If I were in charge of the police

Time for broken windows policing

Time for broken windows policing

For a long time I was against having locally elected politicians in charge of policing. I lived in the States as a kid ad always thought that to get elected to a policing role left it open to corruption.

My views have changed – and they have changed because I, like so many others have been let down by the police. I should be the kind of person who respects and values what the police force does. Unfortunately my experience means that feeling has been sorely tested.

A year or so ago we had something stolen from our car which was parked on our driveway feet from our front door. To cut a long story short, when reported we were asked what job we had (the relevance of that question I’m not sure) yet to this day we have never seen a police officer or a PCSO.

Despite more than one letter to the police officer who looks after the local area, all we have had is a letter giving us some stats about how certain crime have fallen. Of course that will be because people like me will no longer report property crime – it doesn’t get investigated. So now we pay a monthly fee for an alarm system as if someone knows they can pinch stuff out of something feet from my front door – will the house be next?

Now if I was in charge of police there would be many things I would love to do locally. First of all I would have questioned why a nice new police station is built – yet it appears to be closed out of office hours. Well I mean – criminals only work 9-5pm don’t they.

Then I would instigate some sort of system to get police out into the community. Onto the streets. They say they don’t want to be tied to doing paperwork – so fine, lets find a way if ensuring paperwork doesn’t get in the way of the job – policing!

That means Uniformed officers walking the streets and not always in pairs. Many forces don’t send officers out in pairs. And sorry – if they say its for safety. When I walk home, I don’t get to walk in a pair for my safety, so police officers perhaps could walk alone too.

Then of course a policy of broken windows policing would be adopted. You clamp down on the small stuff – so that people don’t think they can get away with it. Someone gets caught doing graffiti? You make their life hell. Take ’em off for a night in the cells or whatever. They don’t just get told they are a naughty boy they suffer the consequences. Someone riding a bike without lights on? You make them come to the cop shop and show they have lights on their bike.

You essentially make law breakers lives hell, so that for the first time it is the law abiding majority who feel they are being looked after. I am fed up of police driving by illegal activity that I can see, and they do nothing. They seem happy to pull people over they think are speeding (such as my wife at 5:30am – who actually wasn’t hence carried on with her journey) but when was the last time a police officer did anything to stop anti social behaviour? I mean – what about the two yobbos who rode over a neighbours garden on their moped. By change the police (who I called) actually caught the two yobbos as they hadn’t scarpered. And what did the police say they had done? Sent them a warning letter!! Those warning letters – such a deterrent!

Local people up and down the country are crying out for the police to take a tough approach to crime, but no one seems to be doing it. What about my wife’s late grandad, who after a yobbo gave his wife a mouthful of abuse prodded the little so and so with his walking stick (he was in his 80’s at the time). Guess what – the 80 year old got a caution – but the police said they agreed with what he had done! Hang on! You didn’t have to caution him, you chose to. Of course this is the same yobbo who has a collection of bikes in the shed next to his flat that the police say they know are nicked but cant do anything about!

We read that the police want larger forces to tackle the major investigations. Sorry – but what people want when they are a victim of crime is to know that the crime in questions is being investigated. They want to see a police officer – as a matter of course. If senior police officers don’t like this, then I’m afraid they are the ones who aren’t living in the real world, not politcians.


7 Responses to If I were in charge of the police

  1. Paul Denby says:

    You get the police force you deserve. The front line officers will do the best they can, but the beaucracy which has for so long been promised to reduce has got worse and worse. Added to that, when a police officer gets injured or killed in the uk, the response by the senior officers and politicians is weak and pathetic. A response by senior officers in the US to similar incidents is met with a robust and angry response that one of their officers has been hurt. I know of Police officers in the UK having been injured on duty, attending court to be told by Magistrates that they should expect to sustain assaults as that is part of the job of being a police officer. The sentance for assault on police reflects the respect that society – and especially politicians – have for the police. I repeat…you get what you deserve! I am sick of hearing that the public – and politicians are loosing respect for the police. The real danger and reality is that police officers are loosing respect and simpathy toward the public….and especially politicians! Incidentally – your speeding wife has the potential to kill, a yob on the street corner is annoying. And the yobs on motorcycles have become untouchable as …due to their 'human rights' and the fact that if police give chase and one of them is seriously injured or killed, its the police driver who gets prosecuted and looses his job. Thats on a good day….he may well be sent to prison. Most officers do not chase motorcycles as they are not given the authority to pursue the rider for fear the rider is hurt. Again…you get what you deserve. Finally…why dont the police get out of their cars? Because there are so few on patrol that to take them out of the cars would mean there would be no emergency response. Time you got your head out of the sand and started to look at the real situation. Have you ever been out with a police patrol? I suggest you do! But make sure its just the two of you!! I suspect you will wet yourself so take an extra pr of pants with you!

  2. editor says:

    1) Read what I put. My wife wasnt speeding. If she was she would have been ticketed and fined.. She was pulled over on the premise she may have been speeding….breathalised (before 6:00am) on the way to the station and let on her way – so get the facts right. I assume they had to meet quotas for how many people they had pulled over – as it was a complete waste of time.

    2) Yes I have been with a police patrol. I did so when I tood or Parliament at the las election. I have also lived in the states and seen their police force in action. In fact a former class mate is a state trooper. Have you ever been with the police out there?

    3) If the public can walk the streets alone on the way home you think the police can't? Hmmm OK. So why some forces have single parols and others don't?

    4) Police losing (as opposed to loosing) the respect of the public. So that isn't an arogant attitude Paul?

    5) The public deserve the police to actually visit where a crime occurs. Surely that isnt too much to ask? Maybe you think it is, but I think if a crime has happened it should be investigated. If that is too much to ask under the current system the system sould change. All you seem to do is criticise those who argue that the law abiding public deserve better.

  3. Paul Denby says:

    1/ There has never been quotas for stopping people. You seem to think that the police have crystal balls and know exactly who is driving a car before they stop it. As for your 'breathalised before 6am' in brackets, I know of drivers stopped at accidents at 10 am 11 am still over the limit. Perhaps you should talk to some of the victims and relatives of victims of drink drive and tell them the check was a waste of time. I have an idea what they might say to you.
    2/ Yes and they get far more respect for the job they do than the British Police.
    3/ I have no problem patroling on my own, but as I said before, take police out of cars and there is reduced capability to respond to 999 calls – because they are on foot! Then there would be complaints that it took too long to get there.
    4/ Arrogant – no just realistic. You can only put down a group of people for so long before it has a negative effect on them.
    5/ All you seem to do is criticise the police. You ignore the good job the front line officers are doing. I argue the police deserve better!
    Notice you didnt comment on the situation regarding the motorcycles and the police not being able to pursue them. I expect if you saw this you would complain the police are doing nothing. If they did pursue them and the rider was killed you would be the first in line to complain the police were in 'hot pursuit' I will repeat…the Police deserve better. Much better!
    Lastly you say police drive by 'illegal activity' What exactly is that illegal activity. Could it be you are describing some 'yobs' standing on a street corner having a smoke. I suspect this is.

  4. editor says:

    Oh you do have a habit of reading something that isnt there. Firstly accusing my wife of speeding. Incorrect. Feel free to apologise.

    Twice you mention chasing motorcycles. Who ever mentioned chasing motorcycles? Two mopeds drove over a neighbours garden and then parked up by a kids play area. So you think that beaviour is acceptable? You think its acceptable for them to be given a warning. Laughable. I'm sure you would love it if that happened to you.

    Sorry no I am not descrbing legal activity such as smoking. I am describing youths cycling without lights when its dark. Surely you would agree that is breaking the law? What happens when they get struck by a motorist? Or how about drinking alcohol in areas where it is not permissable in public places…. do you condone that? Public urination – is that OK? I have seen police cars happily drive by and do nothing.

    On the subject of cars – surely you dont think the police should just be in cars all the time. And here is an easy way to solve your straw man of if they are out walking they cant answer 999 calls. Currently many walk in pairs. Have one on the beat and one if the car. It isn't rocket science.

    So do you think the police should visit when a crime is committed or not? Do you think victims of crime deserve that?

    I absolutely agree with you that police deserve better – but you view my post as an attack on the individual police men and women. It is an attack on the system which means people like me lose faith in the police as an institiution not individual people who I know try their best. Perhaps if you could see that and suggest some reforms to make the job easier you wouldn't come across with an attitude that seems to say – it's the public that's wrong which is just about the most outrageous think I've heard. You sign up to the force with the knowledge the public can be complete idiots and I know you have to deal with the worst of it.

    I could say how I think the judicial system gives no support to the police at all…. which is why that needs to change to.

    I think to attack someone who actually wants to support the police – but is pointing out how there are currently so many failings means many (not just me) are losing their faith misses the point.

  5. Paul Denby says:

    I am encouraged that you think that the police deserve better, and yes I will apologise for assuming your wife was speeding in my first reply.
    And – yes, I will suggest some reforms:
    -Reduce the scores and scores of upper management who dont give 'value for money' and are responsibe for allowing the police to be infected by beaurcracy. The police service has become a promotion ladder instead of a service to the public.
    -Give support to front line officers
    -Reduce the power of the CPS who are making a pigs ear of prosecutions.
    -Make assault on police punishable by a mandatory 6 months imprisonment.
    -Stop the Home Office infecting the police with beaucracy.
    -Move to a culture where, for instance, if a driver fails to stop for police, it is that driver who is blamed for loss of life or serious injury, not the police officer who is doing his job.
    -Reduce beaucracy….probably the most important action.
    -If you really want to support the front line police officer, listen to them, not the senior officers.
    You say that many are loosing their faith in the police, you must understand this can and does work both ways with the front line officer. If all they appear to get is negative and unjust attacks, attacks which should be aimed at the 'managers' then there is a human re-action by the officers.
    Lastly I will tell you of an incident where a burglary was 'in progress' and offenders were still thought to be in the house. I …..was….single crewed and a female officer was also single crewed. I arrived very soon after her and found that she had already entered the property through a window to make sure the informant was safe. She carried out her duty without a care for her own safety. I know that this type of work goes on unnoticed every single day, officers putting their own life and safety on the line for the public. Front line officers deserve support and respect. Complaints about the management should, on every occasion, be a targeted complaint.

  6. editor says:

    Paul it appears we agree on much.

    I absolutely sympathise with police who want to do the job. The whole point was that when things go wrong (and they do) the institution gets blamed. There seems to be no incentive to change things for the bobbies on the beat (old fashioned phrase I know) as teh higher tyou get up the more vested interests they are.

    You yourself point out the Home Office doesn't help. Therefore perhaps some sort of local police commissioner who could set the bobby on the beat free – to do teh job that I assume they signed up for, may be a way forward.

    I accept officers put their lives on the lien every day. I don't think it matters what sex they are – as we a police officer is a police officer and I appreciate many do a great job – often not supported by the judicial system.

    Frankly I would get frustrated arresting a criminal if I knew a magistrate woudln't hand out an appropriate punishment (as just one example).

    I agree that anyone who assaults a police officer should fee the full weight of the law hit them hard. I want law abiding people to trust our police can do the job they want to do, and criminals to fear what will happen to them when they are caught.

    For many reasons I think they are currently obstacles in them being caught – and even if they are – the system seems to appear that they are likely to be dealt with leniently or just let off.

    Perhaps having someone in charge who if they cannot deliver for the public and for the police they lose their job (such as an elected police commissioner) is a real alternative.

  7. Paul Denby says:

    Dear Editor, yes it appears we do agree on so much. But if things dont change, we will leave our children with a justice system that just doesn't protect them.
    There is so much to do, but there has to be a start. I challenge you to start where the majority of the public that I meet want change. It boils down to honesty in our justice system. People believe that if a sentance is passed in court, then that sentance should be served in full. If a crime warrents a life sentance, it should mean life. If life is not the sentance, then the word 'life' should not be used, it is dishonest. The public would have greater respect for the system if the wording used, and the sentance passed reflects the crime committed.
    I am not in favour of an elected police commissioner. Having a chief constable isnt the problem, its the countless other seniour officers who are working only to secure their own promotion. The structure needs to change which puts the importance of front line police back at the top. I will finish in saying, ask yourself one question. Out of the total number of people employed in the police service, how many actually do the job. I assure you, the percentage is very low. Go to your police and ask them how many 'policing areas' there are in the county. Then ask how many Superintendents there are! In Kent there is about 6 areas….but about 43 Superintendants, all on high pay with 'company cars' provided and other benefits. There needs to be practical deep change….not just political window dressing!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: