Friday, 19 July 2013

Why we aren’t surprised by this headline: “Police 'too busy' to walk the streets and prevent crime”

From today’s Daily Telegraph (here):
Chief Superintendent Irene Curtis, the president of the Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales, warned on Thursday that budget cuts could sound the death knell for the much-loved traditional community police officer.
She said: “I have a genuine fear, and it is supported by this report, that as we move towards the end of the current spending review period and look forward to the next one, neighbourhood policing will become the victim of significant cuts and in some areas will be lost altogether.
 “Whilst I’m sure that no chief constable will want this to happen, I believe it is inevitable with the financial challenges they face. We cannot let the service evolve to one where all the public see are officers racing from one emergency call to the next. Policing in this country means much more than that and chief constables need to make some difficult decisions to prevent this from happening.”
Well, Irene, I have news for you – we haven’t seen a much-loved traditional community police officer in these parts for bleeding ages. I probably see a cop on the beat about twice a year down on the High Road, and that’s it. They’re always to be found at “community events”, of course, manning their little stalls. And I often have drive out of the way as they race down the road in their patrol cars, sirens wailing. And I often see them lurking by the side of the motorway, speed-gun at the ready to stop dangerous criminals intent on going over 70 miles an hour. But as for patrolling the street where I live, there’s more chance of me bumping into Rupert Murdoch (a friend of ours once actually did bump into Rupert Murdoch in a local newsagent, checking up on how new distribution arrangements for The Sun were working out).

Of course, chief constables could simply take the ‘difficult decision’ to regularly patrol their local police stations in order to tase any officer found lolling at their desk filling out stupid, pointless forms rather than walking the beat.

There are many reasons why we never see police out on foot patrol. They’re on the sick; or attending three-week racial awareness courses; or checking Facebook to make sure nobody’s committing hate crimes; or busy tracking down all the dangerous criminals the criminal justice system has released from prison two weeks into their sentence; or collecting bungs from newspaper reporters; or busting a gut assuring members of the Islamic community that they can go on calling for British soldiers to be beheaded without any fear of arrest. But perhaps the real reason a bobby on the beat is now as rare as hen’s teeth is that senior officers such as Irene Curtis imagine that that they're still out there in large numbers, having a kindly word with shopkeepers, giving young tearaways a cuff round the ear, and helping little old ladies cross the road.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure we've all seen headlines like this before - you know the sort:

Nurses ‘too busy’ to look after patients 

Council workers ‘too busy’ to deal with rate-payers

Immigration staff ‘too busy’ to check terrorists entering the UK

Social workers ‘too busy’ to protect children from their feckless slapper mothers and their psychopathic criminal boyfriends

Obviously, you rarely find headlines like these about private sector businesses. Peter Moore, on the blogsite, A Tangled Web, explains why (here):’s only government that can possibly give rise to headlines such as these, where income is guaranteed, all departments exist only to serve the bureaucracy and apparatchiks do anything except the simple job tax-victims are looted for. I’ll concede that I’m wrong when Tesco announces it’s too busy to sell me food.

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