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bensonby

Opinions please...

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Any constructive advice would be appreciated:

I'm a PC on an SNT and passed OSPRE part 1 in 2012. The Met recently had its first promotion process in about 4 years at the start of the year but I got binned on the paper sift. They have said there will be another process at some point later this year. The feedback from the papersift was quite good and I think I know what I need to change. In the meantime for the past few years I have A/PS'd on an ad hoc basis - essentially covering for sergeants when there is a shortage. It's become an all-too-common thing in the Met to be honest, but it's always dangled in front of officers for being "good for evidence". I also supervise a lot of the crime reports and other bits and bobs on behalf of my skipper.

This week my sergeant is leaving the team for 3 months to run a "street duties" course - officers straight out of training learning the ropes in the real world under close supervision. This will involve the skipper leaving the team and leave our team without a sergeant. It was always widely assumed that I would be filling her shoes for those 3 months but no-one actually said anything to me officially. Yesterday was the last day before my skipper goes off; I was sitting with the inspector and he mentioned her being away. I said to him: "guv, it seems to be an assumption that I will act up in her absence... but no-one has actually asked me. What's the score?"

He said, "Sorry, we've all assumed you will do it. I take it you are happy to do so. I'll just pop around to the chief inspector and make it official."

A few minutes later I get a phone call saying: "I'm actually quite outraged by this but the CI says he won't pay you. The sergeants post isn't actually "vacant" and there is no money in the budget." The previous street duties teams (recently) have had A/PS's running them but they did it for no money. What are your thoughts?"

I pointed out that I really wasn't happy at all. I said that whilst I "act up" on an ad hoc basis - twice this week in fact when there were no skippers on at all across the portfolio - because someone needed to take charge (we have to have a "duty sergeant" for the neighbourhood teams each day) - I don't bother claiming. It's rather different doing it permanently for 3 months. I pointed out that it wasn't really about the money - it was the principle of it and it seems like I was having the urine taken out of me....

He agreed but essentially said it was out of his hands. He said we'd discuss it further when I return from my rest days on Thursday.

As I see it there are three possible outcomes:

- I just get on with it. Act up for no money and keep the goodwill of the CI (who seems to quite like me but that goodwill doesn't seem to translate into much in the real world. I get to keep control of the team who are quite a well-gelled bunch.

- I refuse point blank. I stop acting up at all: I refuse to supervise the crime reports, allocate tasks, sort out leave, send back Aid that I have been given as an A/PS, cover for when there is no skipper on duty at all. The team ends up rudderless and performance goes down the pan. The net result is I make life difficult for my team, my sergeant, the CI and others. I lose any goodwill from the bosses. My current skipper essentially ends up running two teams - but not being able to actually devote enough time to either team. (She relies on me to do a lot of her admin etc as it is)

- I do the above and they parachute in someone else to act up for nothing ending up with someone really weary and I lose the relative autonomy that I enjoy on my current team.

I think the whole thing is a massive urine-take by the CI to be honest. They don't seem to have thought up a decent structure for this new Street Duties team - which, after all, will only been in existence for a short period of time. They seem to have assumed that I will just take on loads of extra responsibility for nothing. I suppose I have made a rod for my own back by stepping up to the plate often on an ad hoc basis - but I generally like to be helpful and will generally do a task if asked. However, 3 months solid is something of a different ball-game if I'm honest and, as I said, it's not the money but the principle that irks me so much.

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So if I am reading it right, they are saying you would be in charge but would not be A/PS?

I think you are right to stick to your principles as otherwise it is a slippery slope for you and anyone who follows after you.

Would it be possible to get in writing (e-mail) from the Inspector or preferably Chief Inspector an answer to the question, "Can I please clarify whether I am being designated A/PS while PS X is away?"

If the answer comes back yes, then keep the e-mail and if there is an issue when you submit the pay claims 3 months down the line then that becomes a federation issue as you are legally entitled to that money, it isn't up for negotiation. Clearly, pay and conditions are written in to statute in the form of police regulations.

If the answer comes back no, then quite simply refuse to carry out any supervisory functions. Yes there is a risk they bring some other person in, but at the end of the day they wont be an A/PS either (although they might wear the stripes, which in itself is not correct) and would have no authority over you. So any weariness could be rebuffed.

I can see how this situation is difficult as you do not want to alienate the C/Insp with another promotion process looming but at the end of the day if you're a pushover where will it end???

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Dont be a pushover, If they do it once, they will do it again. It is their fault they have screwed up a budget not yours. Stick to your guns. I would do what Fenix said. I would also be keeping my eye out for Sgt's roles in surrounding forces in case they have any vacancies, and make it clear you are doing this.

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I don't know how the budget works for bringing people in from another area, but if it's a matter of having to pay the new person that they bring in from somewhere else under your borough's budget then that's going to be more expensive than paying you the increment from PC to PS surely? If so then that's a simple business case to the C/Insp where employing you is a direct saving.

Again, as an SC I have no dealing with the Fed, but is it worth asking for their thoughts too? They may know of something similar where it happened before (in fact considering the size of the Met and all the acting up that goes on I'd say it was a certainty) and be able to use what happened there as a precedent.

I can only speak for Surrey, but I'm not sure that there are loads of sgt's roles outside the Met to be had either - so it's perhaps not the bargaining tool that you might hope it would be.

the other option is for YOU to do the street duties project on no more money, and leave your skipper where they are on borough. Just thinking out loud there though.

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Bensonby, I can understand your thoughts of not wanting to get on the wrong side of the CI, but to be honest, if you do this for no money, you're taking on a heck of a responsibility for pretty much nothing in return. Whilst you've acted up here and there, do you really want all the hassle and responsibility of being XX4 and the team skipper for 3 months without the pay? That's much more than just helping out and co-ordinating stuff.

I appreciate you're not in it just for the money, but it seems to me that you've done more than enough above and beyond your pay grade as it is, without letting them walk all over you now. I would say, don't do it UNLESS you feel like you're going to get something out of it and UNLESS you REALLY want to- e.g. for more experience, to build more evidence for your next skippers application, etc.

This is a real urine-take and to be honest, we all need to stop letting the Job get away with stuff like this and using people. They wouldn't let us get away with lots of stuff, so why should we make it work for them so often, yet we all do...

I wouldn't do what was suggested above re getting the Inspector to say you're an A/PS in writing and then use his e-mail to claim money later... in my mind, that's being a bit too cunning and would look really bad, as well as annoying an Inspector who appears to be on your side and trying to help you. If you push back, I wouldn't be surprised if the ended up giving you the money.

Edited by policey_man

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Ben lets be real and frank you. You have the evidence needed for promotion and just like many others, you have been halted at the paper sift, even though I am sure your evidence is well and truly written up correctly. Do you need further evidence of you acting up? I would say no, but that's up to you if you're happy with your evidence.

I always find it totally hard to understand when they say they can't pay, they can pay and the post is actually totally vacant for those three months. It all comes down to the budget holder and the BOCU I'm sure, but I know some SLT won't have anyone paid until they see no one will put up with it for no longer and some are happy to pay as it's the right thing to do. I don't have the years in to give you good advise or experiences at all, but I would not do it for NO MONEY unless it was my first acting role and to get on the ladder.

Hope it all works out for you mate. you do truly deserve it.

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After all that I took a stand and they are now paying me. My inspector was on my side. I asked him how the CI reacted and whether I could expect being dumped on in the future and he told me that the CI was actually really impressed that he'd been stood up to(!)

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This is up there with the most impressive levels of **** taking that I've heard of in the job - the regulations cover Acting and Temporary and they can't just decide they want to you to do it for nothing. I know it's been sorted now, but make sure you have a written record of the conversations for future use, and take it to the Federation if you get overlooked in the future because of expecting payment for the duties performed. As a sergeant you carry a significant level more risk and responsibility than a PC, and you deserve to be properly remunerated in accordance with the regulations for it.


Ben lets be real and frank you. You have the evidence needed for promotion and just like many others, you have been halted at the paper sift, even though I am sure your evidence is well and truly written up correctly. Do you need further evidence of you acting up? I would say no, but that's up to you if you're happy with your evidence.

Evidence for promotion is one thing. You also need support - you need the right people to push for you to get promoted and to support you in getting there.

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After all that I took a stand and they are now paying me. My inspector was on my side. I asked him how the CI reacted and whether I could expect being dumped on in the future and he told me that the CI was actually really impressed that he'd been stood up to(!)

Well done, glad to hear that it's worked out well for you. Enjoy being XX4 :p

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Edit, didn't see your reply. Post unnecessary now.

Edited by mdon

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I have a suspicion that they deliberately "try it on" to see if they can get away with saving the money but immediately relent when challenged as they know there isn't a leg to stand on. I once challenged a cancelled rest day: it was cancelled for no decent reason and I pointed out the relevant regs that relate to "exigencies of duty". The team all got their rest day reinstated - but I was shunned for some time afterwards by a particular superior officer.

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