Since I've got interested in this blogging thing, I've been reading a lot of work blogs by British public sector employees, mostly police and medical ones. The police and the NHS feature on the news often enough, and in fictional TV dramas, but you don't often get to hear individual's stories about what their day-to-day jobs entail. TV reality shows pretend to do this, but they've been through an editing process before screening.
I've been surprised by the number of police blogs that have to stop, presumably under orders from their senior ranking officers once the blog is 'discovered'.
The Police Locker Room blog said this week:
"Very sad to say the Blogger's Graveyard is expanding. Sensible Policing has simply just disappeared off the face of the earth (never a good sign) and now even the PCSO blog has joined the ranks of those found out and has deleted every post he's ever written."
He/she posts a few days earlier about a blog by 'Semper Fi', whose only remaining post is a sad goodbye... Another, The World Weary Detective , had to cease blogging in March and ends his last post 'This is The End' with a grim quote from George Orwell.
I read both police and medical blogs because as a long-time tax payer, I am a potential user of these public services, so it's interesting to know more about the trials and tribulations of the jobs behind the uniforms and the public image presented in the media. I don't assume each blog is representative of the opinions held by the whole service, just a single voice. Might be embroidered a bit for the readers, might be based on fact. I don't know. I don't necessarily always agree with what I read, but that's fine, it's their opinion. That's what blogs are supposed to allow.
It just gives a different perspective on what they do, not filtered through a journalist or TV crew. It doesn't make me mistrust them or lose confidence in the services they provide (or should it?). It has only reinforced my understanding that all public sector employees are governed by political decisions frequently out of their control, which can impact negatively in practice on the actual provision of public services. Particularly when combined with stupid misuses of emergency services by members of the public, as is often recounted in ambulance-related blogs, also Random Acts of Reality.
I don't quite understand why police blogs seem to be stamped out more rigorously than far more overtly critical medical blogs, like the NHS Blog Doctor (which I really like for many reasons, including the quirky images).
Are dissenting voices (or even just unofficial voices from the rank and file) seen as potentially more dangerous to public opinion when coming from professional upholders of law and order, rather than those dealing with life or death medical cases?