Friday, June 06, 2008

Well I never

Last Saturday, I did two things I normally never would do.

I bought something from a motorway service station, and it was a copy of The Times. I did the mental equivalent of a handbrake turn when I saw the headline article though, and I had to buy it just because I didn't believe it.

Top police to boycott official police paperwork? Turns out the headline is a touch misleading as Surrey police and their compatriots are not boycotting the official paperwork, but are giving a suitable finger to the target driven culture that has the bane of every front line PC, and a great deal of dissatisfied "customers".

Well halle-flippin-lujah. What this and countless other blogs have been saying for ages, in fact is the root motivation for many a blogger- has finally been noticed at the top of the policing tree.

I still have some reservations though- I put chief constables in the same bracket as politicians most of the time, and I will be curious to know if any front line officers from Surrey, West Mids, Staffs and Leics police will actually find their day to day jobs any different. Not that I'm suggesting that Chief Constables are all talk and no action, or like their league topping position a little too much to really follow through with this once the media isn't listening.

I hope I'm wrong. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times that target driven policing is a shambles to the detriment of the police and the public. So much front line work either cannot be measured - e.g. how you go about dealing with the family of a road death victim- or is ignored all in favour of the big two: total recorded crime, and total detected crime. Nothing else seems to matter come the end of the financial year.

Come March this year I had to laugh as suddenly bucketloads of cash were released from their hoarding sites as 1) it had to be spent else there'd be less the next year 2) everything was being thrown to try and keep the total recorded crime figures less than the previous year. I kid you not, up to three minibuses a day full of old bill on overtime, dragged out from every which corner, stuffed in a yellow jacket and told to do "high viz anti burglary patrol".

So I hope that Mr Rowley, Sims et al are true to their reported word, and really have decided that focusing and driving towards being top of the sanction detections table at the cost of losing common sense and discretion is to end.