Archive for October 1st, 2009

October 1st, 2009

Part the third…

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

… of the story of the failure of the UK police to meet the needs of society.

So, where were we, oh yeah, they took away all the bobbies on the beat, increased the force by many thousands & put all the extra plus lots that were already there off the street & into little units.

They realised that  taking officers off front line policing did nothing to the amount of calls the public were making which increase year on year. So there’s one hell of a big mismatch in the demand for service & the police’s ability to meet that demand. Same number or more calls, less officers, mathematics again, it just won’t work.

The genius plan to get rid of this is to reduce the amount of calls we get. How can we stop the public ringing us & asking for a police officer on their doorstep? Well we could prevent crime which would lower the need for people to call us, but this is a very long & complicated process, no overnight fixes here.

But there is one overnight fix, tell the public we’re not interested & they should either go elsewhere or put up with it. There’s the genius. So at a stroke we told the public that we are, for instance, not going to attend alarms which are not connected to a central station. After all, over 99% of house & car alarms are false, why bother going when there is less than 1% chance that it will be genuine & a fraction of that percent that we will catch someone & get a detection.

Road traffic accidents – or should that be ‘collisions in PC-speak?’ – the vast majority of accidents we attend don’t end up with a prosecution; it’s awfully difficult to persuade the CPS to prosecute cases where we have evidence let alone when it’s one driver’s word against the other. So we’re attending all these accidents, making reports, submitting them to CPS or non-actioning them because there are never any independent witnesses (yeah, right) & basically just doing all the work of the insurance companies for a nominal fee charged to the insurance companies for our report. So unless the road is blocked or there is an injury, we decline to attend, ring your insurance company, sir.

Crime, what about crime, how can we reduce the burden on the front line? Simple, don’t attend anything if the victim doesn’t know who did it. There’s no chance of a detection. We have a duty to record crime, but who said anything about a duty to investigate it? Get the mugs to ring in, we’ll give them a crime number. No need to send officers to thefts of hanging baskets or grafitti (unless it’s racist, of course). Get your car stolen or your shed broken into, get on the phone, we don’t deal with minor crime anymore. Millions of front line man-hours a year saved, simples.

Noisy parties? Ring the environmental health department, frees up thousands of calls up & down the land every weekend. It doesn’t matter that the environmental health department are tucked up in their beds, it’s noise sir, not our problem, not our remit (that phrase again).

Suddenly the mathematics are coming back in our favour, we have less front line officers, more calls for front line attendences but an order of magnitude less of jobs we’ll respond to. We still can’t attend everything on the same day, but that’s because we’ve not yet found a way to get out of attending to jobs  which are being recorded as ‘get a life’ crimes. (jobs where people should be just told to grow up, rather than having a crime recorded – & a detection, mind).

Just about the biggest & most frequent complaint people have about the police is that we are not bothered. We didn’t attend, we’re not interested, we gave them a crime number & that was it. I told the police & they did fuck-all. We don’t even tell them face to face that we’re doing fuck-all, we do it from some call-centre. It’s no bloody wonder the public have such little faith in us these days.

Is it really so much to ask for someone to expect to see a police officer within an hiour or two of ringing, or even on the same day. How much are missing as a society because people don’t talk to use because they think we don’t care? Hell, I don’t bother reporting things to the local police not because I think they don’t care, because I KNOW they don’t care. (I mean the organisation rather than individual officers, of course) And I’ve been a police officer for thirty years, if that’s how I feel, how does Mrs Miggins who won’t take her dog out at night because she’s scared of the chavs on the corner?

So, there we have it, over 3 days, the 200weeks guide to the complete history of why the police service has gone to hell in a hand-basket & why Mrs Pilkington & hundreds of thousands of other Mrs Pilkington’s who will never make the news but will just put up with it & moan to their neighbours & friends, won’t get the service the need, want or deserve.