A number of reasons why.
Frustation at the lack of frontline resources. The last few days have been particularly busy and we have completely lacked the manpower to adequately answer calls. Took over an hour and a half to respond to one priority call, you know, the kind where we should be there within 12 minutes? I only know of that one because I booked in the resulting prisoner (and yes, it was a domestic)- there would have been plenty more calls where it took just as long to turn up, if at all. By the time someone becomes available and the control room ring the informant back the suspect is long gone (if there is one), its gone cold and there's nothing left but reports for assault or criminal damage or theft or whatever. And we're forced to put off sending a unit again because by now another urgent call has come out that takes priority, so the bewildered and shocked victim won't get to see a police officer until the following morning. Call that a good service?
I met some people in a local takeaway (No police canteen? Don't be silly. Its the weekend). Really nice folks, we were chatting away while Mrs Leng and her family beavered away in the kitchen getting our tea. They were a touch surprised when I told them just how few police cars covered their neighbourhood (and the surrounding ones). By that time, half the cars had prisoners in and we had the grand sum of 2 police vehicles covering a big area. No neighbourhood police teams on at this time of night I'm afraid. Just us, the slightly mad officers staffing the response teams at all hours (i.e. not just monday to friday) because for some strange reason they're committed to trying to make a difference for when someone has to call 999.
Frustration at humanity. In Urbanville centre, there is a well organised group of persons (having to hold my tongue here) who come to town to prey on the people out getting drunk and careless with their belongings. I lost count of the sheer volume of calls from people saying either they've seen someone pickpocketed or have lost something of their own.
Frustration at the justice system. It is nigh impossible to convict these pickpocket gangs. The person who takes your phone out of your pocket doesn't keep it. Within seconds it has changed hands 5 times. The victims are drunk. The witnesses are invariably drunk. I know it would be a completely futile exercise going to court. The person seen to have taken the item hardly ever (ever!) has the item on them. Poor witnesses, no evidence of item on suspect. CPS won't take long to decide there isn't enough evidence. I've come to the custody desk in the morning before and seen there are seven or eight (thirteen once!) people arrested for the original offence. But by the end of the day, all are out, NFA. Maybe once or twice one will be charged.
The only way to catch these guys is dedicated surveillance and dozens of police officers in plain clothes. But that costs money, needs an awesome amount of paperwork to justify the surveillance, and the crimes are low value, low impact. Got a better chance of voting in my own pay rise.
So week after week its the same story. Who said crime doesn't pay.
Frustration at the courts. A prolific scumbag (harsh words I know, but this one is an exception. I don't know his history, of how he's ended up the way he is. I just deal with the end result- i.e. a victim- again and again. And this bloke deserves the title Scumbag.) was sent to court a couple of months back with a raft of offences. But this bloke is clever, not a brain-addled drug addict. He turns up to court very remorseful, shaved and in smart clothes, calls the magistrate Sir, spins a yarn about his attempts to reform and always makes sure he has a few offences taken into consideration to demonstrate this. He got off with a 2 year suspended sentence last time for a raft of offences that should've got him 5 years.
So he's back out. Our burglary rate has gone in one direction. He likes nice cars this chap, and is breathtakingly arrogant in his driving after he's broken into your house and taken the keys. He knows our rules of pursuit and deliberately makes it as dangerous as he can so we have to call it off. He is good enough to rarely leave any forensic evidence at the scene but we all know its him. Driving around in one stolen motor to turn over someone else: person, house or business. The anger of my team is palpable. We're all hoping its us on for when the dice falls in our favour. Every so often, it does, and we'll have everyone available, and an insomniac who spots him at work screwing somewhere, and we'll have him. But in the meantime, we're as frustrated as hell.
I'm off down the gym.
Monday, April 23, 2007
A number of reasons why.