The negative impacts of our night-shift society

abi

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has called for new legislation for young drivers saying; “drivers aged 17-24 are responsible for a disproportionately high number of crashes, deaths and claims (see here)…

Amongst the ABI proposals it is suggested that young drivers be banned from driving between 11:00pm and 4:00am… 

A car is potentially a lethal weapon, and we must do more to help young drivers better deal with the dangers of driving. Improving the safety of young drivers will also mean that they will face lower motor insurance costs…(Otto Thoresen, Director General ABI)

This recent news brings me to raise another ongoing and partly related problem, one that is increasingly impacting upon families, our communities, the health & social welfare framework of our society and not least, policing, the emergency services and other public agencies. I refer to the growth of our so-called night-time economy.

Now I’m not suggesting for one moment that it’s wrong to be able to eat, drink or shop at 1am (or later) if that’s what you want (or need) to do. Far from it. Having worked strange shifts all my life, the convenience of being able to shop and/or socialise after work, irrespective of the time would (often) have been advantageous.

But despite the convenience factor, the night-time economy also has many (mostly) unseen negative impacts upon our society. As a result of many of our young people having no job to go to during the day, they have no reason to get out of bed in the morning. Because they don’t have to get up and have loafed around until midday or the afternoon, they’re not tired and consequently go to bed later. Going to bed later and later means they get up later in the day and this progressive shift in the ‘normal’ day means their active time gets later in the day and runs into the night.

Before too long it’s sleep all day and play all night for our young people. Consequently, there is less and less opportunity for meaningful interaction between kids and their parents. No time for parental guidance or chastisement and remedial rebuff for wrong doing. I’ll bet that in some families, both sides of the age divide will see this as an absolutely positive bonus for their domestic circumstances.

Before long a large number of our kids are sleeping all day and playing all night. They’re drinking (or consuming other substances), noisily enjoying themselves and driving around looking for fun and something to do. Often this ‘something’ is either anti-social or criminal, mostly at the expense of others but often in their eyes, seen as just having a bit of fun.

As a consequence of all this, increasing numbers of people, of many age ranges but mostly young, are at a loose end in the wee small hours. Expectedly, there is also an increase in the number of commercial organisations trying to tap into the spare money that may be available to bolster their profit margins. Bars stay open longer and fast food outlets serve later, not just at the weekends.

All this has an impact upon not only the people who reside in our communities but also, the public service agencies such as; the police, the ambulance service, hospital A&E departments within the NHS and our local authorities. All these public bodies are tasked with clearing up the mess society gets itself into. It’s often mostly a thankless task but it is also an expensive one, one that impacts upon nearly all of us as the taxpayer continually foots the bill.

There was a time when drunken yobs only disturbed my sleep once or twice a week as they lager waltzed their way past my door in the early morning. Now this disturbance occurs on several nights during the week; shouting, swearing and drunken disputes, all accompanied by loud music from mobile phones and mp3 players is evident well into the night and towards dawn.

Boom boom boom music blasts out from every other hot-hatch with a dodgy bucket exhaust that is passing by, or more likely, attempting the fastest 1/4 mile standing start from the nearby traffic lights. The silence of the night is shattered by the screech of tyres struggling to gain traction and vehicle audible warning systems being sounded, either as a friendly greeting to some knob without wheels or simply, played in time to some rapper who wants to shag every bitch in sight after snorting his latest fix of must have moon dust.

There was a time when our police service would have been available to prevent this anti-social behaviour and/or deal with those breaking the law. Not so today, with shrinking budgets and the constant demands on an ever decreasing police presence, officers usually struggle to even meet the ever-increasing demands to respond to an ’emergency’ situation. Often that ’emergency’ isn’t one when they arrive however; the response demand often precludes any spare capacity for proactive or preventative policing.

This fact is now happily well-known to an increasing majority of our young people, the ones who have the time on their hands in the middle of the night to do what they will. One has to ask the question; why is it that our politicians and police leaders appear to have little or no cognisance of the situation?

It is possible (but unlikely) that many of them don’t but more worryingly, a proportion of them do and, for one reason or another, they chose to do very little about it. They justify their reasoning with dodgy manipulated statistics, produce endless demand profiles and all manner of resource availability studies. And all this is dressed up in fluffy risk-management strategies based upon financial constraint. Meanwhile the public they are there to serve are suffering and mostly in silence. Here in lays the problem; too many of us are either not inclined to complain or too afraid to do so.

Many members of the public who have valid concerns about issues that impact upon them are simply unable to voice that concern. The reasons are probably many fold but will often include reasons such as; being ‘worried’ about ‘bothering’ an already ‘busy’ police force with a ‘trivial’ matter or, they simply fear the reprisals from those responsible for the matter being complained about.

Increasingly older people are confining themselves to the relative security of their homes during the hours of darkness, whilst our unemployed, often feral youth, are free to roam at will with impunity searching for their next cheep thrill. That’s all well and good until the ‘idle hands’ start making ‘light work’ of relieving us old(er) codgers of our last remaining bits of solitude and security. This constant quest for ‘thrills’ to relieve ‘boredom’ is, unfortunately, mostly at the expense of someone else.

Young drivers may well be “responsible for a disproportionately high number of crashes, deaths and claims” but I also wonder; how many of our senior citizens have they finished off with their behaviour?

When you consider all of the above and then add the confusion which abounds in today’s political and financial climate; i.e. Which agency or department holds the remit (and budget) to tackle a given problem in modern policing methods? You start to understand why there is a growing gap between the public and the police.

If our public services themselves have difficulty thrashing out these questions, what chance of the public having any real understanding about why they can’t get the help they want or need? This perpetual confusion is also one of the main reasons why those agencies so often escape retribution for not helping, or not wanting to help!

The latter issue is one that needs addressing urgently but also; the time has come for us to try to reverse the unsocial trends and demands of our ‘night-shift’ population!

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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 15-10-2012, in Police, Society Babble and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Apologies for the typo, that was genuinely meant to read night shift, not night shit! Freudian slip methinks…..

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  2. As if to echo my earlier post…. Just taken a call from a customer in Leeds LS16, whose house was screwed on Saturday night and they stole the keys to his beloved Audi RS4. Neighbours heard the house alarm and watched the emerging teenagers drive off in his car, as yet unrecovered. We’ll have the victim mobile again by lunchtime but it’s small comfort for the breach of his home and vehicle. Another negative impact of the night shit society closer to home eh Dave?

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  3. Dave,

    Have a look at the Policing Matters group on linked in. Interesting discussions. I posted my thoughts on police commissioners earlier. See below.

    Steve Bennett • The point of police and crime commissioners, we are told, is to increase the democratic accountability of the police forces in England and Wales outside London. Chief constables needed someone with electoral clout to connect them to the people, to keep them honest.

    The concern is that this American-inspired model of police accountability may not translate easily into English or Welsh.The principles enshrined by the father of our modern police force, Sir Robert Peel, are to be found in the General Instructions given to the first Metropolitan Police officers in 1829.

    Number five of nine states that it is the duty of officers “to seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion; but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing”.

    British tradition has it that, to retain its legitimacy, the police service cannot allow itself to be politicised. Accountable, yes. Political, never.

    How can the Government claim the service will not become politicised, when the vast majority of candidates so far putting themselves forward for the respective roles, are from one of the political parties? Whilst there is an equal split of candidates between the two main parties, it is evident that those splits are not as equal in the respective force areas, suggesting the political colour of policing in certain forces looks set to be dominated by political persuasion.

    How can you increase the democratic influence upon chief constables without undermining their independence?

    Neighbourhoods where people are least likely to vote are the same communities with the greatest risk of crime. If democratic accountability is about reflecting the views of those who vote, independent policing is about protecting the lives of those who do not.

    What happens when the commissioner’s democratic mandate clashes with the chief constable’s independent principle? Is our local democracy good enough to keep them honest?

    Two points spring to mind.
    1. Whatever the Government say, politicization of the service looks inevitable. An already fragmented service will face the future difficulty of one force adhering to the political preferences of the elected commissioner, whereas its neighboring force may be playing by completely different principles. Regardless of the alleged honorable intentions of the Home Office with its printed objectives for the project, the temptation to influence decision making along political agendas will become irresistible.
    2. Locally Elected Crime Commissioners are appointed to follow the Home Secretary’s focus on the reduction of crime which carries with it the implicit increase in detection’s. Crime statistics have been fiddled mercilessly and disgracefully for many years by successive Chief Officers and their management teams. Whether for political, career or financial gain, the fact remains that the public have been conned into believing that crime is reducing and detection’s are increasing at a greater rate than is actually experienced. Indeed, it has even been suggested that the fallacious and dramatic drop in crime was largely responsible for policing NOT to be ring fenced in the comprehensive spending review. We have all witnessed events since then, with swingeing cuts to essential front-line services. With the books of crime being so corruptly “cooked”, we would maintain that actual crime figures and genuinely low primary detection rates that sit behind the fiddled set, would have forced any Government to take heed of protecting not decimating the service.

    Rephrasing the question above, Is our local democracy good enough to MAKE them honest?

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  4. As ever, excellent and insightful Dave.

    Long since retired from policing, my business operates at the commercial “front line” of the insurance sector, providing replacement vehicles to the victims of car crime.

    As we have often observed, crime statistics are wickedly manipulated. I see corroborative evidence of this every day when a member of the public tells me their car was stolen overnight by offenders frequently described only as “in their teens wearing hoodies”. Sadly, the capture of these feral youngsters who are another example of the nightshift society is rare.

    Worse still, dealing with hundreds such cases each week, I can tell you that the majority of cars now taken are car key burglaries, where the dwelling has been entered first to nick the keys to make taking of the car that much easier.

    What this says about society and the flagrant disregard for the sactity of right and wrong, says as much about the massive downward spiral of morals as the pathetic justice system. Years ago, twoc and car theft, were serious enough though never on a par with the grave nature of breaking into a house in the middle of the night, risking a face to face with a householder. Now, the distinction has all but evaporated. Car theft, house burglary, robbery with violence, wounding, none of it matters to the feral underclasses any more. The justice system no longer offers any form of deterrent to these kids. In the unlikely event they are brought to what can only be laughingly called justice, the severity of the crime serves as their right of passage, a medal of honour for the pathetic time they may serve in custody.

    What compounds the issue, when a car crime occurs, is that the old bill now record the matter 9 times out of 10 as an incident, not a crime, excluding it from the books. As property offences represent the largest percentage of committed crime, incident reporting as opposed to crime recording cons the arse off the UK public. Incidents are only upgraded to crimes if the victim is prepared to be further inconvenienced by making a full statement. All the victim cares about is that the insurer will pay their claim. I can tell you from daily experience, insurers wouldn’t know the difference between an incident number and a crime number and so the problem persists.

    We have a Home Secretary and recently departed justice minister who believes the bullshit of advisors and the dodgy data inputted into the system that crime really is falling and detections really are rising. The truth is, the system has become so inherently corrupt and goes so far back that we will NEVER know the true extent of crime and detections in the UK until someone has the balls to stand up and admit it’s all been a con, the crime of the century.

    Whilst politicos continue to use crime and detections as their barometer of success and while senior officers continue with performance targets regardless of Therea May, the situation will worsen. Such was the persverse reliance on crime stats, the Coalition had their ammunition to exclude policing from being ring fenced when it came to the comprehensive spending review and the cuts we have witnessed.

    If there was ever a chance to reform the service, this Government blew it. Choosing instead to adopt the mantra “bullshit baffles brains” in the hope we would all by conned by the continuing statistical rhetoric. We are not conned, we know the truth. We are greatly saddened that by avoiding the inevitable need for truth, we are now withnessing the worsening situation in our daytime and nighttime economy.

    More than police and justice reforms are needed urgently now. Massive cultural reform is required too. The activities of our night shifters are typical of the couldn’t give a shit mentality that pervades in modern society. Pull up alongside one of these thumping chariots and see what looks you get. Dare we even look at them?

    From the bottom up, there needs to be major reversal of attitudes and behavioural patterns if we are not to become the victimised and intimidated pensioners of the future. If we wait for politicians to heal our society we will be popping up the daisies.

    It will take a brave party, with courageous people to have the guts and stamina to reverse all the downward spirals we are witnessing. Perhaps we should start one eh?

    Keep smiling mate.
    Kind regards
    Steve

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