I’m not usually the sort to get worked up over law and order issues. As I see it the powers that be have a nasty habit of exaggerating certain “threats”, such as knife crime, or the war on drugs (which we’re losing, unsurprisingly), terrorism, etc. purely as a means of control. This keeps the populace scared and easy to herd, just look at the queues at an airport for the pointless exercise of security theater (does anyone honestly expect a terrorist or drug dealer to walk through security forgetting he’s got an AK-47 in his bag or a kilo of coke in his briefcase? Won’t he be better off attacking the large queue of people rather than waiting till he’s on the plane?).
However that said, there are some ne’er-do-well types who commit crime and need to be locked up. Unfortunately, thanks to the Tory cuts, the police are now so overstretched that they can’t commit to basic law enforcement tasks, such as dealing with burglaries anymore. Instead they are way too busy dealing with other things such as terrorism (when was the last time there was an attack in the UK? Do we need tens of thousands of coppers to deal with something that happens every decade or so? And what exactly are MI-5 & 6 doing? Are they so crap at their job’s the cop’s now have to do it?) or cybercrime (I don’t think your average bobby is the best choice of person to be chasing down hackers….in another country!), sexual offences (like all those MP’s….who they never prosecuted!).
Or to put in another way the police are not in the grip of a massive real work avoidance strategy, devoting all of their efforts to the things the tabloids fret over and ignoring the very job they should be doing. This of course comes on the back of previous reports which have pointed to the fact that certain crimes have been more or less decriminalised, notably car crime, pick pockets and shoplifting. This has got to the point where some criminals have literally been dismantling people’s vehicles on the street without so much as a police siren to be heard. And here in Scotland we had that awful story of a couple left to die by the side of the M9 for several days because the police didn’t bother to follow up on a 999 call. Clearly the police force is creaking at the seams. And with further cuts on the way something needs to be done.
This is all very worrying. Some coppers point out that it could lead to a more confrontational style of policing, where on the rare occasions they do intervene, they act more like a posse of marshals in the old west, shooting first and asking questions later. And no doubt they’ll be wanting guns pretty soon also.
And its only a matter of time before some enterprising individual starts offering their “skills” and providing a vigilante service for locals, happily cracking the skulls of any petty criminals in the area for a fee. Of course history tells us that such types soon become worse than the criminals they set out to defend against. Just look at the Italian mafia. The Mafia got its start, because in 19th century New York the police were so badly resourced and corrupt, that protection from crime was a privilege for the well to do. Poor, recently arrive emigrants from Italy or Ireland had no such protection….until some criminals realised they could make more money selling protection and shaking down shop keepers than robbing places. So they set up a police department for wiseguy’s.
So Cameron and Osborne better do something about this quickly….or they might wake up some morning soon to find a horse’s head in their bed! :))