With All Due Respect
I may have been away knitting.
But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t paying attention.
The thing is, my working hours are filled with an endless stream of initiatives and new ideas. It makes for an entertaining and varied life I can tell you. At the start of most weeks I like to think I’m a crime fighter, just for nostalgic purposes you understand. This illusion is usually shattered by the time I’ve read through the office-spam that has built up over my relaxing break from the front-line.
By Day Two, I’m back in my proper role as either an HM Government statistics mandarin or form filling executive. It doesn’t matter much to me anymore; I get paid exactly the same amount for ticking boxes as I do for catching burglars. There are perks to the former too. I mean, how many forms with astonishingly smelly feet do you think I have to strip-search?
I’m sure it’s a relief for all of you to know that, while I‘m otherwise engaged, someone else is keeping a lid on things and making sure you’re safe. There was much fanfare to their launch, just two short years ago, and they even managed to identify forty zones worthy of their attention. None of which were in the Throbbing Metropolis, but why would we have needed their help here?
At the time, a minister got upset at critics and said they weren’t going to walk away from the problem. Nor was there any mention of ASBO’s, maybe because they were receiving a general panning at the time. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was that we were getting all this extra expertise. I’d really like to find out what a cracking job they surely did. Only I can’t.
You see, there is no longer any sign of them. Perhaps this means they’ve solved the problem and we now have a country full of respectful citizens? Well, in forty zones at least. Or maybe we don’t; as the links now take you to a new youth crime action plan. The wheel has been re-invented yet again and ASBO’s are back in fashion for this season.
I can’t believe how callously the squad has been chucked onto the scrapheap. I hope they got a good package after their twenty four months of toil. The cynical among you may question why we had them in the first place. You may want to point out that Sir Robert Peel came up with a good concept a couple of hundred years ago.
His squad is still going strong to this day and can often be found tackling yobbishness on a weekend night. They’ve even been known to tick the right boxes on the forms afterwards. In fact, some of them foolishly believe that getting stuck into ruffians and scallywags is what they were employed for in the first place. I know, I know, obviously this isn’t the case; what were they thinking?
The new action plan, set to be with us for the next twelve years, makes only one passing reference to policing and nothing at all about what the role of Sir Robert’s misguided disciples will be taking in all of this. Maybe the ex-members of the defunct Respect Squad are all over this one too. Let’s hope so.
We all know what a fine job they did.