The Daily Fail reported this week about the case of a woman who alleges she was assaulted during a dispute with neighbours. It says that police were too busy to bother with the incident and came 16 hours later. Of course it uses the usual emotive language by describing the woman as a grandmother and mentioning that she had a child with her during the incident.
Not that the age has anything to do with it but it’s interesting that they’ve not mentioned the age. I imagine that ‘grandmother’ garners more reader hatred against the police than ’40-year-old woman’, but that’s by-the-by.
So they called 999 and officers didn’t arrived. They called 999 10 minutes later and still no officer came. By this time the incident was over, the victim was back home and presumably so was the ‘offender’. Police didn’t come that evening but arrived around 8.30 the next morning.
This is not unusual, in fact, it’s standard practice. Regular readers will know of the times we in the control room have to ring people up, some of whom have had actual injuries, to say we don’t have anyone available. I do it every night on a Ã‚Â late shift and I do it several days running to the same people.
Twenty five years ago we used to attend every single allegation of a crime, we attended every traffic accident whether people were injured or not, we attended every alarm whether it went to a central station or was just ringing on the side of a house. We went to noisy parties, stray dogs, parking problems. We attended a far broader range of incidents then than we ever do now.
Ten years ago that grandmother could have walked down the road into a police station and spoken to a police officer if we couldn’t have gotten to her straight away (though we probably would have done).
We did this because there were more officers on the streets than there are now. It’s a simple fact that the more officers you have actually dealing with jobs on the street, the more jobs you can get to and the faster the response. Twenty five years ago we rarely had to wait 24 or more hours to see someone, we considered it a bit of a failure if we had to hand any jobs on to the next shift, now it is common place to hand it on to the next shift who hand it on to the next shift who hand it back to our shift the next day who hand it on to the next shift, etc, etc et-bloody-cetera.
But this is progress.