Thursday, 1 November 2018

It seems it's now policy not to make arrests (or a clip round the ear)

Dear kindly Sergeant Krupke,
You gotta understand,
It's just our bringin' up-ke
That gets us out of hand.
Our mothers all are junkies,
Our fathers all are drunks.
Golly Moses, natcherly we're punks!

Arrests have fallen in the UK by nearly a half. The police, unsurprisingly, blame this on reduced "resources" but it is worth noting that there are not 50% fewer coppers - not even the more deranged parts of the Labour Party are making that claim - so you can't lay fewer arrests at the door of so-called "austerity".

I guess this is a better reason:
“Officers are also encouraged to deal with offending behaviour proportionately and effectively, maximising public involvement, keeping people out of the criminal justice system and supporting reduced re-offending behaviour through positive intervention.”
It is now policy not to arrest people and for the police to behave a bit like a cross between a social worker and Judge Dredd - dealing with "offending behaviour" rather than catching criminals as used to be the case. This might be seen as a welcome return to the old-fashioned "clip round the ear" approach to policing where the coppers visited low level summary justice on badly behaved youth rather than arresting them. I've a fear, however, that the process of arrest, charge and the criminal justice process is such a nightmare of paperwork and mind-numbing bureaucracy that not arresting bad 'uns just makes the coppers' lives easier. What I do know is that, for all the "gee, Officer Krupke" banter, there's precious little evidence of this sort of policing "reducing reoffending behaviour".

I've always taken a care to listen to the explanations I get from the police and I also appreciate that the burglars aren't things of their creation but this mealy-mouthed, bureaucrat speak about how the police work seems to cover up an almost abject failure to do what the public wants - robust, hard, policing that targets the vicious, greedy young men who commit the crimes and upset the lives of decent, law-abiding people. It certainly doesn't appear to the majority of folk that the police are either present in their community or responsive to the needs of that place. Today's police seem to be stuck in cars, draped with ever more bits of kit and, when you get to speak with them, talking in an almost impenetrable language quite unlike how regular folk speak about criminals and crime.

The police have the time and resource to get filmed dancing at pride marches but not to respond promptly to a burglary at a frightened elderly couple's house, put more publicity behind getting people to report bad language on social media, and police "senior leaders" hide behind bureaucracy to excuse their failures. Blaming a 50% drop in arrests on resourcing is, quite simply, a lie but nobody is looking chief constables and crime commissioners in the eye and saying "pull the other one, mate". Yes more money for policing might be a good idea but only if that money gets spent on actual policing not a bureaucratic, politically correct pastiche of policing.



jim said...

Crime tends to follow the economy and housing and fashion. The violent crime that hits the news tends to come from the sh*t hole parts of our social fabric. People follow incentives and those in crime are doing just that, crime pays because the alternatives are less attractive. Housing too, put rats in too confined a space and they fight, humans do the same. But to do much about this costs money and political will and we have neither.

Right at the root of the problem is money and the flow of wealth. Our economy has moved to leave less and less money at the bottom of the pile. Allowing (or being forced to accept) this to happen has consequences. The simple-minded answer is to make more money - but we can't. Not even clear we could even if we were prepared to upset a few applecarts.

The police are a good general purpose force for controlling the usual crimes, the unusual crimes, random inconveniences and picking up the consequences of failure in other parts of our social control system. Just like the teachers, the police are lumbered with picking up the pieces of problems the politicians will not face or fund. Sure, we can build more prisons and we will always have to deal with those who just won't behave, but that takes money and politicians will only spend money if crime affects their voting chances. Outside the election cycle they won't bother.

Looking to the future, matters are likely to get worse. With the advance of robotics and AI there are likely to be fewer jobs and that effect will extend further up the social spectrum. Long term we will probably spend less on mass education rather than more because there will be no point and there won't be the money anyway. Get used to deprivation and crime and social division, there will be more of it.

patently said...

It certainly doesn't appear to the majority of folk that the police are either present in their community or responsive to the needs of that place.

Absolutely. Here's a summary of my interactions with the Police over the last few years:

(1) My credit card details used fraudulently to book a ferry crossing, thus placing at least one identifiable suspect at a specific place at a specific future time. Action by the Police: None.

(2) My wife's business account hacked and funds removed. Action by the Police: None.

(3) Fraudulent emails sent to my staff which resulted in them transferring a four-figure sum to two identified bank accounts, the details of which were passed to the Police. Action by the Police: None.

(4) The sudden and without-warning display of a 40 limit on a motorway gantry right in front of me, on a clear day in free-flowing traffic with no congestion or hazards ahead. Action by the Police: immediate letters threatening prosecution, 3 points and £100 fine.

This is how the Police communicate their priorities to us.