Wiltshire chief constable looks at cutting back on officers' needless duties to save money

Wiltshire Times: Wiltshire Chief Constable Patrick Geenty Wiltshire Chief Constable Patrick Geenty

Wiltshire Chief Constable Patrick Geenty is ready to stop his officers from delivering death messages, policing remembrance parades and chasing stray dogs to help trim another £12 million from his budget over the next three years.

Continual coalition government cuts to the police budget have forced him to look at every task carried out by his officers and consider cutting back on jobs he feels shouldn’t have to be done by them.

“I cannot expect to make cuts of more than £22 million over five years and expect my staff to carry on doing the same thing,” he said. “We have to look at the things that we do that are almost by default and ask whether we should be doing them.”

Among the jobs he has identified are officers delivering messages to families whose loved ones have died.

“Obviously if someone has died in Edinburgh and the family lives in Wiltshire that is one thing and it is quite right that we do that. But there are many other instances where it is left to my officers and we are asking why? The health service is a very large organisation and has much more capacity,” said Mr Geenty.

He is also looking at public events, such as remembrance day parades, where officers provide cover free of charge.

“I know this is a sensitive area,” he said. “But we provide cover  at the bigger events and on the eleventh there are hundreds across Wiltshire. This can have a big effect on shift patterns because we also have to have cover for everything else.”

He is worried that officers spend too much time on calls that don’t necessarily need police there, such as school incidents. “You can have a fight in a  playground. One child gets scratched and the police are called in. Should they be there? Can’t the school deal with it?

"Okay yes if one has a broken nose that is different but not for scratches. We have had calls like that regularly and if we get involved then there has to be an investigation. I don’t want to criminalise young people.”

He wants to discuss the issue with other chief constables and then approach partner organisations.

One major concern is the amount of calls to hospitals and to deal with patients suffering mental illness. He cited an example of an ambulance crew calling police to help them carry an overweight patient downstairs.

“There are occasions when we are called to deal with a fight in a hospital but they have their own security,” he said.

“We are also asked to assist with people in their own homes who may be mentally ill. I’m not sure this is good for the patient if they are taken into custody when they should be helped by someone qualified.”

Other areas where he will look at reducing police cover are rounding up stray dogs, bilking (petrol thefts) at petrol stations, dealing with abandoned vehicles when they are not stolen or causing an obstruction, dealing with lost property and guarding crime scenes, which Mr Geenty believes could be contracted out to a private security firm.

He said: “We are asking why we should be left to do some of these jobs when they are not our responsibility. I don’t want to do this but this economic situation is forcing me to consider it.”

Comments (12)

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11:43am Sat 14 Dec 13

JoDope says...

And the bell tolls again in the death knell for the office of Constable! I am so glad to be leaving.
And the bell tolls again in the death knell for the office of Constable! I am so glad to be leaving. JoDope

1:22pm Sat 14 Dec 13

edwardeast says...

The police also spend time and money guarding and escorting VIPs, MPs, so-called "celebrities" and members of the royal family. These people should pay for their own security and not use taxpayers money to safeguard their lifestyles. That applies to Wiltshire and nationally. There is a lot of public money to be saved. What about that Mr Geenty?
The police also spend time and money guarding and escorting VIPs, MPs, so-called "celebrities" and members of the royal family. These people should pay for their own security and not use taxpayers money to safeguard their lifestyles. That applies to Wiltshire and nationally. There is a lot of public money to be saved. What about that Mr Geenty? edwardeast

7:03am Sun 15 Dec 13

old 'arry says...

Stop policing football matches in Swindon etc. If the Chief Constable considers an event is likely to lead to a breach of the peace, he/she has the powers to prevent t happening. Football attracts the yobs in society - life would go on as normal if it was abolished.
Stop policing football matches in Swindon etc. If the Chief Constable considers an event is likely to lead to a breach of the peace, he/she has the powers to prevent t happening. Football attracts the yobs in society - life would go on as normal if it was abolished. old 'arry

10:08am Sun 15 Dec 13

beetawix says...

why don't they just do them all for wasting police time?
why don't they just do them all for wasting police time? beetawix

10:43am Sun 15 Dec 13

monkton_dad says...

You could save more than enough money, If you became a division of the Avon & Somerset Police, Then you could scrap your control rooms, finance, HR, IT systems and most of your senior staff.
You are too small to "go it alone", wake up and start the South West region Force. Then you can look at joining the National police force.
You could save more than enough money, If you became a division of the Avon & Somerset Police, Then you could scrap your control rooms, finance, HR, IT systems and most of your senior staff. You are too small to "go it alone", wake up and start the South West region Force. Then you can look at joining the National police force. monkton_dad

9:01pm Sun 15 Dec 13

shed says...

monkton_dad wrote:
You could save more than enough money, If you became a division of the Avon & Somerset Police, Then you could scrap your control rooms, finance, HR, IT systems and most of your senior staff.
You are too small to "go it alone", wake up and start the South West region Force. Then you can look at joining the National police force.
yes but the law in that argument is that if you amalgamate all police forces into a national one, albeit a good idea, and do away with chief constables it would impact severely on local Freemason Lodges.;-)
[quote][p][bold]monkton_dad[/bold] wrote: You could save more than enough money, If you became a division of the Avon & Somerset Police, Then you could scrap your control rooms, finance, HR, IT systems and most of your senior staff. You are too small to "go it alone", wake up and start the South West region Force. Then you can look at joining the National police force.[/p][/quote]yes but the law in that argument is that if you amalgamate all police forces into a national one, albeit a good idea, and do away with chief constables it would impact severely on local Freemason Lodges.;-) shed

9:02pm Sun 15 Dec 13

shed says...

late night typo, for law read flaw
late night typo, for law read flaw shed

11:19pm Sun 15 Dec 13

Mrs Donnyfly says...

The war on drugs is a needless duty.
The war on drugs is a needless duty. Mrs Donnyfly

10:14pm Mon 16 Dec 13

melkshamwizard says...

Mrs Donnyfly wrote:
The war on drugs is a needless duty.
youre on your own again,when are you going to learn that drugs are not acceptable,some of the comments you put on theW/T it seems like youre on something
[quote][p][bold]Mrs Donnyfly[/bold] wrote: The war on drugs is a needless duty.[/p][/quote]youre on your own again,when are you going to learn that drugs are not acceptable,some of the comments you put on theW/T it seems like youre on something melkshamwizard

12:56am Tue 17 Dec 13

The.Central.Scrutinizer says...

melkshamwizard wrote:
Mrs Donnyfly wrote:
The war on drugs is a needless duty.
youre on your own again,when are you going to learn that drugs are not acceptable,some of the comments you put on theW/T it seems like youre on something
how can they be unacceptable? by their existence someone must be accepting them
[quote][p][bold]melkshamwizard[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mrs Donnyfly[/bold] wrote: The war on drugs is a needless duty.[/p][/quote]youre on your own again,when are you going to learn that drugs are not acceptable,some of the comments you put on theW/T it seems like youre on something[/p][/quote]how can they be unacceptable? by their existence someone must be accepting them The.Central.Scrutinizer

10:21pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Mrs Donnyfly says...

melkshamwizard wrote:
Mrs Donnyfly wrote:
The war on drugs is a needless duty.
youre on your own again,when are you going to learn that drugs are not acceptable,some of the comments you put on theW/T it seems like youre on something
My comment wasn't a reference to whether or not in your opinion some drugs are unacceptable. I say some drugs because there are many that are acceptable, and which you probably consume yourself. My comment was a reference to the cost and amount of police man hours spent on an unwinnable war that does nothing accept criminalise people for taking part in a consensual activity and promote crime.

When are you going to learn to stop being fed the lines of BS propaganda and regurgitating them un-thinkingly.
[quote][p][bold]melkshamwizard[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mrs Donnyfly[/bold] wrote: The war on drugs is a needless duty.[/p][/quote]youre on your own again,when are you going to learn that drugs are not acceptable,some of the comments you put on theW/T it seems like youre on something[/p][/quote]My comment wasn't a reference to whether or not in your opinion some drugs are unacceptable. I say some drugs because there are many that are acceptable, and which you probably consume yourself. My comment was a reference to the cost and amount of police man hours spent on an unwinnable war that does nothing accept criminalise people for taking part in a consensual activity and promote crime. When are you going to learn to stop being fed the lines of BS propaganda and regurgitating them un-thinkingly. Mrs Donnyfly

12:48pm Wed 18 Dec 13

wilts_reader says...

Remembrance days? Most of these are not covered by full time paid officers but by volunteer special constables.... saving of £0
Remembrance days? Most of these are not covered by full time paid officers but by volunteer special constables.... saving of £0 wilts_reader

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