How Would We Know Our Cops, Social Workers and Politicians Are Any Good?

Good policing was once defined as ‘an absence of crime’ – round here we have just ‘welcomed’ a long-term recidivist thieving get, his floozy-druggie and the three kids they seem to have acquired, back into the area for about the umpteenth time.  Some combination of probation, housing and social services have managed to get hold of a private tenancy for them.  Other toe-rags are already showing up after a long absence in the street.  Crime will go up – but is the is fault of police?  The house was on the market at a rent that could have got these ‘people’ into a more middle class area than this, but somehow they always get inflicted on this one, where he built up over 900 convictions before he was 15.  The guy who has rented to them doesn’t know about them yet, which is interesting given the role of the agencies.

Lots of questions arise from this about ‘the absence of crime’ defining good policing.  Doesn’t look much of a favourite.

Good social working might mean an absence of BabyPs – yet these will continue and we will hear they are inevitable, much as cops will continue to tell us violent people they have been warned about are just a fraction of all the warnings they get.

Politicians will keep lying to us through spin.  We will continue saying we hate them all, whilst saying our own MP is fine (the figures just don’t add up, do they?).

Lots of ways are used to convince us our services are “three star” – these are all bunk and juked.  The answer should be a new form of public dialogue by now – but we ain’t got that.  The key is to go about evaluation in a manner that stops those parties interested only in outcomes positive (or at least damage limited) for their interests having any control on input and access, and ensuring contributors can maintain confidentiality on identity.  The analysis phase  should be peer review.

We shy away from education-democracy based social evaluation and tend to go for leadership rather than open argument.  Hardly surprising given how dumb we are at argument – yet how dumb would we remain if we had new forms to argue in and with – in which the “dumb” had less reason to suspect what the “smart” do with Reason?  We won’t get any real answers on the state of our society until we get argument up to modern speed.  Education has failed – but maybe most can’t be skilled in argument?  I know from university teaching they can’t.  Most couldn’t build a car either, but most can drive them.  We need ‘drivable debate’.  This ain’t what we are getting, and we have to sweep away a huge, self-interested class of liars and make sure their system goes with them.

In the meantime, there probably is evidence most of our services and politics remain at crap squared minus one levels.  You can see it leaking out on Gadget and similar blogs over the public sector.  The same people rise to defend their own and fine officers doing their best in trying circumstances.  We probably need to suspect this latter more than we do, as these street-level bureaucrats are too scared to speak out to power and bloat themselves up as heroic, whilst quivering away scared they will lose their jobs if they tell the truth as they see it.  Just imagine this becoming a credibility point in a court of law. ‘Do you tell the truth to your superior officers and the public officer?’  ‘No, I’m worried about my mortgage’.  ‘So you often do not tell the truth officer, when your personal advantage may be put at risk?’  You get the drift.

Could it be that our ‘democratic’ societies are actually stuffed to the gills  with people too scared of losing jobs to speak out?  I suspect this is the case.  Too lazy to bother knowing much about their own history, let alone anyone else’s?  I know so.  We are so dumb on history that our media highlight a teenage tosser with 500 convictions – yet this teenage and recidivist for the next 30 years problem is as old as the hills.  We avoid proper recording and analysis of our problems – this is why we can’t get rid of them.

One obvious thing is that bureaucrats can’t do objective work for the same reason as Gadget-likes. Too much vested interest in earning a living.


11 thoughts on “How Would We Know Our Cops, Social Workers and Politicians Are Any Good?

  1. You say that we have to sweep away a huge class of self interested liars and make sure their system goes with them. I cannot argue with that statement ACO, and an attempt to do just that was made in May at the general election. New Labour were ‘swept out’ and some of their crap has since been swept out by Theresa May, regarding many of the unnecessary and draconian laws and oppressive surveillance introduced by New Labour.

    However, I suspect that the ‘sweeping out’ within politics has not yet gone far enough, as some still cling to old and rather dangerous notions of what is actually ‘in the best interests of the people, this country and future generations’.

    We hear it and read it, time and time again in the media when certain politicians keep on repeating the same old lies about what the country ‘needs for our security’.
    These lying and rather stupid people are certainly NOT ‘serving the people’ by their blatant dismissal and disregard of security service Intelligence warnings.

    The ‘job’ I was given a long time ago was to speak out and to tell the truth about some very controversial matters. I don’t fear ‘losing’ my job, for actually doing my job. I fear losing my patience with the idiots in government and elsewhere, who just carry on regardless, and with no consideration for the future and the danger to which they are subjecting billions of people.

    Just as bad, are those who are supposed to be on the same ‘side’ as myself, who say nothing to support the truth they do know to be accurate and credible.

    Even worse however, are those who chose to laugh, mock and even undermine by vicious smears and sabotage, someone telling the truth to help others.

    I suspect that is a case of their own fears, and or vested interests dominating over doing what is right, or just plain ignorance and/or arrogance.

    People at the top don’t always want to hear the truth, especially if it involves a scandal or two about people in high places. Nor do they want to hear truth if it upsets their cosy status quo, or prevents them from having an easy life. Nor do many people want to hear the truth, if that truth forces them to take a determined stand against something really evil and dangerous.
    Nor do they want the truth to be known by the public if that truth makes them look incompetent or bad in some way.

    Some may not trust the public, or even the public servants to hear the full truth of a bad situation, for fear their experiences and actions will be misinterpreted and their words twisted by those who seek to suppress or hide the truth, for whatever reasons.

    I know this to be true from personal experiences, history!

  2. My experience has been much the same Intel. I believe we can do better. Criticism is almost always not taken as positive help. Oscar Wilde once said something like ‘telling someone the truth only ensures their revenge’.

  3. Doing ones job and speaking out against paedophiles and other dangers to the public isn’t criticism ACO….

    Yes, the authorities COULD do better and maybe they will.

    Telling the truth WAS my revenge on the bad guys!

    Their ‘revenge’ was to smear my name with lies and nonsense, in a pathetic attempt to undermine me.

  4. I remember the day I told an assistant chief constable that we didn’t have the right tools or level of expertise to do a particular job he’d authorized my firearms unit to perform. ` Why is this, Mr Hogday?` he demanded. `Your predecessor told me we could do such a thing`. Being a truthful soul, with my loyalties squarely placed alongside my former peers of junior ranking colleagues, I explained why. This was in simple terms, including the lack of tactical equipment and the need for training time to bring us up to a standard that would keep his arse reasonably safe in the event of independent scrutiny following a fatal shooting. There was a culture of `self-belief`, which although laudable as a basis for motivation and team building, quite simply lacked substance, in certain crucial areas, that could back it up under detailed examination. I believe that state of affairs is endemic.

  5. The KISS thing always strikes me in this vein Hog. The amount of selection training and resource needed to achieve this is enormous,but idiots use the acronym as though you can just go out and ‘do it’. The detailed examination seems to be the first thing ruled out in evaluation,and indeed, rendered impossible by ‘procedure’.

  6. I think we know when politicians are good when they don’t come up with ideas that are just as bad as the last lot.

    Someone on Dave Cameron’s team has just come up with the notion that they are ‘going after’ the benefit cheats who cost the country about £1 billion per year. Error in the system has been stated as costing a great deal more, which also needs to be looked at to save money.

    Fair enough, but when government keeps on insisting that the country ‘needs’ to spend approx £20 BILLION on replacing Trident, against security service Intel warnings and against the efforts of the UN Security Council, who are doing their best to reduce the stocks of nuclear weapons in the world… has to wonder!

    The government could also save a huge sum of money, millions if not billions, by scrapping the NHS database planned to contain all the personal details of patients.
    The database is also a risk to personal security of individuals, from hackers and from abuses of power and position of those employed by the NHS.

    However, the latest government idea to ‘go after’ alleged benefit cheats is to employ private enterprise, credit check firms and credit companies to go through claimants bank and credit card statements, to see if they are living beyond their means. Anyone on benefits who has a low limit credit card IS living beyond their means, but that doesn’t make them a benefit cheat.

    This latest idea will mean private companies being given the power to snoop on individuals bank accounts etc, which is just as intrusive as New Labour’s Orwellian Big Brother state, that the coalition government promised they would abolish.

    Some are already pointing out that the idea is a violation of civil liberties, and that far more money is lost by H.M Treasury in unpaid tax dodges.

    It’s fair enough that people who falsely claim benefits should be stopped from doing that, but they are in the minority. What struck me about the idea of giving people in the private sector powers over the individual and their bank accounts, is that it could lead to vulnerable people being targeted and exploited. Probably just as much as the risks of abuses of power from the over mighty state and its agents abusing R.I.P.A, as we have already seen in recent years.

    The private sector snoops would be on some sort of ‘bounty’ for every benefit cheat they catch, which could lead to a witch hunt against the vulnerable and genuine claimants.

    At least David Cameron did a U turn on the plans to stop the free school milk for kids. I think he means well.

  7. This is very worrying politics. Sure, benefits cheats need a shoeing and it’s very sweet to leave milk with our under 5’s. No substance in either ‘policy’ of course. Even in the milk they only looked at cutting it – not spending the money on something more sensible like free meals for all kids at school.
    Cameron is a very old kind of Tory, buying votes in the new rotten borough.

  8. Yes it is worrying politics. VERY worrying and not really that much of a change for the better. Chris Huhne should hang his head in shame because of his U turn on nuclear power stations. Many LibDems are not at all happy about his change of idea and sudden support for a new generation of polluting nuclear. A huge mistake.

    Had Cameron not done a U turn on the free school milk issue, he would have had bad press from it. Heir to Blair doing what he thinks will get him public approval, and the latest is ‘bash the benefit claimants’ to please the far right of the Tories, and a begrudging public.

    I’m not so sure that Dave Cameron is strictly and old type of Tory, because he has tried to be more liberal in his thinking and vision of what could be. He was at one time in support of the legalisation of cannabis, but was heavily criticised for that by the press and the ‘toxic’ right wing of his party. He also had support for truly green renewable forms of energy, but again I suspect that the ‘toxic’ far right of the Tories [and Labour] have imposed their misguided beliefs on the ‘need’ for nuclear.

    Very worrying indeed.

    What did you mean in your comment above ACO…..

    “It’s the mechanism of denial that interests me”.

  9. We all get things wrong Intel. The way forward is to be able to recognise incompetence and work on it in the open. It’s no use just calling for this as ‘love-trust’ models don’t work. We need a deeper understanding of the general dirty hands reasoning that is in use, without falling into the trap of believing it is clever to be sneaky. It’s no doubt necessary to bribe to be successful in the arms trade, but this is no model for getting society better than it is. Yet how do we make the breakthrough to honesty that isn’t a mug’s game.

    I suspect the ‘mechanism’ involves forgetting and a lack of recorded public scrutiny and is very complex. In business we get the specs right and recorded – yet this is not true in public decision-making. Remember ‘Lucky Break’ from Suez – seems to me he was in Iraq working as a taxi driver. Tell most people what happened in the Suez thing and they think you are a nutter. Tell them just after they’ve read the Sun on us being 45 minutes from Saddam doom and gthey think you are a traitor.
    We should be prepared for the dirty game, but somehow never are. It’s hard to model, but I think we could (other than as Dr.Strangelove’s Game).

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