When I named this blog it was following a set of shifts when things were abnormally bad. We always seemed to have more jobs to do than people to do them. Normally this means that there are a few overdue Grade 3 Nuisance jobs lingering at the bottom of the controllers job list. Kids giggling in a car park was the benchmark for these jobs. The little darlings would only be upsetting someone who (ironically) was actually calling dueÂ to some deep-seated self loathing for buying a flat overlookingÂ the said car park in the first place. The job was still there because they called everyÂ week and eventually achieved the coveted GOLD VICTIM status which meant we actually had to go.
Recently though things have become even more desperate. We know its desperate as the old “minimum strength” has now become “preferred strength” (in the same way that domestic violence risks are no longer Low, Medium and High but Standard, Medium and High) and this has only served to assuage the guilt of the duties team at letting us go into battle on a Friday with only enough resources to deal with one half decent fight or two compliant prisoners.
In fact on two occasions recently there have been no officers at all available (for several hours) to deal with the jobs that came in…even the big ones like robberies and burglaries in progress. We have had to resort to drafting in officers from surrounding divisions and that adds fifteen minutes (plus a little time for manking and moaning) to the already unacceptable response times. The result of this is that the robbers and burglars don’t get caught and the victims stand on the pavement or doorstep waiting thirty minutes for the “service” to arrive.
Brave ventures like recruitment freezes and mandatory gold watches for the 30 plus’ers are doing nothing to stop this getting any worse. We see the numbers dropping almost as fast as the morale and it’s not going to get any better either. The stations are closing, the Police staff are being axed left right and Chelsea, and on top of it all, we are about to face a huge cut in wages and the biggest re-shuffle of frontline departments in 10 years.
When I joined up I looked at the senior PC’s on the shift and wondered how they had become such miserable old bar-stewards when the job I saw through my eyes was a wonderful one, full of excitement and personal satisfaction. I have to wonder what it will be like for those of us that remain in another 10 years or so. Especially when the shift sprogs are already brow-beaten and demoralised when they get to their first station with 35 glorious years ahead of them.
One way ticket toÂ Auckland anyone?