Sunday, July 25, 2010

Heroes Of BOM

A hero in action

Tyler has been contacted by the late lamented and much missed Dr Crippen, who draws attention to this story:
"A director of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service has been disciplined after making a withering attack on 'lazy' NHS staff through Facebook.

In an online discussion, David Forster said the NHS employed 'too many who are lazy, unproductive, obstinate, militant, aggressive at every turn and who couldn't secure a job anywhere outside the bloated public sector where mediocrity is too often shielded by weak and unprincipled HR policies'.

The kindly old Doc is concerned. He wonders what "disciplined" actually means - what Stalinist horrors poor Mr Foster has been subjected to for speaking the truth. Foster has not been available for comment, so he may have already been despatched to the secret NHS re-education gulag on that disused WW2 aerodrome outside Withernsea.

Public servants who blow the whistle have long risked horrific treatment at the hands of the NKVD. And the Doc - now in hiding in his distant rural bolt-hole - suggests that BOM should establish a role of honour for those who stand up for taxpayers whatever the cost.

So we will. The Heroes of BOM. And David Foster is the very first name on the list. Let us hope he doesn't allow himself to be silenced.

Immediately joining him is Stuart Davidson, better known as PC Copperfield. As Copperfield, policeman Davidson wrote a widely read blog, Wasting Police Time, that gave us the facts on what really goes on in Britain's police force. It was later published by the excellent Monday Books.

In his time as a blogger, Davidson blew the whistle on some major crimes - all of them perpetrated by the police against taxpayers. He gave us chapter and verse on the way bureaucracy and a mountain of box-ticking paperwork have utterly destroyed police efficiency.

Needless the say, the NKVD mounted a huge man-hunt to track him down. But he was too clever for them, and before the final stake-out, he upped sticks and left for Canada (exactly as recommended on BOM). He's now a police officer in Edmonton, the capital of oil-rich Alberta from where he sent his article in today's S Telegraph.

He tells us Canadian police are miles more efficient than ours, mainly because they are trusted to do the job. And to illustrate his argument he compares Edmonton's police with Greater Manchester's:
"So how do both forces stack up? Well, there are 10 violent crimes per 1,000 people in Edmonton; in Greater Manchester, Home Office statistics show 16 offences of violence per 1,000 people (in Manchester itself, the figure is nearly 24/1,000, and in Britain as a whole, 15/1,000).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, our 2009 Citizen Survey shows that 89 per cent of residents "have a lot of confidence in the Edmonton Police Service", with 66 per cent saying they feel safe walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark. In the GMP area, only 50 per cent of people think the police are doing an "excellent or good" job, which leaves an awful lot of unhappy taxpayers.

But do we spend more money? No. The EPS budget for 2010 is £150 million – or £150 for every citizen. The GMP budget is £690 million – or £276 for every citizen. They could lose 40 per cent of their budget and still have more cash per capita than we do.

Of course, how you spend money is important. GMP employs 8,232 police officers in a total staff of 13,082, or one person for every 181 members of the public. My force employs about 1,400 officers and 500 civilians – one person for every 526 members of the public.

So with less money and far fewer cops, we do a better job."

Officer Davidson couldn't be clearer. We desperately need him, and those like him, back here. Which is why - despite the fact that he deserted us - we're making him number 2 on BOM's list of heroes.

Number 3 joins our list for a slightly different reason:
"Mark Wheeldon (pic above) was fed up of living on benefits and concocted a plan to get him noticed on the job market. He decided to stand on one of the busiest roundabouts in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs, and advertise himself to passing motorists during the morning rush hour...

Mark had failed to find work after spending the past two years caring for a former partner who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis...

...he was flabbergasted when, after nearly three hours spent standing in a torrential downpour, timber factory director Vince Champion came to his rescue. He spotted Mark on his way to work and returned to collect him, giving him an an interview straight away and offering him the job just 20 minutes later."

We have often blogged the merits of getting on your bike, and although it would seem no actual bike was involved here, we doff our cap to Mark. Not put off by the fact that he lives in industrial wasteland Stoke, with the highest unemployment in the West Midlands, and let down by the official jobs agencies, he gripped the problem directly for himself. Brilliant.

And we're tempted to add Mark's new employer to our list too. It is a new and rapidly growing company called the The Smart Timber Frame Company. Under founder Colin Oakley (splendidly appropriate name) it has developed an innovative and award-winning system of constructing timber frame houses. And from a standing start, in less than 3 years it has expanded to provide 300 desperately needed jobs in Stoke. Stoke FFS - the place the Luftwaffe never bombed because it looked like they'd already done so, and whose bungling benighted council has been a constant target for BOM (eg see this blog).

So why aren't we adding Colin? Only because we suspect he's depended on public funding to get his company going. And while that doesn't make him any less of an entrepreneurial champion, it does mean he can't be on BOM's value-for-taxpayers heroes list.

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