October 14th, 2008

Excellent Service

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

The Telegraph reports today that Norfolk Police are refusing to investigate one in four crimes. Unless there is a realistic prospect of catching someone, they will now decline to attend reports. The reports says that car crime, vandalism & thefts from outhouses will go largely uninvestigated.

I’m surprised this is news, I thought it was standard practice, to be honest. We stopped attending all crimes years ago. Most crime investigation goes along the lines of;

  • crime is reported
  • police officer turns up at some stage
  • police officer asks if victim knows who did it, victim usually says no
  • police officer asks neighbours if they know who did it, they normally say no.
  • police officer notes that the incident wasn’t recorded on CCTV anywhere
  • police officer makes report of crime & says he doesn’t know who did it either
  • nothing else happens

We now don’t attend most crimes. There are some we always attend, even if it is several days later (as it often is). We attend all burglaries & assaults. We won’t attend thefts where there isn’t a named offender; you could lose some seriously expensive stuff – many, many thousands of pounds worth & we ain’t interested (but if you tell an ethnic minority to go back home, we’ll be round like a shot.)

We don’t attend damage or graffiti (unless it’s racist), we don’t attend most credit card fraud (we get the banks to report it, they rarely do, the stats must look really good these days).

We don’t do all this despite the fact that we have more police officers than we’ve had in history & in theory could attend every report of a crime within 15 minutes, guaranteed, if only all those officers were working on the front line.

In all the thousands & thousands of times I’ve done house to house enquiries after the fact, I can’t think of a single occasion where someone said, “Oh yeah, I saw it all, Jimmy Shit from down the road did it”.

Personally, even though most crime investigation is really a waste of time, I think it’s shocking that we don’t attend most crimes. If there is one thing we could do to boost the image of the police & make people feel a little better about their loss, it would be to actually turn up.

I think the reason we don’t attend is to make the crime figures better, after all, how many people must there be who have had a crime & said ‘well I don’t bother reporting it because the police never do anything, there’s no point’? There must be millions. (Actually, I have no idea, but it supports my argument better if we accept there are loads of unreported crimes)

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5 comments

  1. Vimes says:

    Well of course we don’t report it.
    If we report something’s knicked from the car we lose our no-claims, so that’s a no brainer. If we report something’s knicked from the house you’ll not bother turning up so all we need from you is a crime number. Apart from that, what else use are you?

    I know that sounds like a dig at the polis, it’s not. I’ve bought Copperfield’s, Ellie’s and Gadget’s books. I subscribe to their arguments 100% but that doesn’t change my thought processes at the end of a shitty day when the chips are down and the stuff’s still missing.

    Trust me, when you think there’s millions, you’re probably underestimating. The majority of us live in relatively crime free areas but that doesn’t mean that we think that you chaps are any bloody use for anything except reporting the incident long after the fact.

    October 15th, 2008 at 01:44

  2. XTP says:

    Disappointing, isn’t it? I too feel that we should turn up – you never know what you’ll find that may lead to a body.

    On numbers – we (my team) reckon that there are about, and certainly no more than, 2,500 response coppers in the Met. That’s out of 30,000+ “constables”. 7-odd%. That can’t be right, can it?

    P.S. Liked your “PC Andrews” post. We all know or have known someone like that!

    October 15th, 2008 at 08:15

  3. PCSO Bloggs says:

    Very true. It’s a sad fact that is slowly loosing us public support. I bumped in to a guy the other week who had told me he got a tooth knocked out when he was robbed, but didn’t report it as it wasn’t worth it. He said there were no people around and no CCTV up that residential road, so no point calling the fuzz. Sad to think that even serious crime is now not being reported sometimes.

    October 15th, 2008 at 08:50

  4. Tony F says:

    I am afraid that it is true. I fortunately, have had only to dial 999 once. The police turned up in minutes, and were brilliant. However, this was for what could have turned out to be a very sticky situation. As it was, top performance. I suspect though, it did not tick any target boxes, but it did restore faith in a big way.

    And that’s it, Faith. The meeja cheerfully report the bad performances, the non appearances, accidents, and whatever. This alone is enough to make the none-thinkers and mouth breathers actually believe that you will not turn up for minor stuff (Except the chav’s text threats to each other). For those of us in the real world, we know there probably isn’t a bobby available to turn out for a theft, especially if it’s raining, but we do know if a child goes missing everyone turns out, no matter what. And excellent it is too. However, we also know, that the normally desk bound still have to then go back to catch up on the drivel that has piled up whilst they were out, and are now even less likely to come out to a minor theft.

    Our leaders have robbed us of faith in our Police, they try to do it with our armed forces too. They swamp you with pointless targets for things that cannot be meaningfully quantized, then are surprised when these targets are not met. I appreciate that some data collection is required, to stop officers from ‘swinging the lead’, I think as far as the public are concerned though the only targets that need to be met are: Is there crime? Yes/No. If yes, put police on the beats and catch scrotes. If no, carry on policing!

    October 15th, 2008 at 17:17

  5. Blueknight says:

    Up until the mid 1980′s not only did we attend and investigate every crime, we used to take an aggrieved statement as well.
    It all seems a long time ago.

    October 15th, 2008 at 23:41

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