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Where Are All The Police? – An Analysis of Police Resources


I have never seen the Area Commander, or anyone from ‘Human Resources’ or the Press Office or Training, down on the streets with me on a Saturday night, physically counting heads (or cracking them). They have no idea at all what it is like.


You do, occasionally, see an ACPO rank out. But when a Chief comes down on the street there are more uniformed police out than there would be for England vs Germany in the World Cup final. Neighbourhood are out, Specials are out, anyone with arms, legs and a functioning pelvis is out; why the Chiefs can’t see what’s going on I do not know, because it must have happened in their day. But apparently they can’t – they walk around, nodding and grinning and surrounded by blue serge tunics and hi-vis jackets, and they think it’s all hunky dory.


In the Army, an infantry battalion of 500 men will consist of 75% front line soldiers – people with rifles, there to deal with the enemy– and 25% in HQ support roles. In the police, 10% are on the frontline and everyone else is back at base, drinking tea and making plans. It’s quite mad.


You can still be reassured, I think, that our ability to respond to level two criminality – what would be classified as serious crime like rapes, stabbings and murders – is and will remain very good, because we find ways of dealing with that sort of stuff. But in terms of keeping the lid on day-to-day ‘volume crime’ – the anti-social behaviour, the criminal damage, the assaults, the drunkenness, the violence, the car theft, the problems that you’re most likely to suffer from… Being ex-Army, I’ve learned the hard way to make the most of what I have in front of me. We get on and do our jobs, whatever the manning levels. Somehow, we have made it happen without major outbreaks of live anarchy. How much longer we can continue along this road, I really don’t know.


The frustrating thing is, the answer is reasonably simple. Get police officers out of cushy offices and 9-5 jobs, onto the streets.


Spend the money wasted on PCSOs on more proper cops. Cut paperwork and stop massaging figures. Stop chasing targets and trying to socially engineer a new country. Concentrate on criminals, missing kids and road accidents.


But maybe that’s all too revolutionary for modern tastes”.


86


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