The screenshot above, has been taken from a news article featured in todays ‘The Telegraph’. In it, reporters with no apparent direct experience of Policing, talk about the reasons which they think are contributing to a drop in arrest figures. It makes for an ‘interesting’ read….
There is the usual rant about the Police “letting criminals off the hook”. There is a token referral to the Identity Codes of individuals who have been subjected to Stop & Search (of course, without ANY reference to the County or Borough from where the majority of these Stop & Search statistics have actually come from).
Now look; I am no genius. Far from it. I like to think that I have a moderate amount of common sense, having spent several years in the armed forces, and over ten years in two different front-line emergency services (one being the Met Police).
But it does not take a huge amount of common sense or intellect to understand that one of the reasons as to why arrest figures are actually down, is because there are fewer Police Officers on the streets! I also include in this reference, the fewer numbers of PCSO’s out in the community. Because although they did/do not have the power of arrest, they often WOULD detain people or persons who had been suspected of committing, or about to commit, a crime.
Even a reporter with no actual Police experience can arrive at this obvious contributory factor being largely responsible for the reduction in arrest numbers. A knock-on effect of having less officers on the street, also means that the Officers who ARE on the streets, are spending more time on Paperwork, because they have fewer colleagues to help them out.
Take my former Force, The Metropolitan Police, as an example. It used to be the case that in the Met, once you had arrested someone, then you would complete the arrest notes and accompanying paperwork, and then hand the prisoner over to a dedicated Case Progression Unit. Once the prisoner had been handed over, you could go back out on the streets, and the process would continue.
But then the Case Progression Unit was shut down, meaning that Met Officers on Response teams, now have to deal with their own prisoners from initial paperwork to post-arrest evidence gathering, to interviewing the suspect, to the charging decision and, of course, taking the case to court.
“Whats the problem with that” I hear you ask. Well, during an average Late Turn or Night Shift, a Met Officer on a busy Borough can expect to arrest between 2-4 people (assuming they are quite ‘pro-active’). But that was when you only needed to be off the road with a Prisoner for, say, 2-4 hours.
Now that the CPU has been taken away, a Met Officer can be expected to be off the road for 8+ hours. Again, it does not take a genius to work out that this will lead to fewer arrests. But ‘reporters’ in the Civilian press do not seem to care enough about the REAL issue to truly take the time to understand the real cause(s)….shock./horror/shock
But then, do the reporters who write these stories, and the civil servants who try to explain away the reasons behind such stories, REALLY care about the true cause and effect? Thats a conclusion that only you can draw, based on your own experiences.
From my perspective, and in my own humble opinion, it appears that neither the reporters really care nor understand the real issues behind stories such as these, and that SOME Civil Servants are engaged purely in a ‘damage control’ exercise without addressing the cause.
And in the meantime, my former colleagues in the Police, will be expected to go out on patrol, with fewer officers to help them out (during one of the most testing terrorist threats to plague these shores) , more paperwork to complete whilst having to deal with the side effect of the continual negative Police stories getting churned out of newsrooms across the country, without ANY consideration of the effect that such stories actual have on those manning the thin blue line.
Some people have messaged the team here at Emergency Services Humour, stating that they think that all of the negative Police stories being covered in the press is a pre-runner of a justification for privatising parts of the Police Force.
Once again, you must draw your own conclusions in relation to this very thought-provoking question….
Written by one of the many Admins of Emergency Services Humour, and an “Editor” of our popular satirical eMagazine, S**ts & Giggles….CLICK HERE to subscribe
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Nail struck firmly on the head.
When I served with Grampian Police (before Police Scotland came into being) we Response & Neighbourhood Officers (ie. those in uniform) dealt with all our detainees (arrest comes with being charged up here in Scotland, but detention and arrest on suspicion are synonymous) from start to finish. And that could easily mean an 18 hours shift (instead of the normal 10+) having detained that person in the first hour of duty, conveyed them to cells, taken statements; viewed CCTV; arranged forensics; interviewed, charged and arrested the suspect; then written the case so the poor dear could go to court the next day.
And that was in the days when we could only detain suspects for six hours before charging them (but they had no right to a lawyer prior to interview). Then, when they changed to the suspect being allowed to lawyer up (can’t say I disagree with that principle) and we had twelve hours of detention available to us it didn’t make the shift any shorter if the lawyer took a while to appear at the station…
And that is two officers (at least) off the street because corroboration is required all the way in Scots Law.
Bearing in mind that the city of Aberdeen (approx. 250,000 population) might have only had 25-30 uniformed cops on duty at any one time (that’s only 12-15 crews), and that doesn’t count those who were writing cases, supervising custodies or trying to get mouldy investigations tidied up, you can see how thin the blue line really is. OK, normally there were more uniforms (as well as our colleagues in natty suits or scruffy jeans, depending on the unit) available but never more than 50 or so.
And people wonder why I am an ex-cop?