PermaLink We're bothered04/06/2009 09:55 AM
Yesterday I went to my third police funeral in four weeks with the very sad death of Chief Inspector Karin Mulligan. She was a remarkable woman who made a strong stand for equality during her career but also was a very good officer and leader. Our thoughts are with her family.

Over the past week I have on patrol in Altrincham and Salford, an award ceremony at Wigan, a promotion parade, Chief Constables Council in London and the national workforce conference in Leeds.

As you go around Greater Manchester or open your newspaper you will see lots of adverts about the Policing Pledge. The Pledge is designed to give the public a clear guarantee about the service they will receive and remove some of the inconsistency between forces. We all need to take seriously giving the public we serve a clear idea of what they can expect and to keep them informed of what we are doing in their area.

If we are to give clear expectations to the public of when we will get to them and keep to those promises, then we need to free up our response officers to be available to respond.

If we want to meet the needs of victims better and get local villains under control we need officers who are able to progress investigations without delay.

If we want to meet the priorities set by local people we need to be able to join things up at the local level so residents see us working as one team and things change within their lifetime.

Some examples:

On one estate I was on local youths constantly cause a nuisance outside the local Spar - we have asked the local council to get some Asbos but we have no idea when that will happen and in the meantime every night people go down to the Spar for their pint of milk...

We are seeing big developments in technology and the use of forensics this means we will need to invest in these areas and organise ourselves to act swiftly on the results so that the villains are on the back foot

On another estate we have got the Asbo against the local tearaway but residents can't understand why despite constant breaches the courts still haven't locked them up

All these can either build public confidence or lose it. At the end of the day if the system cannot control troublesome individuals who aren't that bright, then why would you have us.

Between Hale Barns, Ordsall and Moss Side I saw some of the extremes of Greater Manchester this week. One group of youngsters we found smoking at the back of some shops on their way to their private school were extremely respectful because they didn't want their school or parents informed. Assisting with an arrest of a disqualified driver on another estate and some of the middle-aged residents coming out to watch being openly hostile to the officers.

One sergeant summed it up for me this week when he said, "You have to be bothered". I think that's right whether police officers and staff are trying to improve life on an estate or dealing with some of the basic frustrations around bureaucracy or delays. I’m telling my staff that in GMP we all need to keep on trying and not let the system beat us – making sure we do stay bothered, and keeping determined to make things better for everyone.

Perhaps that should be the next force slogan: "We're bothered."

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