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Bring Back The Old News!

by Matt Gallagher on February 19, 2013

Yesterday’s Manchester Evening News had, as it’s front-page headline, “Bring Back The Old Squad!” The article opened with the gushing statement; “An army of retired detectives is being lined up to help police tackle major crimes.”

I’m all for innovative thinking, and have often thought that the combined knowhow of retired police officers could be put to productive use, but our sad experience of the former Labour Government has taught us to look long and hard at any announcements they make.

In the body of the Manchester Evening News article is the revelation that £100,000 has been allocated for this squad. When one recognizes that a Detective Constable (the lowest detective rank) with ten years service is paid a basic £36,519 per year, one is given to wonder how many former officers will be in this ‘army’.

The Evening News glosses over the real story (which wasn’t on the front page) that the PCC intends to raise Council Tax to collect £3.3 million. The article states that this money will be used to hire 150 civilian staff and 50 police officers. What the article doesn’t specify is if these are new staff, on top of the 50 additional officers that the Force announced it would be recruiting as far back as last February, nine months before the PCC was elected (see previous post – below – from Bolton Evening News in February 2012). I have a sneaking feeling that there are no new recruits, just an old announcement recycled to hide the bad news.

The MEN editorial praises the plan to recruit retired ‘tec’s while seemingly oblivious to the fact that the funding allocated to this ‘army’ (to use the MEN’s own description) would hardly stretch to a handful of officers for a year. It is also of some concern that the paper seems unaware that these ‘extra’ staff were announced over a year ago, and the Chief Constable requested additional ‘Investigative Assistants’ as long ago as 2011.

This raises two questions; if these new recruits were already factored in to the policing budget, what is the extra £3.3 million for, and why is the MEN putting this tosh on it’s front page?

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