Police officers attack the Chief Constable
POLICE officers in Essex have claimed the force is not serving the public and have strongly criticised Chief Constable Roger Baker, on a police discussion forum. Twenty-two pages of comments by apparently serving or recently retired bobbies in Essex ha
POLICE officers in Essex have claimed the force is not serving the public and have strongly criticised Chief Constable Roger Baker, on a police discussion forum.
Twenty-two pages of comments by apparently serving or recently retired bobbies in Essex have appeared on the Police Oracle online forum.
Several of the complaints posted claim that since Roger Baker took over as head of the force in July 2005, officers are having to make unnecessary arrests and detentions in order to meet target figures. They claim this is so the force is seen to be hard on crime.
Many have said this is negatively affecting residents in Essex, with one saying that: "The public have had a abysmal service in Essex in the past 12 months or so."
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Another contributor wrote: "The figures are being manipulated to suit Mr Baker's needs. The amount of arrests we make are to suit the targets set by him.
"It does not matter if we are about to get a conviction from it... you should still arrest! Whose time is this really wasting when we could be getting on and really serving those who need us?"
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Several others agreed and said they too were repeatedly told to effect arrests.
When Mr Baker started his five-year role as Chief Constable last year, he demanded the force make at least 600 arrests in his first week in charge.
"If you are planning on committing crime in Essex, bring a toothbrush because you won't be going home," he said after taking up the job.
But the number of arrests is not the only issue worrying officers. Some have also expressed concern about how long people who have been arrested are being detained.
One posting read: "Some ex-colleagues told me that 'prisoners' were to be kept in custody for 12 hours, then they wouldn't want
But there are claims on the forum that officers are either too scared to speak up or have tried to approach Mr Baker, but with little success.
"I personally have tried to meet with [Roger] only to be told he's too busy and [was] fobbed off with excuse after excuse," one officer wrote.
A request has been made on the forum for a formal independent consultation to take place so the views of Essex police officers can be heard and an assessment of their views made.
In a joint statement, Essex Police and the Essex Police Authority said: "The messages on the
Police Oracle website concerning Essex Police are misleading and inaccurate and do not reflect the views of the officers and staff.
"The authority is content that no further action is necessary concerning the allegations against the chief constable. Officers and staff are encouraged to raise any concerns through the established processes adopted by Essex
Police or informally direct with their managers.
"The Chief Constable will continue to push the force to improve its performance to the public and in doing so he has the full support and confidence of the Police Authority and the vast majority of his staff."
Authority chairman Robert Chambers said: "The authority fully supports the chief constable. The authority has no intention of taking any further action concerning the allegations.