http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/2010/10/16/anti-social-police-behaviour/ A short post by Peter Reynolds that makes many points on why so many of us are worried we have lost our policing traditions.
http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/PublicAndThePolice.pdf – a free book that backs up Peter’s post in some detail.
http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/cw35.pdf – some description of zero tolerance or broken windows policing, also free.
In the study I’ve been making of our police and courts, I’ve come across quite massive prejudice. Some of this can be seen on what we might call the Gadget-Knacker-Copperfield axis of police blogging and book publication, and is fairly good evidence of a widespread problem of denial, stereotyping and paranoid-schizoid demonisation, amongst some graphic, but sometimes accurate descriptions of dealing with an ‘evil poor’ and a ‘sold out’ management in cahoots with ZanyPFNulabour government. Nightjack was by far the best of these and can be found at Ambush Predator – http://nightjack2.wordpress.com/
Nulabour poured money in and the cops basically spent it on themselves through increased numbers, promotions, over-time and perks. There is some good description on this at Steve’s thinblueline – http://thinbluelineuk.blogspot.com/
The vast majority of stories on policing over the last twenty years have been on improvements and “falling crime”. We can have no faith in any of this and now HMIC is admitting police gave up the streets and have not been dealing with antisocial behaviour –http://www.hmic.gov.uk/Programmes/antisocialbehaviour/Pages/home.aspx
We are now used to the way senior police figures wheel out tired excuses and phrases over other people’s dead bodies. They will be ‘learning lessons’, but in fact never do. They just change officers when it all happens again. The voices of victims are more or less silenced unless they die and there has to be some kind of vaguely independent review. Here HMIC has taken a long time to respond, and only done so after the demise of NuLabour. The IPCC is a laughable talking-shop operation, and not worthy of anything other than disbandment.
What reorganisation we are about to get will be largely about saving money, though I suspect we will lose even more civil rights ground in that our cops make become even less capable of protecting peace. What we have seen mooted so far is more or less a traditional decimation of the legions, though jobs rather than heads will roll. There is nothing radical in this, and no reason to believe more can be done with less via this route.
I would ask all the people involved in police reorganisation one initial question. ‘What do you know about organisational theory and design’? I suspect most of the answers, if honest, would be ‘zip-squared, minus one’. I doubt many would even extend to the classic undergraduate text by Richard Daft. What we do find a great deal of is people claiming only their special experience is relevant, especially that only cops can know about policing. This is dangerous stuff, typical of the buffoon approach to organisational change. Most cops will turn out to have been turkeys voting for the Xmas that is coming to them. I would add no relish to the dinner, but can safely say ‘I told you so’ (check the archives).
There is no reason to have any special sympathy with police over the cuts. Others will fare worse and be less well protected by redundancy payments and early retirement and such. Many in the private sector will be worst hit as their jobs go because the public sector is being cut. The problem as I see it, is that nothing will be done in this downsizing to surface the real problems and deal with the real cancers.
More later – comments welcome. The guys in the picture would be cheaper – Gadget has it that similar have already replaced much of the rest of the scut-end of the CJS.