Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sunny Times

Saw the Sun has officially told the world that the incumbent government has lost it's support. Waiting for the return of the "Woz the Sun wot won it" headline....

Anyhoo it's rare I find myself agreeing with much that particular comic has to say for itself but their editorial on the state of law and order since Labour came to power rings actually pretty true:

"But they FAILED on law and order, their mantra "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime" becoming a national joke. Knife murders are soaring. Smirking criminals routinely walk free in the name of political correctness, while decent people live in a virtual police state of snooping cameras and petty officials empowered to spy and to punish"

The next line could have come straight from a Gadget post:

"Billions more spent, insanely, making benefits more lucrative than a pay cheque - creating a huge, idle underclass for whom work is a dirty word"

I could go on about centrally enforced performance targets forcing the Police Chiefs to chase the easy targets of sanction detections at the expense of other things that don't always result in a tick in a box. The whole desperate tale from Leicester being a case in point. Harassment and antisocial behaviour- adult bullying, basically- is a long term process to sort out which goes against the ingrained police culture of once a crime report is closed (whether sanctioned detection or not), the matter is sorted. Chiefs are reluctant to spend money on a unit which doesn' t bring in the results they are required to produce.

It is no surprise that many police forces have one or two officers on the antisocial behaviour unit (who deal with the paperwork side of amassing evidence for ASBO's) whilst there are many more resources put towards the Crime Management units, i.e. office dwellers who have targets to reduce certain crime types by reclassifying them where possible, and chasing up those elusive SD's.

I'm technically not allowed to have a political opinion but I won't be sorry to see this government go. The question I'm asking is whether I dare think the Conservatives are really going to be any better.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Oh the irony

Suburbiaville is pretty much like any other town that happens to have a reasonably agreeable train link to the nearest proper urban centre.

That means parking restrictions. For anywhere within a bordering unreasonable walk to the station has restrictions between what normal society calls working hours. Where there are parking restrictions, there are parking wardens.

Now I admit I don't have anything against these girls and boys most of the time (probably because when I have to park a car with a blue strobe light on I don't worry too much about what little signs on a lamppost say), and if anything I have a degree of sympathy because they can get an inordinate amount of grief.

Quite a few times we get called to help, at which point whilst making sure nobody actually does rip anyones head off we invariably reel off the same standard lines about civil dispute, civil remedies, and generally advise people to pay the fine and then claim it back later.

(Note- this may sound somewhat contrite but this is actually how we do have to deal with these- a parking offence is not a criminal matter, and no matter what the protestations I have no power to order one of the wardens to rescind the ticket. Having been on the recieving end of these things I know how sometimes they can make your blood boil. Which is usually how we end up getting called, to stop it becoming a real criminal matter should the blood perhaps more literally boils over.)

Anyhooooo I happened to be out and about the other day when another of these calls came out to a parking dispute where things were getting out of hand. I wasn't a million miles away so I flicked the little blue switch and pootled along.

I turned around the corner. I am always surprised at how quick these parking warden people manage to get their colleagues round as there were a right old crowd there, at least 6 of them. Anyway I eventually managed to find what was going on.

I managed to supress my laughter when I realised the clamped motor was a council parking enforcement one! It seems one of their chaps had popped in to see a friend or something and had parked on private premises. Just the owner of this particular private premises had paid out for a private firm to clamp naughty unlicenced parkers. The signs were even up. Unlucky for him the private enforcement van turned up while he was still having his tea and digestive and he didn't scramble out of the place in time to stop the clamps going on.

So we had the usual standoff going on whereby removal bloke was attempting to remove vehicle but the driver had sat himself on the seat and was refusing to move. Yes, the driver was a parking warden. Many a time I've dealt with this situation on the flipside.

So I have to admit I was kind of expecting the council blokes to listen to me when I told them once again that I can't make him rescind the ticket. The private contractors were professional ones (I know some are real cowboys) and even had copies of the land registry to show the extent of the private boundary. I told him until I was blue in the face about civil remedies. I pointed out to him just once or twice that the rules are exactly the same for the dozens of times they call us to something like that, just that this time he was the one having to pay out the cash.

Would he listen? Would he heck.

He started going on about allegations of assault and rang 999 when I told him I was not going to deal with this allegation. Spoilt little boy reaction to someone not getting his own way as there was no assault unless you count a tug of war on opposite sides of a motorbike handlebar. Thank you very much. That's two completely and utterly pointless crime reports that are going to go nowhere that I've got to waste my time writing now because it's now officially recorded that there's an allegation of assault.

A colleague turned up and took over (saying exactly the same things), just in time before I lost my temper. I wasn't far off I tell you.

It was eventually resolved when after the best part of 45 minutes he finally listened and stomped off to a cashpoint and got the money. I had to get signatures from them to confirm that the assault allegation wasn't an assault. This was was solely to cover my backside from when the office monkeys picked up the "crime" report the next day and go apoleptic there were two suspects for an assault at the scene I didn't arrest!

So yes. Off the road nearly two hours dealing with what was little more than a grown adult having the tables turned on him and having a right strop about it!

Just thought I'd share.....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Stop, search, write

Well. Apparently stop and search forms are to be reduced to the bare minimum if the home secretary is to be believed.

Forgive my cynicism, but I'll believe it when I see it for two reasons:

1) In the name of efficiency I suspect we'll have to finish using up all the old forms first
2) It wouldn't surprise me in the least if my own force bottles out of this in the name of local accountability and we get an amended version which has more stuff to write on it.

In the meantime, I'd love to know where this claimed million hours of paperwork saved figure has come from and how it was figured out. It certainly wasn't from the response team jockeys whose paperwork burden remains as daft as it ever was.

Never believe someone official when they say they've taken x number of obsolete forms out of circulation. All they mean is that they've been replaced with a new version.