Sorry for the absence, it's been intensely busy at work followed by my internet going down. I can't tell you why it's been busy, or you'd know where I worked, but suffice it to say I've rarely known a more morbid and depressing series of events to strike Blandmore in one month. And we don't even have a proper university in the town.
I was thrilled and excited to see today that hate crime figures for England and Wales have been published. These statistics demonstrate without a doubt that some people who commit crime are actually hostile towards their victims. This most shocking and appalling state of affairs must be addressed.
Unofficially, there are two kinds of hate crime: one that is motivated by hostility based on race/religion/gender/etc, and one that someone THINKS is motivated by those things. Both are identified as hate crimes in our statistics, but only the first kind are "racially/religiously/homophically aggravated" under the legal definition. This means that a lot of hate crimes sit on our books where there is no proof that any kind of -ism was involved at all. This only matters if you are measured and judged on your detection rate for hate-related crime. Moreover, many of the crimes that are in fact aggravated by these things will have elements that are easy to prove in relation to the crime, but impossible to prove in relation to the motivation. If a person is charged for the non-aggravated version, the police cannot claim to have solved that crime.
These statistics are not, of course, related to any kind of performance target, because targets have been abolished. But they do relate to victim satisfaction, and we all agree we are allowed to measure that, and that it doesn't count as a target even if the figures are published in green, amber and red. Funnily enough, last year it seems that victims of hate crime were really devastated by their crimes and felt vulnerable to be targeted in that way. This year, they're not too bothered, and it appears that victims across the board feel just as aggrieved as everyone else.
Either way, I know that the residents of Blandmore are delighted at the latest transparency in police figures, and are confident that this is a step towards stemming the dreadful tide of serious and violent crime threatening to overwhelm the county's police.*
* Which is not to suggest that Blandshire Constabulary can't cope. Of course we can, coping just involves a lot of overtime payments, which if ACPO has its way will be a thing of the past.
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.