Celebrations are in order.
In time-honoured Blandshire tradition, I am celebrating this momentous occasion by a discussion of a policing strategy AND a survey. You can't get more Twenty-First Century than that.
Bobbies on the Beat: What are your views?
For as long as I have been alive and aware of things called newspapers ie for a short period aged 18-21, people have demanded more police officers ON OUR STREETS. Year on year, the public and media have called for greater numbers of police and to raise great cheers from voters, a political leader need only bellow, "More police officers ON OUR STREETS" to meet with a riotous cheer. Look what has happened for a Witney MP since he made the call five years ago.
It is a "Golden Cow" of modern policing that we all strive for. Nowadays any old backwater force can promise more bobbies on the beat and immediately get some positive press coverage. Even the Telegraph seems to think that we could stop police officers from being shot if we only mooched around our neighbourhoods on foot more often.
I have managed to gather what people mean by this bizarre desire to see police ON OUR STREETS:
- A local bobby will stroll past and doff his/her cap in the morning, lean on the post and rail fence and comment, "What lovely daffodils, Mrs Lupin."
- The bobby will lurk in areas of high crime and pop out to collar the criminal in the act of breaking into a car/house.
- The bobby will have cups of tea with the elderly and the head of Neighbourhood Watch.
- People will rush up and tell the bobby all kinds of local secrets.
- The bobby will break up groups of antisocial youths and haul them home to face the music.
- The bobby will say, "Hello, hello, hello, what's all this then?" and "Move it along - Nothing to see here".
- PC Bloggs can cover about five miles in a day allowing for attending incidents and all the cups of tea. Blandmore would need approximately four hundred more officers for each one of PC Bloggs that exists currently, in order that most roads could be visited once per shift. This would cost £540,000,000 in salary alone just for one town.
- Most of PC Bloggs' day would be spent tootling up and down the road, listening to incidents on the radio that are happening half a mile away that she cannot get to before they have finished.
- PC Bloggs will be lucky to catch one criminal in the course of a crime. For some reason they just don't seem to happen when she is standing next to them.
- If PC Bloggs has to attend an incident, she will have to walk back to the nick, which could take an hour, to fetch her paperwork.
- People might rush up and tell her local secrets, but that happens to me all the time anyway. If someone wants to tell you a secret, the fact that you are in a car won't stop them.
- If PC Bloggs manages to take a miscreant youth home, his/her parents will screech, "My Ashlee wouldn't hurt a fly" and slam the door.
- PC Bloggs will have to say "Good morning, sir/madam, how are you doing?" and "I am afraid I am not able to comment on the current situation" instead of the desired phrases in order to avoid receiving complaints.
- The upshot of it all is that PC Bloggs will spend seven out of every eight hours in the day doing nothing other than walk up and down the road. Crime might well go down with four hundred of us doing the same... or it will just wait until we have walked past.
Villages used to consist of a few hundred people, now there are thousands. Cities used to be hundreds of thousands, now they are millions. Ninety-five percent of these people will barely see a police officer in their lives and will be better for it. Let's get some members of public out in the cars with us, or out on foot, to see what a Twenty-First Century police officer actually does, before they bleat for more of us ON THE BEAT doing absolutely nothing useful.
Copyright of PC Bloggs.