Brian's Brief Encounters

This is an Unofficial Kaffe Fassett fanzine. Brought to you from a Leafy Suburb of the Throbbing Metropolis.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Common Sense Exercise

It seems that more people want to see my friendly face.

You’re fed up with me chugging past in my low powered diesel vehicle making lots of noise and often delaying your important car journey by ten seconds. That’s just not good enough for you anymore.

No, you want to see more ‘bobbies on the beat’; especially now that the bus conductors definitely aren’t coming back. I’m sure that when you’re setting policies this one may feature somewhere in the top ten. That’s fine with me, I quite like the idea. Except if it’s a bit chilly or drizzly that is.

I’m not too sure that the handful of officers covering half a county between them every night would be with me on this. But, in the Throbbing Metropolis it wouldn’t be too bad. There are more of us to go around and we have 24 hour buses should we need to get somewhere in a hurry.

Obviously there are one or two downsides. Not that they’re very important; nor are they likely to take the shine off of my stress-free days strolling around the streets of Small Corner chit-chatting with reassured policy makers.

Drawback number one would be the advantage Police cars have over Police officers when it comes to carrying equipment. There is enough in your average low powered diesel vehicle to make a team of sherpas summon reinforcements. Not that we need all of this for every call you understand, it’s there just in case. Foot patrol virtually guarantees that everything you attend will require an item or form that is normally in the boot of the car. Not an insurmountable problem. I can just walk back to the station and get it.

The second problem may be harder to overcome. You see, looking reassuring and waving at small children is all well and good if it wasn’t for one minor detail. That would be those times when our crystal ball has malfunctioned and we weren’t walking along the right street at the precise moment a crime is being committed. On those occasions you may feel the need to reach for the phone and correct these errors. In fact you’re really good at this and we get between ten and twelve thousand calls for these oversights. That’s across the Metropolis each and every day. I think we might need a new crystal ball.

A good number of these are graded as ‘emergency’ calls. This means that we have to get to them within twelve minutes to keep the statisticians and performance managers happy. Every now and then they turn out to be real emergencies. Police cars are pretty useful for getting us there within the time limit. If we were all on foot we might have to get that limit extended a bit. Is an hour okay with you?

All this hot-footing around to meet the time limits may delay us in getting to the non-urgent calls. Sorry about that. Maybe we could pop round during a normally quiet period to discuss the youths who were playing football in your street last week?

I’m sure you’ll be pleased to see my friendly, reassuring face.

Somewhere between four and six in the morning.


At 25/11/05 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can just imagine a policeman walking down the road, pushing a wheelbarrow of all the things (s)he needs. What happens if the policeman spots someone committing a crime, and gives chase (on foot), this works fine until the miscreant jumps in his nearby car. At which point the policeman tries to remember where he parked his car... Oh yeah, he's got the priviledge of being a beat bobby today, no car, oh well, just call for backup. Oh no, wait, 12minutes it will take for an Emergency call to get there. What's the point they'll be long gone by then.

Bobbies wandering the streets were a good idea back when the speed limit around the country was an un-reachable 12miles an hour, and people who owned cars were few and far between. And in bustling metropolitan areas, where even if a criminal was to jump in a car, the traffic will just get in the way. Or pedestrian areas, like shopping districts/centres. However, vast ammounts of the country now, bobbies on the street simply aren't going to be very useful/effective. Hopefully once people can get it into their heads that "the way it used to be done" simply isn't the best way any more, hopefully they'll start trying to set policy which might actually be useful (although I have this sneaky feeling that the definition of policy forbids this!)

Bobbies on the street can only really be used as a detterant from opportunistic crimes, and quite frankly they're probably more use attending actual crimes.

At 25/11/05 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Central London I have seen PCs on mountain bikes. (and admittedly lycra shorts over their bulging muscular thighs...) But I'm told by some who work in the City that these police cyclists are very effective.

So there's a possible solution.

At 25/11/05 1:21 PM, Blogger MuppetLord said...

We have Police Cyclists in Blackpool. I actually saw one chasing a car once....and he was catching up. Do they have a special diet?

At 25/11/05 4:16 PM, Anonymous Roy Bachellier said...

When I was very young I clearly recall a Met Police statistic that told us they could have a car respond to any point in London within three minutes! Obviously today that's impossible. I question the twelve minute limit now, HOW was this arrived at and was it properly explained to the officers on the sharp end?
To have any real chance at credibility there would have to be a s--tload of actual response times reviewed. Was there?
Where I live in Canada there are occasional response times of several hours, clearly not a major mayhem affair. Most responses do seem to be pretty quick though.

At 25/11/05 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I police a huge area of mid/west Wales and take great pleasure in taking my car to some of our more remote villages, parking up, and walking around. It is impossible to gather intelligence on what is happening within the community from the car. You have to talk to people, not just victims and suspects, to get that.

Meanwhile my response rate can easily be 40 minutes plus depending which end of the patch I'm on. Things always happen at the other end - which can be over an hours drive away !

At 25/11/05 5:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this blog, an avid reader.

In my naivety about policing (I am just an NHS worker y'know) I have questions about this post. Isn't this about pro-active prevention rather than retrospective reaction?

Isn't that actually what the police force is there to do, prevent crime or should they just be there to pick up the pieces after the event?

NB Maximum respect to y'all.

At 25/11/05 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An NHS worker said..."Isn't that actually what the police force is there to do, prevent crime or should they just be there to pick up the pieces after the event?"

Maybe. Isn't the NHS supposed to prevent illness rather than wait for people to get ill then treat them?

I suspect it's 6 of one, half a dozen of the other.

At 25/11/05 10:32 PM, Blogger Argos_Employee said...

Better yet, why doesnt the Met get a bus so everyone can drop off at different points if they need to make enquiries, and they catch it on the way back.

Well there is always the wheelbarrow!

At 26/11/05 3:25 AM, Anonymous A non mouse said...

No, pro-active prevention isn't better that retrospective reaction. Not in policing.

Or to be honest, it would be, but it is unobtainable. You see, unless you can have a police officer on every street, on every corner, all that Billy Burglar is going to do is think "Hmm, policeman walking in this street, I'll hop in my car (you see, the government hasn't yet made the policy putting the burglars out on foot), drive to a different area and burgle there instead. At least its one copper that won;t be coming to get me."

Cynical perhaps, but still true. If people are going out to commit crime, they'll do it. All pro-active policing will do is move it somewhere else. Retrospective reaction (like that term) is better as long as you catch them!

I'd always prefer a plan clothes operation to catch the criminals than a high visibility one to put them off for five minutes.

At 27/11/05 11:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The NHS Worker says...

Thank you for answering people. I think I understand now.

And yes, the NHS should be about prevention. As soon as we get a Govt that invests in that instead of just surgery then we'll make a difference!


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