It's been a while and I have been meaning to post a few comments regarding some current issues. I may get around to it yet.
I have previously criticised police forces for the apparent ambition to attain a 50/50 balance of police officers and police staff. Some forces have exceeded 50% staff. The argument has always been that police staff are cheaper and therefore we get more for our buck. My argument has been that whenever we replace officers with staff we always have to employ more staff than officers and so there are no savings. I also argue that police staff don't understand the business of policing and cause inefficiencies because of this. I wanted to relate a couple of stories, in a light hearted way, to emphasise some of the problems. These are true stories from my force.
A former police officer, who is now running his own business, was fed up with the milk being delivered to his office being stolen. He got up early one day and waited and caught the offender. He marched them round to the police station which was only 200 yards away. The civilian at the front desk has been trained that if anyone comes to the police station to report a crime they are to be told to go to the phone in the front office put there for this purpose. The phone is a direct line to the crime recording bureau who take the details and give the victim a crime number, offer them victim support etc. The victim in this case repeatedly made the point that he wasn't just reporting a crime, he had the offender in custody. He got nowhere with the person on the desk and eventually rang the crime recording bureau. An hour after he first arrived at the police station, a police staff manager eventually realised that perhaps this was an exceptional case and a police officer would have to be dispatched to deal with the offender. The trouble was that there wasn't one at the police station and the victim had to wait another 20 minutes for a police officer to arrive from another town.
The second story is about a motorist who rang the police (rightly or wrongly) to report a problem in the road.
Motorist. "Hello, I have found a large hole in the road. It is dangerous and might cause an accident."
Operator "Hold on caller. I will put you through to someone who can help you."
The phone is transferred and answered. "Hello, lost and found property. How can I help you?"
7 months ago