18 November 2013
Dear Dave and Theresa
I just thought I’d drop you a line to let you know that you’ve pissed off a good friend of mine.
This friend went on holiday a while ago and while they were on holiday the keys to their house were left with Person A who promised faithfully that would look after the house for them while they were away. After a week on hols they returned home and found that their house was all securely locked up still and all was well. Until they ventured inside that is, when they discovered that a sweetie tin with a not insubstantial amount of pound coins in it was no longer where it had been left.
Being a sensible person my friend did two things;
1) Assumed that Person A had either stolen the sweetie tin, or knew damn well who had taken it
2) Phoned the Police to report the theft.
And that’s where it all started to go wrong really. Being intelligent people (you were educated at Oxbridge after all, whereas my kids went to Uxbridge, so they should be almost as privileged but not quite) you will know that criminal investigations require someone to take statements, examine the crime scene, track down and interrogate suspects, assess the forensic evidence etc etc. And I know from my 30 years experience as a Police Officer that this crime was potentially solveable, but it relied upon the local Police to actually DO something before it could come even close to being solved.
Just the other day I read good old Nick Gargan Tweeting this “#ACPO conference next week begins with a panel: “if crime’s down so much, why are we so busy?” Why not tweet me your question or comment?” Well try telling my friend that crime is down. The Clear Up rate might be down, but crime stats are in the mire at the moment and hopefully something good will come out of that debate, the public need to be told the TRUE crime figures, not the figures that DCIs or Chief Constables decide are good for their careers or the image of their Force.
But I digress. The reason your staff are so busy Nick is because they are doing lots of other stuff apart from just preventing, reporting and investigating crimes. Lots of other stuff that the Police have no place doing but somebody has to do it. I’m not going to write about that because there are others who already do that much better than I.
But abstractions from Safer Neighbourhood Teams, Public Order, Mutual Aid and a myriad other things take officers away from what they are supposed to be doing, Reducing Crime, Theresa told us, is their only target.
Well my friend finally managed to get a local officer to come out, take her statement and interview the suspect THREE MONTHS after the event. Forensic opportunities – Nil, Likelihood of an eye witness – Nil. Likelihood of any kind of corroboration – Nil. Likelihood of CPS authority to charge ANYONE – Nil.
Why did it takes 3 months for someone to turn up and investigate this crime? Because the officer(s) had been busy doing other things. Why had they been busy doing other things? This is where we return to you two being intelligent. You reduced Police Budgets by 20% You indirectly reduced Police Manpower in my friend’s Police area by 12% between March 2010 and March 2013, and that’s just the Regular Police officers, The PCSOs have been reduced by approx 10% as well over the same period (your Department’s figures Theresa) Then to cap it all you closed a perfectly good local custody suite in a multi million pound brand new police station so that the local cops that DO remain have to travel 45 minutes each way to book someone in and are therefore NOT IN THEIR OWN AREA!!!
an Ex Tory Voter