Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Random Thought

Tootling home the other day from what felt like an interminable shift in custody and my mind was wandering.

For most uniform sections of the police, arrest figures are king. I was speaking to some traffic colleagues the other day. Their senior management have set them targets of a certain number of tickets and arrests per month. The (to my mind) absolute core function of a traffic officer- don't ask me to call them roads policing officers- surely has to be to reduce the number of serious and fatal car accidents. Job parlance for that is KSI's- Killed or Seriously Injured. Yet a target to reduce KSI's doesn't actually feature in the performance indicators set for traffic officers.

I simply just don't get that at all.

This led me on. Senior management, led by the government and whatever authorities they answer to, by the way they have determined performance figures obviously feel that the more arrests = more productive = more good.

Surely though, would the most effective police force would be the one that doesn't find it necessary to arrest anyone in a month. I admit I'm slightly in the realms of fantasyland here as while there are people in the world, some of them will always be up to no good. But do you see my general point? The most effective police force will prevent crime, not simply turn up afterwards to claim arrest points.

But we are orientated completely and utterly to the latter. Not the former.