Getting that warm feeling again!

YOU A E B   G WA CHED

Image via Flickr

I don’t know if it’s as a result of the latest comforting news released by my local police force (see below), or the fact that I’ve probably pissed myself laughing, again…

I just wonder; is the time effort and money spent on masses of PR rhetoric actually having tangible results? Are the efforts of our somewhat under valued and greatly depleted police service actually being appreciated by the communities they serve?

Now I have to choose my words carefully here, I don’t want to incur the wrath of my readership like before, when I was lambasted verbally reprimanded in my last post on the subject (see here) for causing ’embarrassment’.

The Northern Echo: OFFICIALS have hailed an eight per cent drop in crime across Hambleton and Richmondshire in the past year as testament to working in partnership to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. The figures, released this week, also show a reduction of 19 per cent in burglaries and a fall of almost 28 per cent in vehicle theft.

Now before I go any further, I am fully aware of the hard work being carried out by police officers on the ground, ably assisted by the Special Constabulary, PCSOs, various volunteer watch schemes and the greater public at large however, as I said previously; “the PR rhetoric often fails to match the reality and facts of the situation.”

The local police area commander for Hambleton and Richmondshire may well be “delighted that the partnership has performed so effectively.” I expect they probably have, and usually with one arm tied behind their back, usually due to poor management, politics and reduced finances. I also fully sympathise with how hard the job of policing can be, there will always be critics who leave officers with a damned if you do and damned if you don’t type feeling.

That said, is it really honest to try to lay claim to being totally responsible for any perceived crime reduction? A more likely underlying reason for that reduction would be the (well evidenced) constant manipulation of crime statistics. That and the likelihood that residents are tending to report less, simply because of a perception (rightly or wrongly) that nothing will actually be done about it.

I agree with the area commander that; “rural crime continues to be our biggest challenge across such a large area.” Because of that factor alone, I actually commend their efforts with their Operation Wagtail, a rural crime initiative aimed at getting better results with reduced resources. Any effort is better than non at all.

Without going into specifics of figures, which will no doubt incur new levels of anger/embarrassment, some time before I retired from the police I did a little comparison. Back in the early 1980’s there was something in the region of 50% more police officers available at any one time, to respond to and meets the demands of our community, than there was before my retirement. With the current cuts being implemented since my retirement a few years ago, I would expect that differential to be even grater.

The local police area commander also says; “We want people to feel confident that our area continues to be one of the safest places to live and work in England.” In addition, all the senior managers continually crow about “doing more with less” however; is any of it a realistic statement or expectation the public can warm to?

Despite all the feel good factor stories that constantly get published, it’s not a feeling or observation that I’m experiencing or hearing in the community… Despite the results of any government crime survey!

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About Dave Hasney

National Coordinator for UK SMART Recovery - Previously a Recovery Worker and prior to that a Management Consultant and H&S Practitioner - Kept sane by Angling, Good Food, Real Ale & Wine - Cynical thoughts sometimes developed from others.

Posted on 04-05-2011, in Police and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. My feelings are much the same Dave. The ‘juking’ or ‘gaming’ Steve refers to have gone on as long as statistics has meant ‘numbers of the State’ – at least since Plato. Bureaucracy is the problem, but the word solves nothing. False accounting is everywhere – but I suspect we haven’t got to grips with how little work needs doing for real comfort and distribute incomes through bureaucracy, from disability teams to banking.

    The cost of doing anything in these bureaucracies is massive compared with genuine forms of production, with large amounts spent on the bent accounting – whether the accounts deal with finance or performance.

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  2. Hi dave

    as you know I’m hugely sceptical about crime stats and detections (which I am currently working on).

    Introduction of false reporting poicies by forces within the last 5 or so years has enabled them to fudge the numbers even more by reverting to the evidential models of crime recording.

    the increased popularity of mobile phones led to an epidemic of false reports of theft and robbery all over the UK. (Mobile phone retailers were advising consumers who lost phones to report them as thefts/robberies). As a result, forces implemented false reporting policies to screen out such cases. However, Home Office guidance suggested that when false reports were discovered wasting police time prosecutions should be grought. However this didn’t happen in any signigicant number.

    Worse than this, forces chose to apply the false reporting policy to volume crime, street crime & burglary, using whatever excuses they could NOT to record crime. As volume crime typically represents 70% of all recorded crime, this presented a totally fallacious set of recorded crimes.

    I’m close to finishing the report and it will reveal some startling numbers.

    Detections are even worse. Forces now rely heavily on Cannabis warnings to inflate the detection rates (by between 1 and 10%!). Add to this the new offence of causing fear, alarm or distress (Wayne threatening Waynetta by text or playground scraps) and there are literally thousands of “Easy Win” detections that are prejudicing officers investigating more serious stuff.

    National detection rates are running at 28%. N Yorks latest recorded 31%. This would be commendable if if were not for the inflated element. My calculation so far is that national rates are inflated by as much as 10%, yet still showing a decrease of about 8% on the prior year.

    The deeper I delve, the less I trust the stats and detections. When you examine the methods of detection used, the easier options (TIC/PND/Other) are becoming the favoured way of cooking the books.

    Whilst I haven’t conducted anin depth review of N Yorks, West Yorks have some seriously doubtful numbers in there.

    I’ll let you have sight of the finished report over the next week or so.

    All the best.

    Steve

    PS. Sorry for the spello’s, it’s been a long night!

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