Dear Home Secretary
Since 2011 you have become famous for setting the Police one simple objective – to cut crime.
Let me put this hypothetical but totally realistic question to you.
Here in DeadBadgerShire the most prolific crime currently is Night Time Burglary.
To “cut crime” we need to prevent it. How may we prevent it? We have all had our Crime Prevention Advice from our Community Police Officer, Special Constable Jones. We know that we have to keep our doors and windows closed and locked. We have been told about the benefits of an approved alarm system and the Property Marking Scheme, although I’m unclear what the preventative benefits of Property Marking are as it is not apparent from the roadside that my valuables all contain a hidden marker.
Another way to prevent these crimes from being committed would be to have more Police Officers on routine patrol, their sheer presence and uncertainty preventing Billy Burglar from getting into my home. Only that won’t happen because their aren’t enough Officers to go round. The last time I spoke with a Regular Officer round here he told me that, at night, he could be the only officer on duty for 400 square miles. I’m no expert but it seems to me that he’s not going to drive past my home more than once a night at the very most.
To help prevent and reduce crime at night we could have the Street Lights on, Billy Burglar hates lights as people can see him, only that won’t happen because someone else in your government has cut the budgets for Local Authorities, so the Council has been forced to turn off the Street Lights between Midnight and 5am, it’s pitch black round here at night now, Billy loves it.
What else might we do to prevent crime from being committed, and accede to your diktat?
OK, so now the crime has been committed, Billy has got in and made off with my 50″ Flat Screen TV and my Sky+ digibox, together with an assortment of my wife’s favourite jewellery.
Second best option would be to catch Billy red-handed, send him to Court and get him locked up. Right?
Only that’s not going to happen either.
Our one and only officer for 400 square miles has blatted flat out across the County and got here. In the good old days his car would have contained two keen young officers, one would take the front and the other would go round the back, doubling their chances of cutting off Billy’s escape if, by some miracle, he still happens to be there. Now, there is just one poor soul, exhausted from dealing with EVERYTHING within his 400 square miles, with the best will in the world he has a choice to make. Front or back? Is Billy still here. Does he pose a threat to the Officer?
No threat, our valiant officer is too late, Billy has fled the scene carrying my worldly possessions. Which way did he go? Did anyone see him? Oh no, it’s dark isn’t it, nobody saw a thing. Call for a dog, that’s the best thing to do. Aah, the only Dog Handler on duty is the far end of the County dealing with an Anti Social Behaviour problem. Sit tight, secure the scene, we’ll try and get you a dog from another County is the best the Control Room can come up with. Chocolate Teapot comes to mind, that will take 30 minutes minimum.
Aah, brainwave, call for the helicopter with its NightSun and InfraRed camera, they’ll get here in less than half an hour and flush Billy out no problem. Sod it, we’re now Chopper-Sharing with two other Counties, right on the very edge of NPAS coverage, no chance of a Chopper Copper tonight.
So our, now totally dispirited officer examines my house for clues, takes all details for a Crime Report, tells me that someone will phone me in the morning with a Crime Report number for my Insurance Company and POSSIBLY I might get a visit from a SOCO in about 3 days.
So now the Police have failed, they have failed to prevent my crime, they have failed to comply with your diktat to cut crime, but is it their fault? Most definitely NOT.
All of the problems highlighted above are preventable, but not within the current regime of cuts.
You are setting the Police up to fail, setting them one simple target and then preventing them from ever achieving it.
Please give us all the benefit of your wisdom and experience and tell us mere mortals just how crime can be cut within the handicaps highlighted above. They are all problems that are hampering the fight against crime NOW, and are destined to get worse under your stewardship, and that doesn’t even form a comprehensive list of all of the shortages and problems that the Police are encountering whilst trying to do your bidding.