In the words of a recent film title, 'Duty before self, a most dangerous method'.
But following on from that ACPO seem to be suggesting that the oath sworn by Police officer to serve the Crown should override any other concerns.
The ACPO lead on workforce development, Mr Peter Fahy, has released a statement on behalf of ACPO in response to the final part of the Winsor Report. The statement demonstrates concern about many aspects of the report and uses clear statements against the reports finding but doesn't follow through with any strongly worded advice to the government. Indeed he goes onto reminds everyone that despite the Governments bad faith and lack of support for the police service in general, ACPO expects that the rank and file of the service will to continue to be subservient to old fashion values that stem from being servants of the Crown.
According to the ACPO statement Chief Constables do not believe that police officers are overpaid. But the only action they are suggest in response to pay freezes and steep reductions in the value of police officer pay year on year is that they " intend to watch the cumulative impact on individual members of staff who are seeing the cost of living rise". They suggest that changes have to help forces make best use of their budgets and therefore have to be about long term reform not crude pay cuts this seems to suggest an acceptance of pay cuts as long as they are' not crude pay cuts'.
ACPO say that any changes have to help forces save money but with more than 80% of budgets being spent on pay they again seem to accepting that pay should be cut? How does this sit with the previous assertion that, "some police officers are not rewarded enough for the difficult and dangerous job they do".
There is recognition that policing is becoming ever more specialised and complex but there seems to be an acceptance that it's right to reduce remuneration whilst expecting ever more. The most difficult and dangerous job is undertaken by the front-line, response constables and sergeants, the very people who are paid the least. These are these people who on a daily basis have to meet the needs of the public using their skills and talents. These are the people that ACPO should have the flexibility to reward but history has shown that these are the people who loose out every time. Consistently delivering high quality front-line response by those actually working on the streets is being rewarded with pay pay freezes and dismantling of their conditions of service.
Peter Fahy says that there is likely to be considerable interest a voluntary redundancy scheme if it were agreed by the Home Office. Could anyone be surprised by that? Policing used to be a vocation but how can that continue when the public, through it's government, shows it's contempt for those who provide the service.
The ACPO statement says, "It is not about cutting wages or asking staff to work harder for less." but it clearly is, ACPO clearly want more work from their staff and the Government intends to pay less for it.
The police service has always been in a state of change. As society changes so the police service has to change, sometime there is a delay but that change always happens. This isn't about change to match the needs of society, this is about undervaluing the service the police provide. When the police service is undervalued then the value of the service it provides will fall and may eventually fail. Once we loose that quality of service we will never get it back.
So what support can we expect ACPO to give the rank and file? Probably very little, it seems inevitable that they will largely dance to the tune of their political masters.
The ACPO workforce development business area is established to lead in the area of developing and harnessing police service talent. The business areas role is to develop best practice and guidance on behalf of all chief officers to assist them in the aim of building a safe, professional and efficient workforce focused on cutting crime and keeping communities safe from harm.