Satisfying all of your stakeholders, all of the time is a tricky situation, demonstrated in a report by the Metropolitan Police Federation into the summer riots published this week.
The policeman’s representative group polled 8,500 officers about their views of the riots, including what they thought of the equipment they had been given to deal with the violence. Predictably, there were complaints about uncomfortable uniforms, boots that fell apart, and gloves that were difficult to put on when wet. But by far the most passionate criticism related to the food on offer.
“Sandwich fillings are poor, hence we now immediately throw the sandwiches in the bin. We regularly ask if we can choose our own sandwich selection but are told ‘no, we can't choose our own because we would just take the best ones’. It's simple: stop giving us the rubbish,” opined one disgruntled copper.
The report said catering arrangements in such situations should be “urgently reviewed”, looking at the “quantity, quality and nutritional value of food”.
It may be easy to scoff at such grievances, but ensuring the right sustenance is at the end of the long arm of the law is a serious issue for forces.
In fact, it is reported this morning
that Lothian and Borders Police has put out a 10,000-word, 45-page invitation to tender for a £70,000 sandwich contract, detailing the specific size of baguettes, the source of bottled water, and a spreadsheet of 17 different fillings.
Cue the rather predictable criticism from suppliers and business groups of the onerous burden of such a tender. But if the peace is to be protected, ensuring the police have the proper grub appears to be a priority.