Sunday, 1 November 2009

Shock Horror - More Police Less Crime

Thank God that Halloween's out of the way for another year. I think it was worth cancelling my day off with notice just to throw loads of police officers at the problem. I know that elsewhere some areas weren't so lucky. On Monday the big boss will breath a sigh of relief as his robbery figures haven't spiked as in previous years.

The extra boots dealt with over 30 calls, mainly to large groups of known faces who for some reason chose this of all nights to "try" and rampage through the streets. At least they kept their fun to themselves having firework fights aimed at their brethren rather than the general public. I don't know where they were hiding these fireworks as they'd been turned over more than once. There's a cost in man hours but this is a regular operation we can't do without every year. Unfortunately tonight things will be back to normal.

In the past it has actually been total and utter carnage. Robbery after robbery by youths in Scream masks as we let the zombies take over the streets to prey on what could be you or your family. By using section 60 powers authorised by a senior officer we can use stop and search powers to deter carrying of weapons and demand the removal of face masks. There can be no doubt these tactics alter the perception of offenders.

I'm sure some would say we are demonising these youths but the results speak for themselves. Extra police numbers on the streets does have an impact.

I've seen the touchy side work too but on a smaller local level. One year I waved off two coaches consisting of the local youth and their families who were exported to a Fright Night at a far off theme park. They had discounted tickets paid for through some community fund, or to put it another way tax payers money. There was tumbleweed blowing along my streets that night that were well patrolled to deal with those who didn't make the trip. The radio was however spewing out offence after offence in other areas.

I'm glad we're on top, be it for just for a day, and no one really moaned at losing their day off either. I think everybody wanted it to be like this every day. There will be a time when somebody will make a decision to empty the offices for good and return officers back to the streets. No doubt they will be hailed a genius.


Dandelion said...

Fascinating insight.

You can see the catch-22 though.

If the streets are full of police, and there's no crime, just tumbleweed blowing by, sooner or later, some bright spark of a cost-cutter sitting behind a desk is going to ask what we're paying all these officers are for, if there's no crime for them to fight....

Stressed Out Cop said...

Correct in some respects - but that's from perspective of a community officer who is doing something right to get the tumbleweed blowing, or maybe not if the problem people were exported elsewhere. Maybe it's a bit of both.

I see today some force did exactly that and paid from the property fund to send youths to a fright night.

I think the public want more numbers where it matters and it would equal less crime and less stress for officers so we might have time to be nicer to people and could always take up any slack by kicking in the local drug dealers door. I'm not saying invest in more staff just move them where it matters.

The bean counters don't see that it's about Prevention of Crime.

Tom said...

I thought one of the main tasks of the police was the prevention and detection of crime. I cannot see the catch-22, unless we fail to take lessons seriously.

Bodies 'on the shop floor' we understand make a difference, while conversely under-equipped, poorly supported and under represented members of the armed forces serving in Afghanistan is a lesson to be ignored.

I like the idea of boots on the ground, and not the idea individuals 'massaging' figures on the latest initiative.

Metcountymounty said...

Saturday night was just as busy as New Year for us up town, only with a tenth of the resources. I've never seen it as busy, it was horrible, and I've no doubt next year will be busier. If it wasn't for a couple of PSU's worth of officers out on foot - which we should have had anyway but the last few months they've been tasked elsewhere thus letting the place go a bit native - things would have gone properly wrong.

Dandelion - that's the paradox of Policing that the Government have been trying to dismiss for the last 40 odd years. They can't get their heads around the principle and in a recent review they ignored the Japanese approach of a Police officer on literally every corner as well of plenty of foot and mobile units creating virtually zero crime (even mafia related crime has been seriously impacted by laws that mean the crime bosses are held legally accountable for the actions of their subordinates) that is why sector/beat Policing has been abolished and rehashed so many times. They can't get their head around prevention because they can't count it. It also helps to have a criminal justice system that incarcerates and punishes criminals, but they've got rid of that over here too so we're just doing the best we can to stop the wheel coming off. I sometimes wonder if we should let it come off just so the public can see how bad it really is.

Hogday said...

SOC: I concur re the S.60. I remember signing one of these up in 1999 to deal with a regular problem. To my amazement I was told it had never been used before. My gang beat their gang hands down and the shot in the arm was tangible. We need to win once in a while. I say arses out of the offices, out of HQ, out of community this and that and give the responders a half chance of taking some ground. As you said, not rocket science.

Hogday said...

and as for Tom's reference to under-equipped in Afghanistan - what is it that the troops can't get hold of now...decent socks! My aid package is in the post to my nephew and his mates - medium weight, long. Judas H Priest, whatever next?!

Tom said...


Many thanks, but my thoughts are currently with the 'Blue Troops' on the ground.

I concede there will be about a conflict in the deployment of resources, and how they are managed. But what it not the 'promise' of this government many years ago to 'get tough on crime and the causes of crime.'

I would rather see tumbleweed blowing across my community than feral youth. And as a tax paying old 'git' it is a far better investment in my mind than watching hopelessly outnumbered police trying to keep us all safe.

MCM and Hogday know the price.

Merlin said...

Can't argue with any of the points raised / views expressed here, but one fundamental question needs asking: why has Halloween become a genuine night of fear for the elderly and vulnerable?

A friend of mine mentioned that his old mum had come over to stop with him & his wife till the weekend was over. Because she was scared. I hate hearing that sort of thing. It wasn't always like this. Hopefully I'll live to be "old", but I'm not there yet so I'm only harking back to the 80s when I say that it bloody well wasn't like this when me & my muckers used to go door-knocking at Halloween. It had a nice sort of feel to it & we were welcomed with smiles or - in a few cases - had the door shut on us (but hey - we soon learned which doors to avoid). Thing is, we didn't threaten "trick or treat" (nice American import - wasn't the British version good enough?) but went dressed-up in sheets, etc, and said something along the lines of.. "whooooo... Halloweeney! Cackle, ha ha!". Also - apart from parents of kids our age - adults didn't "celebrate" Halloween. This year I registered for the first time how it's become yet another excuse for grown-up (?) people to be p*ssing / throwing up in the street and causing bother to public & police. But it's all good fun, eh?

Merlin said...

Dandelion -

"some bright spark of a cost-cutter sitting behind a desk is going to ask what we're paying all these officers are for, if there's no crime for them to fight...."

Indeed. In the fine management tradition of "well, that's obviously working so we don't need to do it any more".

Stressed Out Cop said...

I must add that ALL the community teams were out on their beats as well - almost brought a tear to my eye.

We all went off at Midnight and indeed the drunken crowds were very visible.

A murder in Sutton at around 3am connected to Halloween took place. I doubt there were massive police numbers out then .. due to financials, like we're saying it's about prevention. How much will that murder investigation be costing.

Hogday said...

We werre always outnumbered, always will be, we accepted that, but when you are outnumbered, out-gunned, under-supported......oh what's the point?

Blue Eyes said...

It never ceases to amaze me that what is bleedingly obvious to most people is ritually dismissed by those in positions of power.

More prison places, tougher sentences, more police on the street catching criminals and preventing crime.

I don't "get" Halloween. When I was growing up it was a bit of childish fun. It now seems to have turned into a total nightmare. When the local council rag includes a poster to stick in your front door you know things have gone wrong somewhere.

Merlin said...

"One year I waved off two coaches consisting of the local youth and their families who were exported to a Fright Night at a far off theme park".

No question, in my experience, that "diversionary" provision works & I do use it because it yields results. Having said that, I'm never happy with the underlying principle. I mean, how about paying for me and the family to go away for a few days this next weekend. The missus & I have a blank spot in our diary & the boredom might cause us to go out and cause trouble. How about, say, two months free road tax for motorists - which they only get if they don't speed or park on double yellows.

I tire of hearing the same bleating excuse from parents that young Shazaam / Tyrone did whatever because they were "bored". A spate of kicking wing mirrors off / wrecking peoples' gardens & hey-ho, it's the council's fault because they don't open a youth project on a Saturday night. There are loads - & I mean loads - of things for yoof to do in my area - organised/informal & all shades in between. If there are a few nights a month when young people have to make up their own entertainment, why must this be ASB?

For the older cohort of trouble-makers, there's a brilliant diversionary activity which gives a sense of achievement, encourages respect for self & others & has the added bonus of occupying & tiring people out so that they don't have as much time & energy to cause aggro.

It's called "work".

And yet I still take the functional option & support trips, bussing them away, etc. Because unless & until something is done about the disease, all we can do is alleviate the symptoms.