Speech to PF Asuntos Internos Permanent Congress

J.J. Patrick

This speech was delivered without notes to the international PF Asuntos Internos Permanent Congress on 23/10/2014 at the Policia Federal, Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City. The text is taken direct from the transcript.

Good afternoon everyone, I’m just going to settle my nerves down. Well, I’m fairly sure it’s afternoon, but I’ve got jet lag…

I wanted to start by saying a huge thankyou to my hosts Luis and Anna, their boss and everyone else involved in making this seminar possible, and for organising the excellent tours that started this morning at the operational command centre, and concluded at the President’s bunker.

What struck me, in the bunker, was the superb access to data, on mixed platforms, which can be used to guide police response, decisions on resource deployments, everything in real time.

What really struck me was this fantastic system relies absolutely, and I mean absolutely, upon the…

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Heroes

policecommander

Soldiering and Coppering are not the same thing – though there are certain common threads that might be drawn from the lives of police officers and military personnel. Beginning with the courage, compassion and simple humanity that characterises the best of them.

Soldiers (and sailors and the men and women of the RAF) are heroes – regarded as such by the vast majority of decent, law-abiding people.

They are recognised and celebrated as men and women who are prepared to risk their lives in the service of their country – and who, on far too many occasions, pay that greatest price.

Those who make it home from foreign fields are honoured and admired as men and women who carry their scars – seen and unseen – and to whom we owe a very considerable debt of gratitude.

We roar our support for injured veterans at the Invictus Games and we understand better…

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Civvy Guide to Winsor

I hate injustice. I always back the underdog. My mother tells that when I was small I would take the waifs and strays home for a glass of milk and a biscuit.

You get the picture. I’m a caring individual, an upright citizen. Little did I think that this life philosophy would remotely translate to our police service. But sadly it does.

I realise now that I always took the work of the police for granted.  I didn’t give more than a glancing thought to the fact they were there or the actual work they did. They are the police after all and I am reassured solely by the knowledge of their presence and they would be there if I called. Their protective arms always metaphorically around us.

 I assumed.

I felt safe.

 I cannot begin to comprehend a Britain where the police and all they represent to me are not there. But that is a real threat under Winsor.

So I was compelled to write this as my civilian-member-of-the-public take on Winsor as my first blog.

In a nutshell, it means that police officers’ terms and conditions being drastically and unfairly downgraded – which is an attack in anyone’s book. For example, should an officer be seriously injured in the line of duty, there’s a fair chance they will be effectively sacked.

Hm.

Some police tasks will be undertaken by non-police personnel, thus undermining police officers’ professionalism. Work will be contracted out to firms who traditionally have a wide range of ‘specialisms’ from catering to criminal justice and everything in between.

Hm.

Is it just me or is anyone else beginning to feel uncomfortable about their presumption of safety?

The knock on effect of this could be increased crime as there will be less police officers. Insurance premiums could go up as a result. This also raises the question we have to pay for police to attend road traffic accidents and other 999 calls?

Hm.

Then there is the introduction of direct entrants to senior posts.

I could apply to become a superintendent. I have the right qualificaitons: excellent leadership skills; currently manage a specialist team; can work effectively under pressure and to tight timescales; planning, monitoring and evaluation expertise; organisational development; the list goes on.

Perfect candidate you may think.

However as good and relevant as my skills may be, I do not have the most important ones to undertake this job: knowledge and experience of policing.

Nor could, or should, I or anyone else be able to learn them quickly or in depth enough to hit the ground running. Granted staff could help, but that is not the point. You are the one being paid to do that job and the buck stops with you. You can’t waste valuable time searching around for someone with eg firearms knowledge because you don’t have it at your fingertips.

Time does not allow for inexperience in these urgent, split-second-right-decision situations, particularly when they may result in the unnecessary loss of life.

Another aspect I had not considered was the personal impact of police work on behalf of our personal and community safety. Being on Twitter, following and chatting to serving police officers and supporters, reading articles and blogs they posted, I quickly came to realise the importance of their work to me as an individual and to our communities.

I saw past the security the uniform represents to me to the depth and complexities of police work; the impact of which I had not previously fully realised. It was like a slap in the face wake-up call. I saw the commitment, passion, pride and personal sacrifice it takes to be a serving British police officer. I found they (rightly) view police work as a vocation rather than a career: the difference between the two is immense.

I’ve always been respectful of the work of our police; I just hadn’t stopped to think about what it meant to me in practice. They undertake a huge range of duties and responsibilities daily, some of which I don’t think I could do under any circumstances.

These films explain what I mean better than any of my words can http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyO1WURjHLI and James’ words http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOzPKRvecNo&feature=youtube_gdata_player

The moral?

Stand up for what you believe.

Speak out.

Support #AntiWinsorNetwork on Twitter.

You don’t have to be directly involved with something for it to have a direct and significant impact on your life, community and your beliefs.

The decimation of our police service is one such life changing event that you should feel morally obliged to support.

I do.

With pride.

@Mhairi62

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