Vanishing assets - accounting for the police

Norman Younger
Maximiti Limited
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Just had a friendly chat with my local bobby whom I meet with regularly. Good local coppers like him are an endangered species. I told him that if the police were a business they would be bust in no time , and needless to say he was in total agreeemnt. Which got me thinking - they employ lots of accounting staff but why is nobody coming up with efficient and cost effective measures that will deliver the service the public wants and deserves. Has anybody costed out the time of waiting in for somebody to come and take a statement (up to a week but not borne by the police anyway) when it could be submitted online and what about online booking for visits ? They have shiny patrol cars and live Twitter feeds so you know that the local scallies shave nicked (allegedly , of course) a bar of chocolate from the corner shop but where is the cost effectiveness of that and how many of us are following the old bill on Twiter? Morale is so low that my copper said to me "only 697 days to go" - when somebody is counting down it's bad news and these are valuble assets just vanishing off the balance sheet , if of course they are valued at all !

About Norman Younger

Accountancy practice brokerCommercial mediator & negotiatorBoutique business broker & corporate financier 25+ years professional experience, charity trustee and community worker with a broad (but not-always "PC") view of the country's financial, business, political and social problems. Tel: 0800 2800 321. Follow my personal Google+ page


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24th May 2012 09:09

It said it all for me when they were planning on closing our

local library.....there was a protest being held (you can imagine the swelling crowds of teenagers with stones, bottles etc....ah fact about a dozen OAPs, a few parents and their young children.....this took the resources of 3 police cars, and 5 coppers...a great use of resources (I guess they thought this might be the precursor to last summers riots)


The trouble is as with any services like this we are also effectively paying for down time when there are no problems on the street....and then we pay a reasonably good pension allowing retirement well before the pension age.



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24th May 2012 09:53

This is a pet grouse of mine.

To the outsider, the police are not really interested in crime.

If you report anything, it takes days for them to respond, if they respond at all!

Have a 'red diesel' check day, which are held near our office quite frequently, and you will see dozens of them standing around, mostly doing nothing. Have a training day (in case someone jumps or falls in the nearby river), and you will see dozens and dozens of them just wandering up & down the road while a few police man the numerous mobile emergency communication vehicles.

I don't doubt it is a difficult job, and one I couldn't do myself, but whoever manages the resources must be totally naff.

It is the same with council staff. We monitored a gardening team working outside our office once, and although they were here all day they only managed about 1.5 hrs actual worktime each. They send 6 people to do a job that one could manage. The men & women 'work' for 15 minutes then take a 1/2 hr fag break, work another 15 minutes, etc.  Then 3 'suits' come along to inspect the work, and this takes another hour or so.

I despair at the appalling waste of our resouces.

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24th May 2012 10:03

Pet grouse and plod

I think that on a local level with a good beat bobby there is no doubt they are interested in tackling crime. My chap is well known locally , pounds the beat and is a coppers copper. I do agree that often one gets the impression that checkpoints are overmanned and incidents are over responded in the extreme, but I suspect this is because of regualtions and our old favourite   " 'elfensafety " . The reality TV programmes make it abundantly clear that there is too much red tape and criminals have too many rights - go to Europe or America and see what happens . Plod told me yesterday that in EU a mobile phone user while driving can have it confiscated , and technically we could do it here as it is evidence of a crime. Do they do it ? Do they heck as like . I bet it would reduce accidents dramatically if they were allowed to do so. I direct a homewatch response team and sometimes we always get there first because we are so local and I don''t expect a copper on every street corner "just in case" but when they come from 10 miles away sometimes and odn't knwo the streets or the personalities locally , you wonder if they really are capable of delivery. What I want is the ability for a neighbourhood to sponsor a copper and keep him on their patch. Cost , say £40k pa  - 1000 households , it's £40 a year each. Why not ? Radical - perhaps , popular - you bet it would. Where are all the accounants who could put forward real workable financial solutions ????

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24th May 2012 09:53

Police pension

With regards to the pension I am not unsympathetic. The unwritten code with public servants is they have less opportunity to prosper in public sector but get a good pension and those with really long service and right contacts,  get a gong to boot.Nowadays the retirement at 55 is certainly more generous than it was when it was introduced and gives many of them a good 15 years of working life , full time or part time.

The thrust of my blog was inter alia , that police forces do not account for the coppers as an asset with a lifetime that is depreciated year by year , certainly for their training cost. If the beancounters were to make a reckoning I am sure it would become clear just how inefficient frontline policing is because of red tape


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24th May 2012 10:19

What hope have we when we have the politicans trumpetting

new targets like this one guaranteeing a response after 5 calls.  I wonder whether they have considered it for other emergency services...perhaps the fire service...once we have 5 calls we will guarantee to attend the burning building (which was originally just a little fire in a bin next to said building)...

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24th May 2012 10:32

Emergency response

As far as I am aware one the fire brigade (sorry now called Fire and rescue) send out their firefighters (not allowed to call them firemen)  without delay or complaint. So why is it that this vital service has always managed to match supply and demand ? There must be a lesson here somewhere

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24th May 2012 10:42

Probably not the best example of something 'working'

 - these guys sit around for the majority of the day (unless there is a 'shout') - I just wonder if you actually calculated what their hourly rate was based upon the 'actual' work they do who would be more expensive.....MPs, Firemen, Ambulance workers or the Police.......I wouldn't like to guess except I suspect it is very much higher than we would all expect and probably a lot closer than we would think.


(PS nothing against the is the nature of the job)

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24th May 2012 11:39


Round my way they fit free smoke alarm as when not on a shout - I see the big red shiny company motor all the time at people's houses. They come round with an appointment even , subject to proviso that if they have to run then they'll come back. My Mum rang local fire station becuase I could not reach the smoke alram to replace battery and they turned up within 20 minutes - that is a good service. Remember , fitting smoke alarms saves lives. Not sure how to make an MP more efficient but at least they are directly answerable to the people. Can't say that  I see ambulance people sit around too much but there is a wider problem that people think an ambulance is a taxi to A & E . When I was a wee boy it was rare to see them rushing around on blues and twos , now you see them all the time. I think that people lift the phone for an ambulance too quickly instead of knowing when it is and is not required. An outcome of the nanny state

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24th May 2012 11:52

I also regularly see the shiny red

company vehicle....often parked up at Tesco's getting the weekly shopping (I assume) - as for ambulances....have you never seen them parked up in what i presume are strategic places (just off motorways/dual carriageways etc). 


Like I said, its the nature of the service....but any suggestion that the indiviudals in these services are effectively 'on the job' (that is using their skills/training to do what they are paid for) for the full shift would be at best misguided.  Is it a price worth paying....well i am happy to....but getting back to the original point......if we want immediate response from the police in the same way as the firebrigade then I suspect we will need more coppers not less....which will cost more money not less...I would be happy to pay.....but would others.   



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24th May 2012 13:20

Not hard work!

We have some firemen on our books. They seem able to run a virtually full time business alongside their employment, so I guess the employment isn't all that demanding ... most of the time.

Nurses are another bugbear of mine. I know many are dedicated and work hard, but maybe they put all the lazy useless ones on the geriatric wards! It is disgusting the way the elderly are treated (or should I say ignored!) in some hospitals.

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24th May 2012 14:16

Is there something particularly loathsome ...............

............ about highly paid professionals griping about people who get paid a fraction of their hourly rate for saving lives and (in my sisters case - regularly) being assaulted by those they're trying to help.


Just as well we are not all paid according to our use to Humanity.

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to scorbett
24th May 2012 14:40

Firemen and policemen and nurses - keep thinking out the box

I don't think the gripe is about the people themselves , as some of them risk their lives regularly and others do a job that you and I couldn't  or wouldn't do in a hundred years, but the point which I for one am trying to make is the system within which they work. The system is not necessarily efficient and the fact that these jobs are difficult does not put the operational aspects of the job above scrutiny. 

Time to declare an interest - my wife is an NHS trainee in a medical field (can't give too much away) - long hours , hard work and not gone into it for the money (which she is not paid) but the stories that I hear about the system faults and inefficienies are enough to make your hair stand on end and would NEVER be tolerated in a private company

It may even be a good idea to let firemen (ooops not gender neutral ) to have a job on the side as it keeps a lid on their cost to the public and ensures a stream of entrants to the profession.....

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24th May 2012 15:15

@Peter....if only I was

 highly gripes here....just merely stating the actual situation but as i said i don't have a problem with their pay/conditions etc.

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25th May 2012 10:06


Each of my posts complains about the management of these people and the resources available to them.

As to pay ...  the jobs where people do the job for the love of what they do, or for the satisfaction of making a real difference to other peoples lives, are quite often the lowest paid jobs.

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25th May 2012 11:03

Public sector management

Who manages the managers ? Nobody , becuase they are too disconnected from their political and quango masters and everybody has an interest in protectign their overpaid and undeworked

management jobs. Why do I say "overpaid" - because they get a bonus and performance pay ,

which is an anathema to public service. But that's it isn't it - they serve themselves not the public .

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25th May 2012 19:10

Just a suggestion

Why is it neccesary for police officers to retire at 55?

I can fully understand that a 60 year old might not want to be chasing after burglars, breaking up 'pub fights, etcetera.  But why not make their retirement age the same as everyone elses, and simply move those over, say 55, from operational duties to support. Manning police stations, taking statements, liasing with schools etc. 

After all, these are the officers with the most experience, the ones who "know the ropes", who after 30 years service should know what incidents should be a priority, who are the "wrong uns", etc.

And the benefit would be a better quality of service to the public, and a huge saving in civilian staff who would no longer be needed.

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25th May 2012 17:23

Retirement and rotation

It's so blinking obvious it will never pass muster in the corridors of power , nor I suspect the unions

Anyway if they did continue in the police station who would run the private security firms ?

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to TheLambtonWorm
25th May 2012 19:08

Security ?

Flying Scotsman wrote:

Anyway if they did continue in the police station who would run the private security firms ?



The same as now - the ex cons..


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