Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Police review response

To jump on a bandwagon. Most of you who look at this look at other job blogs so you are probably aware of the article run in Police Review by a serving inspector. I've got hold of a copy, but for those of you who don't have it YorNicked has copied the article on his site.

As far as I can tell, the main point he makes that a important role of the police is to reduce the fear of crime. Police blogs, by presenting the reality of police work, and in particular highlighting the lack of response team officers, can reduce the effectiveness of this goal.

Yes, I can see his point.

But I disagree with his argument. He quotes a blog (anyone got any idea who?) which states there are only 3 officers to cover a borough of a 100,000 residents. Apparently, this is not helpful.

I would completely disagree! Ask Mr anti-social blogger man, who is incredibly frustrated with his local police, North Yorkshire. Do you think he believe the media releases from his force that things are improving? E.g. the following quote, direct from the North Yorkshire Police Home Page " we will be building on our considerable success to date...."
However, if he is aware that there are only a few officers covering hundreds of miles, whilst it might not make his situation any better, it might help ease his frustration, and more importantly he will know that the bedraggled officers who do turn up share his frustration. (Or at least, I hope they do)

(Note- any reference to Anti-Social blogger man should read anti-social blogger woman! Apologies!)

Police officers have found that their complaints about "inefficiency, shortage of resources or poor management" (to quote Mr Police Review's belief of the source of police blogger motivation) have fallen on deaf ears when done through official channels. I think the last aspect explains all- the fact that the management is poor and does not deal with our frustrations, but continues to present a rosy picture to the media, is the very reason we are forced to publish online.

I would argue that the public, who are our "customers" (to coin a favourite SMT phrase), our paymasters, and to whom we should be accountable to, have the right to know what isn't right with their police forces. But us blogging officers know they are not told that.

Yes, we are forced to be anonymous. And with that, there is no guarantee of credibility with any police blogger. How do you know I'm a police sergeant? Is another police blog actually written by the husband or wife of an officer? You, the reader, can never know for sure.

The purposes of these blogs, as far as I am concerned, is to provoke debate as to the reality of policing. I don't think anyone should ever take what is written here as gospel, no more than anyone should believe what they read in the news. The media can be shockingly inaccurate, believe me.

If I had to put a single reason as to why I do this, it is to proclaim this message: Don't believe what you are told. A bit like police work really. Whatever your politician or police force says, take it with a pinch of salt. Question it. Investigate it.

Enough from me for now.