Police Federation against decommissioning chief inspector rank

Swindon Advertiser: Wiltshire Police are to remove the rank of chief inspector Wiltshire Police are to remove the rank of chief inspector

THE Wiltshire Police Federation has released a statement in response to news the the county's force are to remove the rank of chief inspector as part of a hierarchy review, questioning the benefits of decommissioning the role.

The statement read: "We are aware that as the result of a review of the organisational structure of Wiltshire Police a decision has been made to decommission the chief inspector rank and remove it from the organisational structure.

"This is further evidence of the continued impact of the Government cuts to the policing budget. The force states that this is essential to reduce bureaucracy. This is something that we support 100 per cent but we are yet to be convinced that the removal of the chief inspector rank will have any significant effect on achieving this particularly on the frontline.

"It is disappointing that despite the huge amount of talent and commitment present amongst our members they were not included in the process to identify the best solution.

"Police Officers are crown servants and as holders of the Office of Constable are already amongst the most empowered workforce in the country. We are concerned that in this context empowerment is being used as an alternative to 'increased responsibility' which of would come with no additional recompense. A recent study into Inspectors working hours shows our Inspectors are already working excessive hours and, despite efforts by managers to address this, it will add even more to their work load and expose them to even more stress."

Chair of Wiltshire Police Federation Mike White added: "The removal of the chief inspector rank has been tried before, following the Sheehy report into policing in the mid 1990's. Those forces that tried it have all re-instated the rank.

"Hopefully we can learn the lessons from their experiences. Changing the rank structure of the police should be something Nationally agreed following appropriate consultation. In these circumstances this is a decision that has been locally made with no consultation with the Police Federation.

"Unless we genuinely change the way we work additional pressure will be placed upon a group of officers already struggling to keep on top of their current workloads.

"However it will be our members that will make this work. It will involve a change in culture and a different way of working and we [police federation] will seek to be involved in making sure this works as well as it can."

"Our officers are committed to delivering the best policing that they can. The best way of achieving this is to ensure that we have the enough people to do the job the public want us to do and provide them with the right equipment to do that job. As in most organisations the structure of that organisation can help create an environment which allows this to happen. Hopefully this change will improve our ability to create that healthy environment.

"As always change will present some opportunities. Whatever the outcome we will work closely with the management of Wiltshire Police to be the best police force we can be."

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