Sir Hugh Orde….looking after his own

The Slog has learned from sources in the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary that some 1200 staff are to lose their jobs – but none of them have a rank above sergeant. As has been the experience in many instances of armed forces cuts, the top brass and Whitehall pinstripes hang on to their sinecures….but the rank and file can go hang.

In East Devon at the moment, after 11pm of a weekday evening, there are just two (2) officers on duty on the beat. Devon as a whole is bigger than all the Home Counties put together. Whether those two bobbies will remain in place is now in doubt, following the revelation that some 700 policemen and women are to lose their jobs in the Devon & Cornwall Force. And 500 civilian employees – those hired in recent decades to take admin duties off the beat officers so they could focus more on crime – are also to go.

But the already top-heavy, top-title ‘leaders in cultural diversity’ have emerged totally unscathed from the ‘rigorous’ search for savings in the South West’s police complement: and I have little doubt that this same story will be repeated around Britain. Because the cuts across the UK are front-loaded – with the steepest reductions this year and next – there are already 4,625 fewer police officers than a year ago, and 5,586 fewer support staff. Total cost cutting across the country is to be 20%: but with these being bottom as well as front loaded, the real percentage loss of on-the-street manpower will be much greater.

From the start of the Camerlot austerity programme, the ethics-free troughers have been working overtime to ensure that the axe will fall on every neck except theirs. In June this year, Home Secretary Theresa May told the Association of Chief Police Officers they must use budgets “in the most useful way”. At that time, the Association of Chief Police Officers boss Sir Hugh Orde said it would be “misleading in the extreme” to claim police numbers were sustainable in the face of cuts. Well Hughie, if none of your mates are going, it’s going to be more difficult still, isn’t it?

Police officers are civil servants. But unfortunately – like all the other incarnations of Sir Humphrey – they have in recent years become career politicians in their own right. Now the Coalition wants to have elected (political) Police Chiefs above even this ridiculous over-manning among the Nobs.

The Slog continues to maintain – and collect evidence to prove – that the UK’s austerity programme is being sabotaged by selfish greed. It is the same self-interest as that which, in the banking community, sabotaged the employment, government services, and economic balance of our Nation.

We are not “all in this together”. An undeservedly privileged uberbau is looking after itself, thank you very much. The Opposition should be bringing the Government to book on this, but one sees little sign of it. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has condemned the 20% cuts being made to the police force. Given we have heard little from her (and even less from her boss) about ‘elitist cuts’, perhaps some PMQs should now be addressing this disgraceful example of salvaging the Jobs for the Boys.