Monday, 25 August 2008

I wish to report a Burglary

Where I live there is a big political row over getting your bins emptied. Due to recycling the local authority is only going to collect household rubbish every two weeks. No doubt this will save them money to waste on some politically correct scheme elsewhere. (I don’t live in a Tory controlled area yet!). The point being most people want to have their rubbish collected weekly.

Now I’m all for time and motion. I’m old enough to remember the bin man walking all round the alleyways behind our house, picking up a heavy metal dustbin and carrying it on his back to the dustcart. He then had to return it to our back gate. Now I just leave my black bag on the drive to be collected. I do however pay for this service and want my rubbish collected weekly.

If you were burgled you might just call the police and expect a police officer to attend to take the report. Well don’t expect that in the metropolis. The organisation totally committed to customer service has decided that we have been wasting resources. If the offender has obviously fled why send a police officer. The main report details can be taken over the phone and a Scenes of Crime Officer will attend later, do their stuff and update the report with anything else. The local community team (PCSO) might just get in touch later to offer crime prevention advice.

As a patrolling officer I wouldn’t even know this had happened until the next day on checking the previous days crimes. I’m sure this new policy scores countless points on time and motion surveys, but was the public consulted and what would you prefer? Of course if our “real customer” base screams for police and puts a racial slant to their neighbour dispute good old plod is there within the hour to meet their needs.

I tell you why it matters. All people are different, and should be treated according to their needs. We’ve all been to a burglary and stayed longer than necessary because the victim was upset and needed us to. We’ve all done that little extra either calling for a relative or popping back a few days later to see if things were better, giving added reassurance.

I preferred to report all burglaries on my patch. The reason being I could get a full report. Not just of the main items stolen, but the little things like the sports bag taken to transport the electricals. You will always find the main stuff is fenced quickly, but the little things you will come across. They must however be on the report. You can also build up a mental picture of the properties they target and really get a feel for it and become involved.

I’ve been in situations where I’ve kicked in somebody’s door and found items from a burglary that I’ve actually reported. Rare designer sunglasses and tat accessory jewellery and receipts in bags always comes up trumps.

I think we are getting it wrong here, even if it does save resource time.

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