mascot might be fun. 2014 will be when the madness hits cos’ 2015 is election year. This coalition will be gone. But so might Constable as we understand the word.

  7. Christopher David Servante says:

    I am not a policeman, nor funnily enough am I a criminal, just some ‘orrible member of the public !
    The type who sees a crime , reports it and hopes someone will actually take action on it ! Yes we get that the police are hard working, yes we get that there are too few actually on the ground. But we the public are fed up being told why the police cannot or will not do what the public expect of them! This is not going to become a slanging match, but considering the job the police have to do it is only sensible they are physically fit. Yet this is apparently a bone of contention. I would really love to ask the police exactly what they think the public actually want, or is that totally irrelevent! What the public see and perceive are so totally different from what the police think they offer ! The status quo is NOT an option, can we agree on that? I would rather see more police feet on the ground than see private companies , but to be fair, how few police actually pound a beat ( by which i mean get out of their cars!) More eyes on the street can only be a good thing! Can we agree on that? Strikes ? Do the police really want to strike? therefore there is only the armed forces left on the streets? To be fair, the police are not that badly paid are they ? Yes i know there will be that usual debate as to how dangerous the job can be ( but let us be fair very few ever really suffer the high end or even medium end of danger !) The PCSO was probably ( for the public) the best thing that happened, until the public realised that basically they had few powers and only smiled a lot ! The police are doing themselves few if any favours in the public eye by continually trying to convince the public how hard done by they are ( or are about to be) .
    The british police are, in a way, the best in the world but the public trust them less and less with arguments over how armed they should be ( the taser debate is scaring people ), the continual and very public apparent miscarriages of justice ( i have tried to not offend anyone nor add specific instances) . The government may be wrong in what they are doing, but the public do not want the police to carry on the way they are either. NO i dont pretend to know any answers but can we all agree that something is wrong and needs to be changed by some means somehow ?

    • You make some sensible sounding points, but sadly they are ill-informed to some degree. Yes a fitter Police Service is better, I agree with you, but that is not what that recommendation is about. Read my first post again.

      A fitter police service would be achieved by the police having more than 12hrs of officer safety training a year, better gym facilities and canteens not full of fry ups and cheap rubbish processed sandwiches. Most police officers are so busy now they have to grab to eat what they can when they can (and with the closure of canteens this inevitably means fast food), let alone have time to do any exercise whilst at work. I’m all for making police fitter, but having a recurring pass or fail test which will be easy anyway is not going to do that, all it is is a blunt workforce management tool disguised as something else.

      In relation to your point about the Police doing what the public want, in a way you are making a similar point to one that I do, but you are incorrectly blaming the Police for the problem. First of all what do the public want from the Police? And you are assuming that your opinion of what you want is the right one even though it will be totally different from many other sections of society. The Govt should be asking you all, and there should be open debate about the future of the police. This should then form part of the basis for the changes they are making. They aren’t doing this, they are carving it up for privatisation and destroying the little good that is left in it. And they are misleading everyone about it. You have been taken in by the persistent anti police agenda in the media. Any issues in the criminal justice system or often with wider society are blamed on the Police whether we have the ability to influence them or not. Miscarriages of justice for example, are not always solely down to the police.

      Finally I take issue with your comment about the lack of danger that you perceive officers face. We dont have crystal balls. We dont always know when something will become dangerous. Often without any warning. And we have a sworn duty which means my life must be put in danger to protect yours. The preservation of your life is more important than the continuation of mine. Im not asking for any plaudits for that, its what i signed up for. But as you say, you are a member of the public and have (I assume) no experience of policing. When you have fought a knife wielding maniac trying to kill you with a hollow aluminium stick to protect yourself, pursued people armed with guns with nothing but a shirt and tie to stop a bullet, or gone to the scene of a terrorist attack to help people not knowing if there is a secondary device or chemical weapons which you have no protection from you will have the experience to form an intelligent and considered opinion about it. I am told one of the police officers mauled by that dog the other day in London is going to lose fingers. Why dont you ask them about danger?

      I am not having a moan just because my terms and conditions of employment are changing for the worse. I am trying to educate people like you that unless you get on board and challenge this government in the future when the police are even more hamstrung by political interference and terms and conditions which don’t encourage them to protect you it will be a whole lot worse.

  8. scotcop says:

    10 years in and growing more apathetic every day.
    Most of the officers with less that 7 or 8 years at my station have the attitude that there is nothing we can do, so just lump it. They see any officers who moans as a belligerent old git who is pissed at not being promoted.
    Quite frankly reading wisnor makes me so angry that its best I join the ranks of the uncaring to protect my sanity.

  9. Audrey Cole (Walker) says:

    I joined Devon & Cornwall in 1973 and retired in May 2004 and during this time saw many changes. Life for me began in the policewomen’s department and with integration in 1976 the door to many more career opportunities was opened.
    *If you fancied a change of department, a simple report was submitted and generally if you were considered a hard working individual and a good egg you were in. Changes in work type gave individuals good all round knowledge.
    *Similarly officers did not achieve promotion until they had attained a certain amount of experience in General policing duty, Traffic and Criminal Investigation – this way you ended up with a supervisor with, again, good all round knowledge. Sarge knew everything and did all the decision making regarding the quality of an officers work. All very simple. So where did it all go belly up?
    *Too many specialist departments with staff festering in them for donkey’s years – the ‘Not my Remit Brigade’.
    *Too many individuals consequently, in certain roles, losing the ability to use a pen.
    *Simple reports requesting a change of career direction turned into filling out booklets of many questions. *Staff appraisals were no longer a progress report by your sergeant but became a self assessment of many questions with everyone , certainly on my shift, wondering what the hell to write, and it all took hours and hours to complete.
    *Probationer Training was hit with folders full of form filling, folders full of instructions and manuals of guidance zzzzzz! I found my conditions of service a few days ago – typed on three sides of A4. It covered every area of training I should be involved in and when for my two year probationary period.
    *Enter the computer age. More time out training the WHOLE FORCE. We no longer had to fill out crime report forms – ideal, but what they didn’t tell you was that you’d be sat on the phone for sometimes 45 minutes or more waiting for a Crime Input operator to take the details from you.
    *Sections in small police stations became obsolete, they were bundled together and all put in one station – in came ‘Response’. I worked on a section of about 20 officers at Charles Cross, Plymouth. No annual leave was permitted on nights and there was never less than 15 of us on the street walking or driving. After the response business began we were 30 on a shift! Abstractions due to sickness, leave, training courses, of which there were many, secondments, special duties etc meant that I recall many nights of there being just ten of us parading to cover Devonport, Charles Cross, Crownhill, Plympton and Plymstock. Local knowledge was gone, everywhere took ages to find because because we covered such a ridiculously large area. Quality of cover was slipping.
    *Ownership of individual cases was lost as paperwork bounced from one officer to another.
    *Performance indicators – an absolute disgrace and I well recall this causing a great downturn in moral. The person responsible for performance was the supervisor. He , or she, alone, knew who pulled their weight and who didn’t and dealt with it accordingly. One officer on our response shift would draw a number of warrants every night to execute to put his arrest figures up in order to be thought well of!
    *Any objection to these changes by Senior officers would be seen as causing trouble, so everyone sat idly by and just let it all happen.
    *In the late 1990’s two years in the Criminal Justice Unit, shuffling and chasing paper for prosecution files revealed in some cases, an appalling standard of statement writing and often we wondered how some individuals were ever accepted into the service. Standards and general interest in the service was dropping and folk just drifted from one payday to the next and who can blame them? Why stick your neck out trying to change something and risk making yourself unpopular.

    The last five years of my service was spent dealing with prisoners. People who commit crime need to be taken off the street or punished in some way. That means good quality evidence and a good file together with a successful prosecution – thats what the public expect and if Mrs May would like any tips in how best to achieve this I’d be only too happy to impart our methods to her! Out of principal I dealt with my last one on my last day of work, he was only cautioned, but the point is that I wanted to set a good example to my colleagues. Why should I care? Pride perhaps? Some colleagues would call it stupidity.
    Look after the boys and they’ll do a good job with a good heart, lose that goodwill and lose the service. Thank God I’m out of it.

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  11. TJF says:

    Just about half way there……………….or so I thought. Certainly don’t fancy the idea of working an extra 9 years until I’m 60 to finally receive the only thing that has kept me in the job in the first place. The pension.

    To be honest I would consider not bothering to pay in to any new pension scheme and here is why.

    I’m lead to believe that the Government’s plan would involve freezing what has been accrued to date. A new scheme will then start until I’m 60. So instead of one decent pension (that incidently now appears to have been missold to me when I joined) I get one incomplete devalued one and one run of the mill public sector one. Neither of which I am sure will include the lump sum which was part of the deal I signed up to on day 1 at Hendon!! So I pay a lot more for less.

    As I understand it there is no middle fund for police pensions. What we pay in gets paid out the other end to retired officers and the rest comes out of police budgets as there is a huge shortfall.

    Now I don’t want retired officers to lose out. I would like to think that any Government would be obliged to continue to pay all retired officers what they are entitled by law.

    But what if we all decide not to pay into a new pension scheme. Have more money in your pocket every month (I say more it might just cover the drop in wages that will come with W2)

    If there is more money perhaps I could pay of the mortgage quicker, or simply fritter it away to make myself feel better on my days off!!!. Lets face it if I have any assests when I’m old and need looking after the Government will have my house/savings off me to fund it.

    In that scenari the Government would have to find more money to pay the retired officers pensions. We are lead to believe that changes are necessary to plug the huge black hole in police pensions. If we all threaten to make the black hole even bigger by pulling out of the new pension scheme then surely it will be a false economy for the Government, as in the short and medium term the cost to them would be huge.

    • Interesting point, do you have any figures indicating how many people would have to withdraw to make a difference etc?

      • TJF says:

        No figures as such. Just working on some crude assumptions. Average pension contribution by officers per year £3600. 135,000 officers nationally contributing. Yearly contribution £486,000,000.

        That’s a lot of money to find for a Government intent on making savings.

        That is of course if you buy into the ‘need for change to save money’ mantra as opposed to some other political ideology to change policing as we know it.

        I have e-mailed my MP with a link to your main article. If I get any reply I will post it.

  12. Michael Manette says:

    Next time a member of the public tells me they pay my wages. Guess what? I’m going to ask them for a pay rise and see what they say. Try it, you never know, you may just be speaking to one who can give you a rise and not take it.

    Mind how you go!

  13. Michael Manette says:

    Lots of officers that I work with are considering just that option of not paying into any new pension. If we get to the point of paying 14% before they close it, then over night I would have a five hundred pound a month pay rise. If I saved it, then that would give me £6,000 over 12 months. Times this by 14 years I would be able to save £84,000, plus any bank interest, yeah I know.

    So F***K Theresa May (Well I wouldn’t personally. I’ve done my share of taking one for the team, thank you very much) and the “Con-Dems”, cause I am not propping the pension fund up anymore. I’ve already paid in over £50 grand from other pensions. I’m lucky I’ve been able to do it and I take exception to these prates’ telling everyone that I’ve got a gold plated pension, which I have sponged off the tax payer. I’ve paid for it like the rest of us. I’ll keep my pension frozen along with the other couple I’ve got frozen out and bank my money. I’ve always made provisions for my retirement and would rather not live off the tax payer if this is how it’s going to be. I can look back and say I owe you people nothing, so live deal with it.

    Mind How You Go!

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