Sad ‘News’ On Police Numbers – But Be Wary

We have news today of substantial reductions in police numbers.  I believe our police are inefficient and often fail the people they should be protecting, but I don’t welcome any of this cutting – much as predicted by thinblueline long ago.  In the weird way economics works we can’t ‘afford’ any of the public sector cuts.  The cuts can be found in a link above on ‘austerity’ and the research the claim that a 10% reduction will lead to a 3% increase in crime in the other link.  What was actually said in that research follows:

3. The weight of evidence is strengthened by the fact that the extant studies use a
variety of methods. However the causal claims made by many of them are
somewhat doubtful, and care should be taken when interpreting the results.
4. Most of these recent studies converge on two key findings:
a. Higher levels of police are linked to lower levels of property crime.
Evidence for an association between police numbers and violent crime is
b. A summary of existing studies would put the elasticity of property crime
in relation to police numbers at approximately -0.3 – that is, a 10 per cent
increase in officers will lead to a reduction in crime of around 3 per cent
(and vice versa). ‘Conclusion’ at this stage is a misnomer. Despite the apparent consistency of recent research it is too early to say, for all the reasons given above, that there is a direct causal link between higher numbers of police and lower crime. Considerably more work would need to be done before such a claim could be made. In particular, more work is needed on the difference in the (potential) effect of specific, large-scale changes in deployment patterns due to terrorist attacks and other shocks, and that of general numbers of police or arrest rates averaged across a large number of areas. A related task is to locate the boundary between marginal changes in numbers – which go unnoticed – and gross changes – which can have a marked impact on crime. What seems fair to say, however,is that there is relatively strong evidence for the potential of an effect of police numbers on crime, particularly with regard to property and other acquisitive forms of offending.

In plainer words, we don’t know the links between police numbers and crime.

Many people have become fed-up with our public services generally and we hear a great deal about how much better they would be in the hands of the much more efficient private sector.  This is that private sector that sends jobs abroad, ‘pays’ a few people fortunes and turns out to have been involved in all kinds of excess and inefficiency the tax payer has had to fund and hasn’t finished funding.

We need more police not less and there is a labour force with nothing else to do waiting to do the job.  “Economics” means we can’t go down this route.  Police inefficiency is due to factors across the CJS and our society generally – yet the ‘only means’ to fix this is to sack a load of people – most trying their best.

The idea of a link between police numbers and crime is silly.  Roughly speaking, British Leyland might have needed 60 workers to produce one car and a modern plant 6 – yet the new plant has all kinds on innovation and investment.  Copperfield has made this point in comparing his jobs here and in Canada.  There are clearly likely to be many links between police numbers, investment, system improvements and social conditions and crime.

Factories wiped out people and yet increased production – but this was nearly always because of new machines and improved business processes.  Whilst I believe we need radical economic solutions to much wider problems, police staff could have been offered other solutions, such as wage cuts and salary caps to cope with the cuts.

The real issues of crime and policing it remain unaddressed.  In terms of increases in crime, the collapse of world economics is likely to be a bigger factor than any redundancies in police staff.  It is doubtful that police really prevent crime as many anti-social crime incidents merely repeat because the intervention of agencies is so useless anyway.  Doubling or halving useless action is not likely to lead to change.  If police could attend Pilkington-like incidents and stop them more officers would not be needed – as they can’t stop the jerks involved prevention would entail vast presence and number increase to prevent by presence.

This kind of sacking to make cuts is stupid in a world in which the private sector cannot take up the slack.  Apart from anything else, those officers left in post will be over-paid against the norms now – the salary cap and pay cut route presents much more value for the tax payer and for the poor sods who lose their jobs and probably for those left with increasing demand.


Dennis O’Connor Tells The Truth: police and politicians have been lying for 30 years

BBC News is giving air-time today on a belated report and research by HMIC. Police have given up our streets to antisocial crime over the last 30 years.  In the meantime of media space they air a ‘death by Powerpoint’ sketch demonstrating academics have realised they are so dull it is a good idea to give presentations in underwear.  I have so far constrained my own activities in this area to telecommuting, in trollies but sans webcam.

Dennis O’Connor is right.  Our police have become an utter disaster, though this extends far beyond their inability to form decent response teams.  Other agencies are as bad or much worse.  Courts, Town Hall agencies and politicians fail us almost entirely, and this is often in spite of officers trying to do decent work.  The silence of human rights institutions on these matters, crucial to our own people’s well-being, whilst pratting about on immigrant issues, sexism and diversity is a crime.

The jaundiced eye, made so perhaps by suffering as a victim, might see Dennis Connor as very conveniently late and post ZanyPFNulabour, wanting boots on the ground just as ACPO will want to remove them to protect its chocolate-dipped strawberry budget.

What we need is new, working legislation, legal representation for victims, and for victims to be brought into the resource equation, forcing bureaucrats to do the right thing by them with the thought of severe compensation claims when they dump recidivists next door.

Dennis is not really talking solutions.  Neighbourhood Watch and the rest have already failed.  We need legislation to stop noise, threats, abuse and the presence of behaviour that makes us feel threatened.  The BBC gave air-time to an ACPO fool and a Police Authority clown.  They rolled out the usual platitudes and were not asked any of the serious questions or directly confronted by victims.  Both men should be sacked.  I heard every one of their feeble excuses years ago, as nothing was done over more than seven years.

What we need starts with cops who can and will do something.  They need to be able to seize noise making equipment (with aggressive  noise, and noise that intrudes into other people’s homes being something we effectively ban) and treat disorder like domestic violence and street gangs on the basis that it harms others who have to witness the rubbish.  If kids won’t pay attention to elders and treat them with respect and are engaged in bullying, we need severe censure of what allows this, including non-parenting parents and schools.  Evidence, and how we gather and present this, needs to be effective, and we have to stop people just being able to lie about what they are doing and ‘going no comment’.  Cases need to be properly recorded and collated, and the collated evidence needs to be usable in a manner that stops repeat perpetrators and all the agencies from escaping responsibility, blaming victims and claiming (like Inspector Gadget) nothing can be done.

Once again, we are in a situation in which the very people who have been failing for 30 years are put in charge of change and can lay claim they have been doing something new and we should wait for the outcome.

Gadget, Copperfield and contributors to such blogs are not wrong per se.  They get that the situation is crap right and that lots of silly crap is reported by idiots.  Their bosses are clearly overpaid toadies.  Yet there is very little focus on their own role in not being able to report this openly and get things changed.  They are cowards, but this needs to be seen in the sense that we all are, confronted with the threats of losing our jobs and what whistle-blowing really means.  We need reporting systems that understand this ‘cowardice’ and do not have them.  IG and his mortgage slaves are only like the rest of us, and we get pretty nasty once we get into denial and the protection of our own interests.  Indeed, we know from research and deep in our hearts that we blame victims for their plight, and are scared to publicly report what we feel as the truth.  If this was not the case, we would not need confidentiality in research to get people to respond.

A key issue that is not addressed is that of lying complainants.  The existence of these clowns makes it difficult for anyone to complain, not least because relevant authorities will smear anyone suggesting they are not doing their job.  Cops and other professionals lie to, and the presence of bureaucratic bullying and its extent is a scandal.  Evidence is key, yet the difficulties in gleaning it expose victims in almost every case.  The authorities use this to their own advantage to suppress complaints.

The whole model needs to be reworked, starting with work on who will do the reworking.  What we get in this country is bureaucratic non-solutions that could never address the real problems.  The IPCC is a classic example, probably meant to fail in case we ended-up with an organisation that could do anything about stopping miscarriages of justice.  There was plenty of good talk, then all was lost because we have to complain to police forces for a decision on investigation.  It’s even worse in forensics, where no investigation of bent evidence is even in the remit.

What we should do is get evidence of very serious cases out in the open and work out how to stop them happening again, admitting that they do despite (and because of) ‘senior promises’ they won’t.  Gadget et al need to be out in the open too – not personally – I agree this is mortgage capability suicide – but through a proper reporting system run on behalf of the public and victims.

The solutions are about partnership working, but the problem is also about easy bullshit about partnership working.  Senior promises are that it all bliss and excellence, the reality that it is like platting snot, says the ‘partnership inspector’ over a pint, planning his return to shifts after only a month with Town Hall dorks.

A huge problem I’ve been taking a look at is that our cops are working in a state of exasperation about louts and ‘evil poor’, and have lost the kind of tolerance needed with ordinary people in an odd bit of trouble, or have become victims.

The problem, in short, is that we are too cowardly even to discuss the real problems in the open.  Much that  appears ‘open’ such as media debate is , in fact, very closed.  It’s actually a disgrace that ACPO clowns and similar get the air-time without being surrounded by victims with axes.  One might not want quite that in practice, but we don’t get the real problems out.  One get today started to bleat on about policing being complex and having to balance terrorism issues and needs against dealing with antisocial criminals.  That’s right, “get”.  Another “get” went on about who victims would feel better if they knew cops knew who the troublemakers were and fixed them up with support when they weren’t there.  Cops already know who the troublemakers are and tell victims there is nothing they can do (only to lie later that they did say this).  The ‘answers’ on offer have already failed.  If our senior idiots think they can get away with this, the answer is to sack them until one paid fool comes up with something that works.

Victims only tend to be believed once they are dead, or can be made into politically useful pawns in speeches of promises, or given ‘jobs’ like Sarah Payne or Helen Newlove.  These two excellent women sound  far more convincing and just as ‘professionally’ competent as the overpaid dullards in politics and senior positions.  We should be learning from this and working out we don’t need ‘super-individuals’ who need massive sinecures to be ‘motivated’ to take jobs – they and attitudes towards pay are part of the problem.

Much as I am disgusted by ‘evil poor’ behaviour, the real problem lies amongst the rest of us and our ignorance, selfishness and ‘morality’.  We possess the first two, lack the latter and foist the pretensions of politesse and etiquette soaked-up as moral on all argument, killing it dead.  Tell me that some dork on £150K a year and free trips to Japan to read dismal papers a nurse thought up trying to qualify herself out of the job driving her up the wall as her own, who kills Baby Q is not more criminal than some low IQ thief who might be otherwise with a factory job.  The rest of us have become turkeys who won’t vote for against Xmas because it comes every day for us on the back of other people’s work and misery.  Baby Q scapegoats even persist in telling us the systems they claimed to create while in sinecure, were wonderful.  How many crap senior cops told us the same in the last 30 years and must have been lying on antisocial crime, killing the Askews and Pilkingtons of this world?  How many politicians knew they were lying and found this entirely convenient?  My own MP is one and still a “member” (think dick) of our illustrious, honest new Parliament – the one about to throw several million on the dole scrap-heap, with LibDems hanging around like professional wailers at the funeral.

To get at real solutions to rotten orchard problems like policing, we need new thinking at radical levels.  I mean new, not some clapped-out Marxism or even Vince Cable (likeable as he is).  My guess (and we need guessing) is we need thought experiments.  If robots were like Data and could do all the work, what “morality” would we want to extract from a “work ethic” – one for robots?  We would hardly build them to look down on us as evil poor, nicotine stained, idle scum, would we?  “Robots” do a lot of our work for us now.  We could currently import ‘cheap cops’ from abroad (Bahrain does this).  We do this throughout the rest of our system.  Sure it makes ‘sense’ to bring in IT skilled people who can count (most of us are really not very numerate or good at logical thinking) from India.  Bringing in in smarter people seems to make sense until you realise 90% of our taxi drivers are imports too (even if second generation) and know the white denizens one used to see are not likely to have become university teachers (though I did), and the people who would otherwise be taxi drivers are probably unemployed.  No I’m not racist, grow up.

The links in this blog come from Zemanta – useless, but an example of what technology might do for us once we get it right.  We need to deploy technology in our public debate to stop the overpaid liars who dominate it now continuing with the pretences in which we remain spectators.  Newsnight and other middle-class dross is some modern version of the gladiator circus.  Paxman is actually a limp arty-farty, not Spartacus, a palooka there to set up politicians to look as though they can box.  We have become so dumb we don’t realise today’s report means everyone who told us police were doing their job has been lying.  No, don’t take this to mean I think all are cops are useless shirkers and liars, grow up.

The real solutions probably involve freeing people up from financial dependence on jobs and new forms of discipline.  What we are doing is continuing with a core programme of dud assumptions about life that doom us to failure.  We can’t even get a cop to the door to sort out noisy neighbours, bullying, intimidation and petty crime, and only deal with petrol bombers after they have been signalling intent for 20 years.  “Success” is simply about earning enough to live away from such problems by containing them where we aren’t.  This makes us more evil than any “evil poor”.  Imagine Fiona Pilkington’s story told as Preistley’s  ‘An Inspector Calls’, and then think that some overpaid arty-arses at our National Theatre have reworked the play without thinking this up.