Sunday, 27 July 2008

Role of the police- moralising or enforcement of the law?

“When did the police start thinking it was their job to moralise about the people they arrest? “ Peter Hitchens asks in his column today.
He refers to the case of Anne Darwin and her disappearing and reappearing husband, which whilst fraudulent, clearly, is surely not the most despicable crime ever committed. Yet the Det. Inspector in charge of the case felt the need to damn Mrs Darwin as ‘out and out despicable’ and told us that he ‘didn’t have the time of day for her’. Maybe these are his feelings, but is it his role to voice them to the public in such a way?


As many have noted in the past, the organisation that was once a police "force" is now a "service" and it is little wonder that we have the situation we have, in this country that is so often referred to as "feral". Not only do we now have the police moralising and giving us their views on whether they think the sentence or non-sentence was appropriate but we also have them advetising themselves, as though they need to win favour with the people they are here to "serve".
My local paper has a full page advert for the police and their offshoots -PCSOs, street parking wardens, neighbourhood teams, town centre safety management teams et al - telling me that it is much safer to go into town of an evening this year than it was last year. There are, it seems a number of reasons for this.
Polycarbonate receptacles are used in pubs and clubs for drinking out of so I won't get "glassed" if I look at someone across the bar. An ID scan is in operation to prevent anyone who appears to be under twenty one from entering a night club. The bus station now has 64 cctv cameras (more cameras than buses it appears) for the police to "view". Officers from the "Town Team" will soon be equipped with head cameras to deter anti social behaviour by capturing the culprits on film (do they not know that many anti social behaviour incidents are captured by the culprits themselves on their own mobiles and posted on You Tube? )


There were just 13 robberies in Rotherham town centre last year compared to 21 the previous year - no doubt the other 8 or more were a metre outside the town "zone". I wish I could feel safer and more confident in the police with this advertising of themselves.
Unfortunately, I don't.
I just wish the council would stop spending money on introducing more and more groups and agencies to support the police who should be perfectly capable of doing the role of keeping law and order in control, themselves.