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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Police and policing

Early this morning, while pottering around the river, two police cars went slowly past in the space of 10 minutes. It was heartening to see and reminded me of the many calls for a greater police presence.

That thought then led back to a 17 November article in The Press headed: Vandals, speeding drivers add to misery which described the problems of speeding motorists, the tipping over of portaloos, and other antagonistic and anti-social behaviour. As most such articles do, it included a plea for more police action.

Amongst the online comments on the article was one from someone claiming to be a police officer (genuinely so I think). The words are worth reading so here is the bulk of his/her comment:

Red&Blues #12 11:26 am Nov 19 2010

I live in a damaged house & it will probably be demolished so I understand the frustrations that go with that (esp. when a vehicle goes past our place at speed). I have tried my best (as workload allows) to catch speedsters & criminals in your area. We have arrested several burglars on different occasions in the last two weeks on the shifts I have worked, again in your area. There have been many arrests on the other shifts as well since Sept 4. I have caught a number of speeding drivers - both residents and non-residents and missed many as they were on the other side of the river. There does need to be more of a presence but unfortunately we are limited somewhat by staffing numbers & other emergencies across the city - for example an innocent member of the public was seriously assaulted the other night - one of our two-person cars was tied up for at least six hours on that (as well as several other staff for varying lengths of time). I managed to patrol the Avonside area the following shift for about an hour before being called away again to another critical incident, then another, then another, then another. I wish I could do more but I can't.

Poor sod, no wonder police morale is low. Anyway, how many police, how many patrols would it take? Look at the size of the various branches of law enforcement there are in Iran and they can't keep a lid on things. Do we want that many enforcers? The lawless behaviour problem is endemic, won't be fixed by more law enforcers, so perhaps we need to look at taking the initiative through neighbourhood watch?

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