Elizabeth Truss – there’s an name to conjure with – is deputy director of Reform, a think-tank. They’ve been looking at policing recently and have done lots of thinking in their tank, wherever that is. According to their website Reform is “An independent, non-party think tank whose mission is to set out a better way to deliver public services and economic prosperity“.
They’ve come to the conclusion that the country doesn’t have enough police forces. Apparently 43 is too many by half. They want us to split up into at least 95 forces. Their rationale is that smaller police forces deal better with local crime & problems, anbd we’re not doing well enough currently.
Those with an interest in history will know that prior to the 1960s we had loads & loads of police forces. Many towns had their own constabulary, these were all done away with in the mid 60s and by 1974 we had all amalgamated down to 43 county/regional forces.
A few years ago the government wanted to go another step and amalgamate us all down to 17 forces. Unsurprisingly, Reform think this is bad, most of us thought it was bad too. The government dropped the plans once they’d spent millions investigating it and realising it was a bloody stupid idea.
I can’t help seeing the similarity between what Reform are suggesting & law enforcement in the United States. Major national crime-fighting organisations to battle terrorism & major crime, not dissimilar to the Secret Service, FBI, DEA etc. Local police services to serve local populations, there are over 30,000 departments in America. The only thing missing from Reform’s recommendations (I’ve only read the synopsis on a couple of news websites, not the actual report) is a national or regional traffic department, such as, for instance, the Highway Patrol (or would that be the Highways Agency Traffic Officers?)
This recommendation would be a boon to people who collect police badges, double the number to collect at a single stroke.
I’d add a couple of things to Reform’s recommendations; all citizens to swear allegiance to the Union Jack, to come off the diets & talk very loudly in restaurants. Our transformation to the 51st state would be almost complete.