Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Policing and violent Crime

The type of Area Car Pop drove
Yesterday when I got off the train I walked into the middle of a crime scene at Gillingham station. Someone had been stabbed, there were officers at the ticket gates, in the streets and a helicopter over Livingstone circus searching for the culprit.

It got me thinking about Crime and the state and whether or not it had been different in the past.

My family had been in policing for almost a century until I broke the chain. My Great grandfather served before and after the First World War as well as in the General Strike. My Grandfather from the 1950's to 60's where he met and married WPC Audrey Bone and my father went on to be a PC in Devon and Cornwall for a bit. All saw crime of varying degrees but was it as bad as it is now?

It is very fashionable to use crime statistics and horrific crime to beat the incumbent Government (of any party) with but the simple fact is that things have never really changed.

Violent crime and murder has always been with us and I am afraid it always will no matter what deterrents are put in place. ( I can tell you a couple of horror stories my Grandfather told me!!!)

Things did change. During the 50's when Police officers went out on the beat and checked front doors they were a visible presence and always just a shout away in London. As time progressed and the Area car, which Granddad worked on before he became a desk Sergeant, became more prevalent the Police were more seen fleetingly until now their street level presence is somewhat more negligible. Policing has become a more reactionary and investigatory force rather than a preventative force or so it seems to the average citizen.

However violent crime, stabbings and shootings etc have been with us for centuries. The Ripper killings of 1888 were only notable because of the severity and nature of the deaths. Stabbings were nothing new and were in fact common place as were mysterious disappearances. Countless people disappeared from Eastham in the 1880s without a trace and yet the state paid little attention to it. Large metropolitan areas have always suffered from crime despite the best efforts of the Police and security forces.

I'm not saying that we should be tolerant of crime, in fact far from it. It is truly an abhorrent activity. We should be tackling the cause of crime - usually greed, desperation due to poverty or addiction, jealousy or substance abuse. Unfortunately at a time of low economic growth and with little money around crime is always the easy option as demonstrated in last year's riots in London. They weren't all politically motivated and any ill feeling caused by the shooting of Mr Dugan was quickly washed away by the drive to loot and steal.

I do think that great citizenry input into Policing is a good thing, after all an elected commissioner will, in theory, take the concerns and wishes of his electorate to the Chief Constable and hopefully work towards what the community feel they need from a local police force. The problem is that the big political parties have got involved and this is BAD for the Police force. My prediction is that it any CPC will become a Blue vs. Red style Well they never did this and we have.... sort of thing the way that Parliament has become, a rugby game between two opposing forces bent on hating each other rather than serving the community and this is not what it should be about nor should it become.

So what of punishments? Well Life should mean life. Jail terms are often seen as to light by those of us who do not commit crimes but that means more prisons. Should there be capital punishment for people like Ian Brady or Peter Sutcliffe? No, I don't necessarily think so. Though a case can be made for vicious psychotic killers like them but they are extreme cases. Should it be down to parents to enforce a greater level of understanding in their young children of "right and wrong"? Yes I think so but it goes much deeper, there is truly a severe lack of respect for one's elders and those in authority.

When my Grandfather was young he was caught playing in the river by the local bobby - he got a clip around the ear and sent home to his father.
In the 90's a boy was cheeky to an officer so the officer clipped him around the ear with his rolled up mack - he lost his job.
I'm not saying "Police Brutality should be allowed" - far from it but authority figures need to be respected by everyone.

I saw an interesting quote on Facebook last week in the wake of the Colorado shootings;
Tightening up the laws is one thing but show me a criminal who respects law.

I don't have any answers, only meanderings and thoughts.

There are no easy solutions to fighting crime nor improving the Police force but lets not pretend that party politics is part of any solution nor that this sort of anti social behaviour is anything new.

No comments:

Post a Comment