Not my idea I must point out, but it really is quite amazing the ideas that our academics and Think Tanks can come up with.
However, I was settled on my sofa, getting comfy waiting for the game with an odd-shaped ball to begin when the phone rang, it was Bronwen again. My word she’s been busy lately. Apparently she’d overheard a group of academics nattering after a conference.
One of them was whispering that Steve White, chair of the Police Federation for England and Wales, had pointed out that 84 per cent of calls to the police relate to ‘non-crime incidents’. In an article appearing in The Guardian on 7 September Richard Garside, suggests that slashing police budgets provides us with the opportunity to rebalance public policy and roll back police mission creep into almost all areas of public service.
Does this mean what I think it means? Radically downsize the Police Service, and by doing so, force other public Sector Services to take responsibility for their own areas of concern?
We all know that downsizing the police has been an issue of concern for certain Think Tanks for some time. Last year Professor Tim Hope wrote an article about abolishing the police service altogether. He proposes that we should establish a civil harm-response unit in its place, formed through the merger of police, fire and ambulance services. Sounds very similar to something that a certain. PCC is proposing.
To quote the good professor, and I sincerely hope that I’m not infringing anybody’s copyright here
To serve the public good, the uniformed police service should merge thoroughly with the community health, ambulance and fire services to become a harm-response service with the delegated task of protecting and offering succour to the victims of crime. Alongside the other public services, the police should promote community safety as a means of promoting public health based upon a genuine public commitment to the well-being of the community, in all its many varied and diverse ways of life. Nor when its services are not required should it intrude upon the privacy and liberty of citizens.
To fulfil their role as a public service, a level of education and training is needed for entry into a profession that can stand alongside other public servants such as nurses, teachers and social workers instead of the in-service indoctrination of impressionable recruits lacking in either higher education or life-experience.
As for the many investigative and regulatory functions performed by the state, including law enforcement, appropriate agencies need to be formed and staffed by their own investigatory officials, with as much, or as little, powers of investigation and arrest as their statutory foundations allow them. Since much of this activity now takes place or is known about in cyberspace, regulatory and policing functions need to be focussed appropriately and competently by suitable agencies, rather than seen as simply another task to be grabbed by a squad of hastily trained police officers.
Finally, the maintenance of public order and safety should also fall within the capability of a civil harm-response service. Those political liberties upon which the police were founded did not sanction paramilitary force, nor do we need it now.
So I really must thank Bronwen for bringing these two shining examples of academia to my attention. Where would we be without Think Tanks and Acacemics? No rude answers please.