September 29th, 2009

Not important enough

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

The dreadful case of Fiona Pilkington whose life was blighted by anti social youths on her estate to such an extent that she took her own child’s life & committed suicide by setting fire to her car as they sat in it, will have some far-reaching repurcussions. The surprise is that, in the two years since this tragic event happened, there has been just about zero change in the way police deal with anti-social behaviour.

I spend every late shift in every town I control not sending police officers to anti social youths. This is despite the fact that I know what an effect it can have on people’s lives let alone their peace. I’m almost ashamed to say but I have anti social behaviour in my street & I never report it to the police, the reason purely & simply is, I know there is little chance of the police arriving before the youths have moved on. If it’s gotten too bad I have gone out there myself & given some ‘advice’, though I don’t like doing this in my own street. (I tend to climb over my back fence & appear from somewhere not near my house so they don’t know where I live).

The apalling crux of the matter is one of mathematics. We have X-amount of officers & we get Y-amount of jobs which take Z-amount of time. When Y x Z > X we cannot possibly get to all the jobs on time, if at all. We either have to make people wait, in some cases days, or we just don’t go.

The problem with antisocial behaviour is that it doesn’t fit in with any targets & we don’t get to tick any boxes. When Jay sends a text message to his ex-girlfriend Leah saying she’s a slag, that’s threats to violence or damage, malicious communications or a domestic, all of which are recordable & may result in a detected crime. When Mrs Miggins is fed up to the back teeth with a bunch of teenage yobs who spend every night shouting & swearing outside her bedroom & pissing up against her fence, that’s just a bit of ASB. Guess which one gets an officer sent to it whether they want one or not & which one gets closed off 2 hours after the youths have gone elsewhere with a ‘no officer available’ closing.

Mrs Pilkington did not have the protection afforded to certain groups within society. Had she been black or Asian, Jewish or gay, she would have had an officer every single occasion she phoned. There are teams within each police force whose sole job it is to look at ‘hate’ crimes against minority groups. I well remember a case of some kids throwing snowballs at a Jewish shop, on a day when the kids were throwing snowballs at everyone & anyone & we didn’t have the resources to deal with all the accidents & crime let alone kids chucking snowballs. Most of the snowball jobs just got closed off because there was absolutely no chance of us sending anyone; we had more important & immediate things to do. The Jewish shop had to remain open because the racism word had been mentioned. Within an hour the Inspector in charge of the diversity unit was on the phone to the control room inspector demanding to know why this racist incident hadn’t been assigned within the 1 hour requirement of force policy.

Nobody phoned up from any police unit who sit on their arses looking at logs in some office somewhere at HQ on behalf of all the other people being taunted by kids with snow. The fact that Mrs Pilkington had a disabled daughter, much of which taunting was aimed at, doesn’t seem to have cut any ice with the local constabulary.

I’ve blogged before about the unfairness of diversity policy & have argued that everyone should be treated on their own merits only. It completely baffles me that, for instance, a 6’6 Afro-Caribbean nightclub bouncer with years in the nighttime entertainment trade, who gets called a rude name is entitled to a better service than a vulnerable teenage girl who may be, unknowingly to us, considering suicide because of some  bullying. How can a rule written on a policy somewhere at police HQ possibly differentiate between the effect on these two people & class one as somehow more deserving of a higher response than the other. Where is the leeway to attend based on the individual potential effect on the victim?

Just occasionally, someone will come up with a local operation to target antisocial behaviour. Extra resources will be called in & they will be tasked for ASB jobs alone, unavailable for RTCs, assaults or domestics. This is a clear acceptance of the importance of tackling such behaviour, but if it is important, why isn’t important all the time & on every estate.

Antisocial behaviour is the key to so many more problems in society. Someone who grows up not having consequences for their behaviour will learn that they are entitled to do what they want, when they want, to whom they want. They will grow up with a me, me, me attitude & will spend the rest of their lives demanding everything they can get.  A child who grows up to respect other peoples needs & rights will end up as net givers to society.

When I was on the street I actually enjoyed helping to make other people’s lives a little better. One of the reasons I wanted to join the police was to help people who couldn’t help themselves. I held that belief until the day I retired. I still believe it. I am unable to do it because I do not have the resources nor the will from those who run the show to sort the matter out.

After the story of Mrs Pilkington, I will be wondering if the next job I fail to send an officer to will end up with someone murdering their child & topping themselves. That’s simply not fair & I don’t have the power to address it properly.

Time will tell whether the fallout from Mrs Pilkington will make any difference.

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16 comments

  1. R/T says:

    Great post!

    September 29th, 2009 at 23:16

  2. the_leander says:

    I imagine that a lot of these diversity type initiatives also help create a certain amount of the ill feeling toward minorities?

    It would help explain the recent rise of the far right.

    As always, great post. I note that Inspector Gadget made a similar point (albeit less delicately) and the response was sadly predictable. The “ZOMG UR RACIST!!!!1111oneoneoneone” brigade were out in force.

    September 30th, 2009 at 00:47

  3. boy on a bike says:

    Responsible citizens should be able to go outside with an appropriate implement and state, “Get off my lawn”.

    Ventilation to follow if advice not heeded.

    September 30th, 2009 at 01:29

  4. bunk says:

    There was something I read last year (I think) about some senior copper moving house because of anti social behaviour.

    On arrse they’ve recently started chav baiting on facebook, looking at some of the chav fb pages is quite depressing. We’ve got a real, and growing, problem with some young people (not just the kids) in this country. They’ve got atrocious writing for a start.

    Changes in police policy are clearly needed, but we need a long term solution.

    September 30th, 2009 at 01:59

  5. Tom Gane says:

    Sorry to say this on your blog 200, but I am really offended.

    I am jewish, and I have commented on your blog and elsewhere regarding the ‘minorities.’ It is absolute rubbish that we need to be treated any differently from other people. I resent the fact that my family has over many generations worked hard to intergrate within British society. Indeed, we have a history of every generation serving in the Forces, or the police service.

    I do not want some diversity officer sending a front line copper with a kippah (skullcap), and clutching a siddur (prayer book) to me when I make a complaint. What I would like is a local officer, who is determined to take back the ‘turf’ willingly lost by this government.

    If I might suggest 200, please tell the inspector to not waste his time in the Ivory tower, but to get in a motor, and do something useful like turn in for a call.

    Disgruntled Yid.

    September 30th, 2009 at 10:14

  6. Bill says:

    And now we have Broon promising to find even more coppers

    From the Telegraph today:

    But his new initiative to tackle anti-social behaviour with a pledge to send police action squads into the country’s most troubled estates was seen as a belated attempt to adopt Mr Blair’s Respect agenda.

    In his hour-long speech, apparently designed to appeal to the party’s core support rather than floating voters, Mr Brown pledged not to “give in” and to “fight to win”.

    September 30th, 2009 at 10:20

  7. rafanon says:

    Great post 200!

    Tom, 200 was not saying you NEED to be treated differently. He’s not even saying that you WANT to be treated differently. He is simply pointing out that, due to equality and diversity policies within the police, you HAVE to be treated differently (is that positive discrimination?).

    You are just a man, I am just a man and whether man, women or child those that I would reluctantly refer to as “normal” make no distinction on the religion or colour therein. It is not normal to see everyone as equal anymore, alas these days it is “normal” to do just the opposite.

    September 30th, 2009 at 13:12

  8. stressedoutcop says:

    Spinning now that the poor lady did have an “ism” and, as she was disabled should have been treated (suicidal and daughter mentally disordered) as a hate crime.

    More diversity training coming our way soon me thinks

    GREAT POST . very true

    SOC

    September 30th, 2009 at 14:24

  9. 200 says:

    Tom,

    I trust we are singing from the same hymnsheet then?

    September 30th, 2009 at 17:54

  10. Tony F says:

    200, well written again.

    There is a whole cultural problem arising in this country. Over the last few years the standards of basic manners and morals have fallen. I appreciate that there is no one cause, but I think what is not helping is the total lack of sanctions for wrong doing. I accept that as a society there should be give and take. However, it does appear that those that put the least in seem to get the most out.
    The fact that many scrotes who have a HUGE string of offences against them are perceived to ‘get away with it’ when derisory sentences are given. This sends out a clear message to everyone that crime does pay, unless you are honest and work for a living. Then you need to be an MP to make it pay.
    The fact that often even after quite serious offences the police cannot even turn up within a sensible time, if ever. Issuing a crime number does not count as a response. A friendly Bobby turning up does. I know there are not enough to go around, But it would be good if some of the ‘shiny arsed’ ones got out into the fresh air.

    As for Mr Nose in Trough Brown and his desperate clutching at straws pre election ‘pledge’ (lies) to do something about crime etc…..Same old same old. It’s him and his spine less but unfortunately not spin less predecessor that has fucked it all so much I suspect this genie will never go back into it’s bottle.

    September 30th, 2009 at 18:05

  11. Steve (Former DC with West Mids) says:

    200.

    Well said. I’ve read through loads of articles and blog posts on the subject this week, and I have to say your post is the most balanced and informed perspective I’ve seen.

    Not so many years ago low-lives looking for trouble would have been hauled before courts or had the living daylights scared out of them by coppers determined to keep their beat problem-free. Now yobs tear up Asbos and mock authority. They consider the law a joke and who can blame them? While vile thugs circled Fiona’s family like wolves baying for blood her local force stand accused of doing nothing.

    If there was any individual police negligence, when lives were shown to be in danger and no action was taken, then those responsble should be identified and the appropriate action taken to prevent further similar occurrences involving vulnerable members of society.

    The root cause of the problem though is symptomatic of policing in the UK in 2009. In exploring why the police might have failed in their duty it is essential to look beyond the response team members who attended or dealt with calls.

    The current state of the police is not the fault of good officers who want to do a proper job but are hamstrung by the burdens of paperwork and successive Government legislation, the latest being the excessive 3000+ new offences brought in during the last twelve years by this Government.

    Due to politically motivated control, bureaucracy and cost, the entire criminal justice system is corrupted from the top downwards starting with the treasury who hold the purse strings, and the Home Office who are allegedly in charge of policing.

    Literally thousands of articles and posts echoing these sentiments have proliferated online forums during recent years. They can’t all be wrong. There is a lot that is radically amiss with police priorities and modus operandi but, much more pertinently, they and the politicians are fully aware of it. There are plenty policemen and women imbued with moral integrity and sound motives. There are many police blogs like this where officers attempt to convey this very message to the public they serve.

    Whichever Government is in charge, there needs to be an urgent and comprehensive review of policing in the UK and fast.

    The sad case of Fiona Pilkington and her family are symptoms of a society whose moral compass is badly broken. It can be fixed but the repair work required needs to be more than the cosmetic surface level damage. A section of the community has spawned the spoiled society, where some sectors of the younger generation are badly in need of a firm hand with a return to back to basics discipline and control.

    If the Government (old or new) are to start the task of fixing our society, then surely there is no better place to start than here. By instilling some firm handed forgotten disciplines within the “spoiled sector” of our youth, there will at least be a glimmer of hope that the UK may once again be a pleasant, less threatening place to live.

    September 30th, 2009 at 19:52

  12. Cogidubnus says:

    Great posting…that is probably the most balanced, sensible and enlightening comment I’ve seen arising out of this whole sad affair.

    September 30th, 2009 at 19:57

  13. Civ_In_The_City says:

    Agree this is a very good post 200. Most importantly it reflects the view, from the front line, from real ‘been there, seen it, done it’, personal experience.

    Which automatically disqualifies you from being listened to in our broken system.

    I agree with the description of the hysterical diversity agenda. Some of us truly are more equal than others as Orwell warned would happen.

    Watch out for a new buzz-phrase I spotted: ‘anti-social abuse’, for years it was just anti-social ‘behaviour’ and got mostly ignored (sorry, ‘differently-prioritised’, mustn`t forget there may be Labour ministers reading).

    Now there are embarrassing headlines some clever sod starts to call it ‘abuse’ instead of ‘behaviour’. This ensures that any reference made to ‘anti-social behaviour’ by senior police officers can immediately be thrown back at them.

    The public just doesn`t realise how much the work of the police is dictated by, interfered with, prioritised by, manipulated by, controlled by NuLabour. When it suits them they want to take credit, when things go wrong it`s all the fault of Chief Constables and Police Authorities.

    But it`s really the targets culture that needs to change (among other things), the wider societal culture will gradually follow.

    September 30th, 2009 at 19:59

  14. Tom Gane says:

    200

    Absolutely. I think we are on the same page, and I meant no offence to you, or your readership.

    The obssession with box ticking and diversity is harming the quality of service delivered by the police, and I resent it. The service are not cuddly teddy bears, but the guardians of law and order. Simple.

    I would love to see the police unfettered by ridiculous protocols, and allowed to get back to doing the job they seem to want to do, and put an end to feral youth culture.

    Reptentent yid

    September 30th, 2009 at 20:38

  15. Paul says:

    “But his new initiative to tackle anti-social behaviour with a pledge to send police action squads into the country’s most troubled estates was seen as a belated attempt to adopt Mr Blair’s Respect agenda.”

    Where is the money for these ‘squads’ coming from ? Or are they coming from the already ludicrously stretched thin blue line ?

    September 30th, 2009 at 23:47

  16. JuliaM says:

    “Mrs Pilkington did not have the protection afforded to certain groups within society. Had she been black or Asian, Jewish or gay, she would have had an officer every single occasion she phoned.”

    But even if she did, it might not have had the slightest effect whatsoever.

    After all, these chaps only found solace when they fled the area.

    October 2nd, 2009 at 21:00

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