A number of Polis bloggers have directed readers to the article in the Police Review submitted by an Inspector and airing his views on Blogging. I've linked to You're Nicked as he includes the full article, but other takes can be seen at Inspector Gadget and also at Sergeant Says.
Please read the article and then you'll understand why I have a few points to make:
- Being unhelpful about resource levels - I like to do a little bit of customer research when I get negative comments from mops regarding response times etc. Ask them just how many polis they think are on duty in their city, town etc. Do this on nightshift, say about 4am, when all the office bound polis are in bed and the lateshift have gone home. When they get the answer horribly wrong and they will - n.b. for God's sake don't give them the correct answer, that would be definitely unhelpful - ask them also how many ambulance crews are on, Doctors and Nurses at the local A&E, Out of Hours Social Workers etc etc. Then try and figure out yourself how they got it so wrong. We must be doing something right if they think there's that many on duty. The truth is however that we are all fighting for scarce resources and anyway; they should all be in bed asleep!
- Washing our dirty linen in public is not the answer - most of the blogs I read from Polis around the UK and blogs from other public servants are genuinely humorous and light hearted in their cynicism and critique of their paymasters. The mops (i.e. the members of the public - an acronym I like so there) that read blogs are likely to be gifted enough to make this distinction and not sit up at night worrying their little heads about the likelihood of them "being overrun by paedophiles, rapists, terrorists and murderers."
- You always know someone has a poor argument when they resort to typecasting and blatant dishing of their 'opponents' cf. "the opinions of jaded and frustrated officers." Frustrated yes, jaded no. I just CARE about the job and the people I serve enough to highlight the hurdles we sometimes encounter in providing a professional service in a manner that is both appropriate and proportional and for me satisfying and morale boosting.
- Anonymity - The inspector wrote, "I am aware my bosses read this piece, so I have to behave myself." What is he suggesting? Are Polis bloggers errant kiddiewinks who are due for an early night if they step out of line. A couple of clicks and my identity is there for all to discover, but I don't broadcast it like I was an official mouthpiece for my employers. The purpose of my particular blog, which is not exclusively related to Policing, but will have a large content about same given it's what I do for a living and is PART of who I am, is to discuss, comment and commune on matters I and others find interesting, amusing and thought provoking. I suggest the next time he is out for a drink or at a dinner party and he's asked about his job he just states, "NO COMMENT. I MUST BEHAVE." Despite my occasional moaning about things that DO frustrate me and others, I love my job and wouldn't do anything else. When asked at my confirmation how I felt about my job, I told the DCC I had found my niche. Nothing's changed my opinion. I only wish Inspectors like him (and let's face it the Police is almost unique in that the gaffers have all made their way through the ranks) would recall what they joined for and what their true vocation is. It's not to serve the implied monolith he refers to as THE POLICE, it's the public or as he would probably call them; our customers. In that there lies the problem. We are not a business. We do not have a profit line. Yes we have to give value for money, but we must do it proportionately and in a compassionate and efficient manner. My loyalty to the service remains strong, but it is rightly tempered by those actions made by Government and sometimes our own higher echelons that frustrate day to day policing.
For Polis bloggers, that responsibility is to avoid naming names until in the Public domain, avoid sharing ill judged opinions and observations until the facts are known or researched, avoid comments that are sub-judice, but above all your comments should be transparent and honest. They say the truth never hurts and aren't we in the business of truth..... just remember what you say every time you go to court and before you actually give evidence. Something missing from the Inspector's article was the word integrity. He should look it up in his dictionary.
p.s. After writing all that (or in your case reading all that) I'm feeling JADED for another reason.
And yes, I have now let off steam!!!!