Here’s a few interesting facts for you…..
On the 6th July 2005, the International Olympic Committee announced that London had been successful in winning the 2012 Olympics; beating the alternative final bidder Paris by 54 votes to 50.
Prime Minister at the time Tony Blair was happy … calling the announcement ‘a monumentous day’
Sebastian Coe (Lord Coe) who was in charge of the UK bid said “This is just the most fantastic opportunity to do everything we ever dreamed of in British sport”.
Even my boss the Queen got in on the act, sending a message to Lord Coe “I send my warmest congratulations to you and every member of the London 2012 team for winning the bid for the UK. It’s a really outstanding achievement to beat such a highly competitive field.”
It’s now January 2012. The main Olympic Games start on the 27th July, followed by the Paralympic Games starting on the 29th August. So we are about 6 months from D-Day, having known these specific dates for just under 7 years.
We all know that the world has changed greatly since then – that happened in London the very day after the announcement – but it would be fair to think that in the intermediate ‘almost 7 years’, those put in charge of the planning would have a fair idea of where we are at. Unless of course, you work in the planning department at Bigtown police.
Across the whole of the United Kingdom, there is a ban on police officers (and many other essential services staff) taking annual leave between certain dates. It was expected, and to a degree is understandable – things like the Olympics don’t happen every year (thank God) and we have had many years to plan around this one-off occasion. Except we haven’t.
Here in Bigtown, we only got an inkling of when our leave ban was going to be about a month ago – six and a half years after we knew we had to sort things out.
Most emergency workers have written the summer of 2012 off completely. Most have tried to arrange family holidays at the beginning or end of the year. And there begins the next battle. If you have kids, and want to take them out of school during term time, you had better sell your kidneys now to bribe the headteacher. It matters not if your child has a 100% attendance record, is top of his/her class, and spends most of their day explaining why the teacher has got it wrong and waiting for the rest of the students to catch up – apparently the whole education system will fall apart in an implosion of black hole proportions should the Chaos child miss three days after half term (the Monday and Tuesday of the week are of course PD days so that won’t affect their education at all …. one bit … in the slightest).
Those of us foolish enough to think the Department for Education would have sent a memo out to the Education Authorities instructing them to allow Emergency workers to take kids on holiday in term time as a ‘special circumstance’ were in for a shock. The most they would do is say they would ‘support’ the idea but it was still up to the schools themsleves.
Once (If) you’ve been lucky enough to climb that mountain you then hit the next, and even bigger hurdle. UK holiday companies aren’t daft are they ??? They seem to be the only ones capable of planning ahead in this game. No longer is it just the half term and summer holiday weeks that they’ve grossly inflated their prices – for 2012 they’ve gone more or less the full hog from Easter to October. Maybe Thomas Cook should have organised the Olympics then ???
There’s one other time of year that police planners are notoriously known for being unable to plan for, and in the interests of providing a better service to the public and also staff relations, I’d like to point out that I’ve checked my Police Federation diary and it seems that this year, Christmas Day will in fact be on the 25th December …… just so you can plan for it.