This is Sparta.
If only, but it is about numbers, so if you don’t like numbers you’d best leave now.
Firstly, the 300, but actually it’s closer to 500.
Gideon’s announcement said that the government would now protect the Police, a complete U Turn, brought about, in no small way I’m sure, by his and Camoron’s desire not to have a Paris style incident on their watch. I watched his entire speech, wondering how big the number would be, 10%, 25% or even 40%? Then it became apparent that the number was ZERO.
Don’t be fooled by that though. A lot of damage has already been done and there is at least some in the pipelines already in motion and presumably can’t be stopped.
I haven’t had all the results in yet but at least 500 Police Stations and/or Front Counters have been closed down, with many of those having been sold off. 500 is an incredible number and make no mistake Gideon’s change of heart will not bring them back, probably NEVER. He has stopped the cuts and that’s as far as he’ll go, no reversals.
With just about two thirds of the results in, there have been almost 500 Police Stations and/or Front Counters closed in the last 5 years, with a further 100 earmarked for closure in the coming 5 years, although it remains to be seen what their fate is after Wednesday’s announcement, although I suspect that the closures will go ahead.
On those figures it’s not unreasonable to assume that nationally around 600 Police Stations and Front Counters will have closed with a further 130 or so due to close. That is a staggering amount in my book. Don’t be fooled into thinking “it’s just a building” the repercussions are many and varied. Extra time, distance and cost in transporting prisoners to Custody. Extra time and distance before Officers arrive at their patrol destination. The inconvenience to members of the public wishing to report a crime, hand in or claim an item of Lost Property, chat to a friendly Neighbourhood Officer about whatever their problem is. The clsoure of Front Counters is, I find, a tad ageist, it disproportionately disadvantages the more elderly of our population. Those more infirm, unwilling or incapable of travelling the extra distance. In my own area it’s a half hour drive to get to the nearest Police Station still open. Two buses and about 2 hours each way from my own home. Move things further away, make them more difficult to access, demand reduces, Reform is Working, QED.
I hear people, mainly politicians and journalists, saying that the Police Service should modernise, and, within limits, so it should, but we also have to take into account the needs and abilities of the public we serve. I’m not sure that the government have done that so far.
I have consciously ignored the myriad of ‘surgeries’ that have cropped up at Tesco or Costa Coffee, they offer the chance for a ‘cosy chat’ but are hardly an appropriate choice for going to report the latest outbreak of Domestic Violence or dispute with a neighbout. Very little in the way of confidentialty.
Finally today, I shall bamboozle with some Home Office figures, hopefully clarifying Theresa May’s spin on Stop and Search. I’ll try to keep it brief. I’m only going to refer to s1 PACE stops or we’d be here all day.
In 2013/14 there were 900,129 Stop Searches, in 2014/15 there were 539,788, shortfall of 360,341 or 40%. Stop and Search down 40% in a year, a good thing? Mrs May thinks so.
Of those Stops, in 2013/14 there were subsequently 108,161 arrests which went down to 74,680 in 2014/15, a reduction of 33,481 or 44%
The bottom line is that in 2013/14, 12% of Stop/Searches led to an arrest, whereas in 2014/15 that figure has risen to 14%
Aren’t we good? We’ve cut back on Stops and Searches and increased our Strike Rate by 2%. That’s what Mrs May would have you believe. The reality is that we have decreased our use of Stop and Search and as a result of that there are 33,481 fewer prisoners sitting in Custody.
Little wonder then that knife crime, and others, are on the rise. Much less risk of being caught carrying a weapon, drugs or stolen property now, and we can thank Cruella and her Stop Search Crusade for that.
I thank you.