Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Daily Wail (again)

Well, I'm glad to see the Daily Mail still gets completely hysterical about anything police related.

Example one: unfortunate tale of a man down south.

Example two: That PCSO headline.

Lets start with number one. Lad goes down to Portsmouth's 24hr european cafe culture one weekend night and encounters random hooligan and gets a pasting. Not taking anything away from the victim, my only surprise with this story is that anyone is surprised it took a response team officer that long to turn up. In all honesty I wouldn't have been surprised if it was nearer the four hour mark, let alone fifty minutes.

I can completely sympathise with the person at the 999 call centre. Its interesting how what would actually be a civilian operator suddenly become "the police" with its deliberate effort to tar everyone with the same brush. That as an aside, I would anticipate that operator had had dozens of calls from people on that late saturday night. Some of them (well, I read some of our official propoganda in a moment of boredom and found 70% of 999 calls are actually not emergencies) and this poor sod at the end of the 999 line, obliged to make a record of every call recieved was probably more than a touch frustrated at the sheer volume of idiots calling with nonsensical claptrap that would still under this that and the other charter require a police officer to go and speak to them in person. So when he or she gets a genuine call through, like the one in the article, lo and behold noone is available. Or of course there have been sufficient serious calls to mean all available response officers are already dealing, as what is reported here. The 999 operator would've been more of aware of that, too.

I must admit I've used that line before- when I've been haring round from call to call and someone says "what took you so long?" I tell them there's only 6 of us on tonight covering so many thousands of population, and if he doesn't think that sufficient to write and complain to his MP. And you know what, I wish they would.

I don't know quite know why this particular tale warrants a trumpeting around the Wail. There would have been hundreds of people calling 999 across the country at the weekend and found that the police response takes more time than they would expect, or demand.

I have sympathy with the Mr Bayliss senior too. Not his sense of moral outrage at being told to phone his MP, how could some possibly be so rude, but for the circumstances of it. Most decent people can remember how many 999 calls they've ever made and it is quite a significant event, amplified a hundredfold when its your own son.

But Mr Bayliss junior, now that things are over, you had opportunity to make a difference to other people, to try and stop such things happening again by joining up. I'm sorry but withdrawing your application isn't going to help anyone.

At the end of the day, the 999 operator is right. I would bet Hampshire's finest would have loved to have come and locked up a drunken violent hooligan. At least, I would hope so. But they were unable to simply because there weren't enough of them. And the blame for that lies with the MPs.

Which would lead me on nicely to the second article. This is where all the money for PC's has gone. Most forces are recruiting more PCSO's than PCs.

But I'll continue with this another time. This is enough for now.