Sorry, I have been banging on about this for ages and I am sure you are getting bored with it.
I have written before about all this really useful advice we get from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC.) One minute they criticise us for not investigating a crime and tell us we need to do more and put more resource into that. The next we don't respond to someones call and we need to put more resource into that. So we move resources around in never ending circles to try and comply.
What really annoys me is that mostly it is about ensuring that everyones backside is covered rather than actually providing a better or more effective service.
This story caught my eye. A 15 year old girl is reported missing by her mother and we didn't rush around and take a report immediately. The girl turns up two days later and reveals to her mother that she has been having sex. This now turns out to be our fault as we didn't respond immediately.
To the layman this might sound harsh but every police officer knows the local teenage boys and girls who go missing on a regular basis. Most of them are sexually active, taking drugs and drinking. They go missing week in and week out and know the system very well. They also know they are vulnerable young people and we have to try and find them. Most of them think it is great laugh that the police waste thousands of hours looking for them.
What happens is the parents, children's home or sometimes hospital dial 999 and report them missing. As soon as they have done that their backside is covered and it becomes the responsibility of the police. They no longer have any responsibility for their charge. We go and fill in a huge missing person report and show them as missing on the police computer. We usually ring their mobile and often they answer it and say they are OK but they won't tell us where they are, unless they want a lift home. Our backside still isn't covered, so we phone relatives, visit friends and go round and round in circles until they decide they are ready to go home and ring us up for a lift.
I do feel really sorry for the parents of some of these children. It is really hard for them. For others it is of no surprise or consequence to them and no surprise to us that the kids are off the rails.
On this occasion we didn't rush around that night and take a report. We did so the next morning and we went round in circles trying to find the girl. She pitches up at home two days later and tells her mother she has been having sex. She won't make a statement to support a prosecution so there is nothing we can do about it, but the mother wants to blame someone and so it is now our fault as we didn't go and take a report straight away. So if we cannot answer your call for help when you are being beaten senseless and robbed it might be because we are wasting time rushing around immediately to take a report of another regular missing person as our backside needs to be covered. You can always complain to the IPCC and I am sure they will come up with more words of wisdom.
For the record I am not confusing those regular missing children with genuine missing children who are seriously vulnerable and at risk. We can spot those and deal with them appropriately.