I vow to thee...
I am always confused by the term NEIGHBOURHOOD OFFICER. In Blandmore, neighbourhood officers get a bonus of £1500, an office with a coded door-lock to prevent people stealing their one marked vehicle and they attend a lot of town meetings. I do feel for them in this regard, for despite the meetings being advertised as taking place between 10-11am, they require a lot of preparation beginning at 8am and always drag on until at least 4pm (or whenever the officer's off-duty time is), thereby preventing the long-suffering neighbourhood officers from attending any reports of crime all day!
According to the government, NEIGHBOURHOOD OFFICERS reduce the fear of crime, are able to tackle persistent problems in areas such as antisocial behaviour, car crime or burglary, and are WHAT THE PUBLIC WANTS.
When our neighbourhood officers aren't attending their savage all-day meetings, they generally get roped into attending emergencies between their antisocial behaviour, car crime and burglary commitments. If motivated, they might make as many arrests as I do, although they only have one car to share between them to transport the villains in. As a result, most of them are restricted to walking around in yellow jackets smiling at people and disseminating to the rest of us which hotels give free tea to police and which ones spit in it first.
As a mere RESPONSE OFFICER, I am not WHAT THE PUBLIC WANTS. My duties entail attending constant reports of antisocial behaviour, car crime and burglary, as well as all the emergencies in-between. I take on investigations into things that have happened to members of my neighbourhood - Blandmore - and I try to resolve them the best way I can. I have a mobile number which I am supposed to give out to my victims. This means they can contact me whenever they want and I only get two or three angry messages a week demanding to know why I am not on duty for twenty-four hours a day and why my phone isn't switched on when I'm not.
I suppose the point I'm making is: aren't we ALL neighbourhood officers? If you're in uniform, and you have contact with the public, you are the face of policing whether you get a £1500 bonus or not. Which begs the question, is pledging to improve neighbourhood policing really a pledge at all?
When will Labour pledge to lock up people like Herbert and Harris BEFORE they do this?
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.