The new buzzword on front line policing is ‘vulnerability’. Is the victim or caller ‘vulnerable’?
The¬†police¬†suffered a massive slating over criticisms that they failed to protect someone who killed herself and her daughter because they suffered years of anti social behaviour and abuse. The case has been talked of ever since as a classic example of police failure.
The people that make the decisions have decided that this cannot be allowed to happen again. As usual, the way to resolve the issue and prevent the problem ever occurring again is to go totally the other way. Check box policing which suggests that you can assess and therefore minimise the risk of people killing their children and themselves by asking a few simple questions and ticking some boxes. If the sum of all the ticked boxes amounts to a predetermined level, you have to do something. The ‘what you actually do’ is another matter but as long as you ‘do something’.
So we now have to ask everyone if they are vulnerable. What does that mean? Who the bloody hell knows? It’s the same as asking someone if they think an incident is racist. It doesn’t matter whether it was or wasn’t, if they say ‘yes’, then it’s recorded as racist. So if they say they are vulnerable that’s a tick in the box.
There only actually needs to be one tick before they are entitled to see a police officer. They might be vulnerable because they are pregnant, have special needs, are old, are young, are repeat victims, have a headache, who knows, who cares?
As an example, we don’t go to noisy parties. Now I don’t actually agree with many of the policy decisions that have crept in over the last 20 years whereby we refuse to attend, for example, ¬†a theft of twenty grand’s worth of tools thus depriving you of your ability to earn a living, and crime it over the phone, but rigidly attend, on a high response, someone who was called a wanker on Facebook. Or don’t attend a burglar alarm if you’re not rich enough to afford coverage by a central station, but if you’re going to have a policy, you might as well stick to it.
So we don’t attend noisy parties; they are envornmental health issues and thus under the remit of the local council 99% of which can’t afford to do anything about it after 5pm Monday to Friday.
Now, all you need to say is that you are a repeat victim of noisy parties (which are anti-social, after all) and you will be classed as vulnerable and thus police will attend. Because we don’t want you driving off into the night and slaughtering your family leaving a note that it was the police’s fault. You don’t even need to be a repeat victim, you can just say you feel vulnerable and that’s enough. We don’t need to find out why you are vulnerable; if you say you are, you are, simples.
Of course, the people who bring in these new policies, have no grasp on how front line policing works. If you have a percentage of police calls which result in no response, suddenly resulting in a police response, you have to have someone to respond.
We now know there are 5,000 less front line police officers with thousands more jobs going, we know that the police are not recruiting, so who is going to do the extra work? If you’re a police policy maker, you don’t have to give a fuck how your policy gets implemented, you just demand that it does and leave the problem to someone else. There are no extra police officers provided, the thin blue lines just gets thinner.
So we now have to attend everything¬†which¬†has a vulnerability factor. Policing by checkboxes, while the real vulnerable victims will get swallowed up and lost in amongst the millions of calls which fit a notional criteria but where there is no risk of people topping themselves.