We must do more for our armed forces!

I was pleased to read the recent story about the party and the tickets for troops initiative, but surely even more could be done.

Surely there could be some kind of sytem whereeby serving personnel from our armed forces can qualify for special offers, or deals at high street retailers. If organisations can give special deals based solely on age, or if you a re a student for example, then why not a scheme to reward our armed forces personnel.

OK it’s only a little thing, and I’m sure they would much rather have better equipment when they are in a theatre of conflict, but our retailers could do something to show their support for our troops.

So who is going to give the British Retail Consortium a call?

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What a result!

Well what a result the Conservatives had in Norwich North. I have to say even I was surprised at the winning margin. Given the campaign it sounds thoroughly deserved. I suspect Chloe Smith won’t have long to get up and running before she has it all to do again in a General Election.

Unless of course Lembit is right, and then it’s not just Gordon Brown is doomed!

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The reality of policing in this country

I have written numerous times about my experience of the police following being the victim of crime (albeit against property) Firstly this isn’t a criticism of individuals who day in day out do their best to protect us, but the system that as far as I can see, protects the criminals more than the victims of crime. God forbid I ever experience a crime against my person.

The background is that my Sat Nav was stolen from teh glove compartment of my car parked on my drive about 3 feet from my front door. Stuff was also taken out of the boot of the car. Following the crime we now pay a monthly fee for a house alarm, as we have little faith in the police who never visited us as a victime of crime, and as far as we can see, just gave us a crime referenece number.

I decided to raise this with the local police and below is the response (with my comments in red) with personal details removed.

Dear Mr Sheppard

I have neen asked to contact you by my Chief Superintedent Mr XXXXXX.

I have read your correspondence by Nottinghamshire Police on 1st April 2009. As a result I have reviewed your Theft from motor vehicle crime Number XXXXXXXX. Your crim was subject to an investigation, albeit no police officer actually met your wife in person.

An investigation? We provided you with details of what was stolen on the phone of the morning that the crime had taken place. My wife was asked what I regard as irrelevant questions like what occupation she had, and three days later was given a crime number as , and I quote, we were told the police were “behind with their crimes”. We were alsoasked if we had used the car, and funnily enough had as couldnt wait for a call which may never have come. That was the extent to the investigation.

The crime recording system shows tha the reporting officer PC XXXX, conducted an initial investiagetion. This officer through speaking with your wife ascertained there was no CCTV covering the area and nothing was seen or heard by your wife to identify offenders.

Funny that living in a normal residential area there isn’t a camera scanning our every move. Is that what we now have to rely on to combat crime? Then are you telling me that if we don’t see the crime being commited or collect evidence (surely the job of the police) then you can’t do anything?

PCSO XXX attended your street on 30th August. He has produced a working sheet dated the 30th detailing the houses he visited and the occupants he spoke to. Unfortynately no further evidence was obtained which could further the investigation.

As I understand it, PCSO did a house to house after I spoke to PC XXXx on more than one ocassion saying I wanted more to be done. We actually bumped into him in the street as we had waited in all day as we had family over. We pointed out that we were the victims of the crime. He assured us he would come and speak to us at some point. I suspect because he may only work 9 to 5 and we do not (as criminals tdo not) we never got that visit. If you don’t visit the actual victims then what value if the house to house. We also own another property on the street, and as far as we can see we find it strange that neighbors dont recall being visited either.

The question of whether a vehicle is secured or insecure is of relevance to our investigation and analysis of such offences. It allows us to build a picture of how offenders are gaining entry to vehicles and enables us to plan initiatives to combate such methods.

Hey the car is always locked – but we couldnt see nay forced entry. Of  course you will never know as by the time we got a call backfollowing reporting the crime – a few days later, there was no point of sending any forensic team around.  Yes we were asked if there was signs of forces entry. The answer was no. That answer really must have helped the thorough analysis and investigation. Oh but that’s my point. I dont see any evidence of that analysis and investigation.

Since your crime, we have now developed systems whereby attacked vehicles can be brought to our Car Clinic at a convenient time to be forensically examined.

That’s useful – as the local police station doesn’t appear to operate outside of office hours. I have another example where someone called the police having seen a gang of youths with a crowbar and the police had to come from Mansfield, mile saway, yet we have a brand spanking new police station in Newark.

Please allow me to take the opportunity to brief you on how our efforts are achieving succes in your area. In Newark vehicle crime is down 33% on 2008 and is down 24% in your beat area. Overall all crime is down 18% on last year, which in real terms equatesto 197 fewer persons affected by crime.

Sorry I dont believe you. I for one would think twice about even reporting a crime as nothing seems to be done. So what we may be seeing is that crimes are just not being reported due to a lack of action. I could give you instance after instance of people who feel let down that the police arenttaking action.

And there endeth my moan. The crime committed against me was just a little thing. But the message that seems to come from the police is that their analysis and investigation with regards property crime equates to just logging it and saying that’s that. And if the public can’t do the detection work, well hey, don’t think anything will be done.

The Local Area Commander has offered me the opportunigty to meet with him to discuss this and any other policing issues. Maybe I will take him up on the matter – though actually I’d rather he used the time he would have to spend seeing me policing.

Let the police police

A few headlines have been generated following proposals to confiscate mobile phones (amongst other things) from yobbos. Fine, yes I could think of a few other things that might work with those who constantly make the lives of the law abiding majority hell.

The issue, however is still policing. We reported an actual crime. And to this date have never seen a police officer. I now have two lovely letters from the police justifying why I haven’t seen anyone – it seems I shouldn’t expect to.

So if we want phones to be confiscated I guess what we really need is a police presence to actually do some policing. That is of course, unless along with collecting evidence of crimes being committed, the public are meant to do the enforcing of the law too.

World at One discusses Early Day Motions

I will of course go through the comments of Bob Russell who put up a good defence of something that is clearly close to his heart. But before that I just have to say that to those MPs who use the argument that it allows them to stay close to their constituents….. take a listen to what the students in the piece think when they learn about some of the subjects which are tabled. I couldn’t have put it better myself!

Do check out www.scrapedms.com for the latest in my call to Scrap EDMs.

Campaign to Scrap EDMs continues

The campaign to Scrap Early Day Motions has picked up a bit of press coverage. I may be on The World at One. In defence of EDMs I think they have spoken to Bob Russell MP and for the case against Roger Gale MP.

For me it’s already been a success and a debate has been created. Lets hope something is done!