From the neighbourhood to the national...
"From the neighbourhood to the national: policing our communities together." Whatever that means.
I am never quite sure what makes something a Green, White or Blue Paper, unless it literally is just the colour that happened to come out of the printer that day, but if a reader can enlighten me, please don't.
The Green Paper consists of a "vision" for the future of policing, and one of its proposals is:
"Setting only one top-down numerical target for the police service to increase public confidence in the police and other agencies to reduce crime."
Does this mean that a numerical target will be set and the setting of said target, whatever it may be, will increase public confidence in the police and other agencies to reduce crime? Or that the target will be to increase public confidence in the police and other agences to reduce crime. Either way, I don't see how that's numerical, and I don't see how it's only one target either. Or how you can set the police a target to increase confidence in other agencies.
Anyway, certain parts of the Green Paper disturb me even more. For example, the national standards promised to the public by the police will include:
- 80% of your Neighbourhood Police Team's time on duty will be spent on your patch.
If you wanted further proof that the phrase "Neighbourhood Policing" is utterly meaningless, there it is. The thing is, as a response officer in Blandmore, I attend emergencies, urgent jobs, non-urgent jobs and welfare matters wherever in Blandmore I am needed. The whole town is my patch, I know all of it, and I am just as effective anywhere in it.
At a time when there aren't even enough response officers to attend vital 999 emergencies, why does the government insist that we ring-fence officers into smaller and smaller areas? This only works if you have a flood of officers to choose from, and are confident that you will not regularly need to deploy them to the next patch over, or the one next to that.
If the public really knew how thinly we are spread, how desperately close we come on a daily basis to not being able to attend the most life-threatening and urgent situations, while Neighbourhood Policing Teams sit in their "patches" tightening their bicycle clips and attending meetings about dog-fouling... if the public knew how criminals roam the street with minimal fear of arrest and zero of punishment... this Green Paper would have been met with an outcry.
But then again, they do know. We've been telling them for years now.
Are they not listening? Do they not believe us? Do they think it's all our fault?
Where, oh where, is the outcry?
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.