BY ROGER WATSON
What is a working day like for the average police officer?
It is easy to be critical of our police force. If you have recently been burgled, as we have — twice in rapid succession — you will understand the one thing they don’t seem to have time to do is solve crimes. If you are burgled, you won’t even see an officer. You will get the opportunity to describe what has happened over the phone to someone who may not even be a police officer and given an incident number for insurance purposes, be offered counselling and never hear from them again.
I was mugged in London a few years ago and if they hadn’t nicked my mobile phone, I would have reported it on that. As it was, I reported it on my daughter’s mobile phone, but only to a website. This was not considered a sufficiently serious crime even to merit speaking to someone. For goodness’ sake — I wasn’t even offered counselling! A recent report reckoned that only six percent of crimes are solved. Frankly, I was surprised it was that many.
As Peter Hitchens repeatedly points out, despite some cuts in funding and numbers, we are not short of police officers and the number of police officers has grown out of proportion to the size of the population. Recently, they have received additional funding to fight crime but the problem is that this investment and the number of officers on the payroll does not translate into numbers of officers on the beat, which is known to be an effective way of reducing crime. More often than not they are only visible in patrol cars and their presence is usually announced by a blaring siren which seems to me like a warning that they are coming rather than a threat.
For the school leaver who decides that joining the police is the career for them they probably envisage a life of serving and protecting the community by preventing crime and apprehending those who commit crime. But the reality is quite different. They will spend a lot of time at a desk completing the inordinate amount of paperwork that almost every intervention they make with the public requires. They will rarely meet the public in the streets as this job has been devolved to community officers whose role nobody quite seems to understand, including them. If you ever speak to a police officer about the job, they will more often tell you what they are unable to do rather then what they can do, constrained as they are by a document referred to as the College of Policing manual. Strictly called the College of Policing Policing Guidance manual, this lies at the root of many of the problems that the police face. For example, their apparent obsession with recording, to the detriment of those so recorded, of ‘non-crime hate incidents’ despite being ordered to desist by the Court of Appeal and by the Home Secretary is another manifestation.
The concept of the non-crime hate incident came to the attention of the general public when the heroic Harry Miller, himself an ex-cop, had his ‘thinking checked’ by a police officer calling at his house after he made a few jokes on Twitter in 2018 and 2019 related to the Gender Recognition Act 2004. One of the offending tweets was:
Neither hilarious nor particularly offensive but the tweet led to a recording of a non-crime hate incident against him and then a three year legal battle to clear his name and a successful attempt to have this category of offence obliterated. Yet it remains on the College of Policing Policing Guidance manual. By February 2020 it was revealed that the police had recorded 120,000 non crime hate incidents since 2014.
Little wonder they have no time for real crime.
Then there is the obsession of the higher echelons of the police force with equality and diversity, especially with reference to sexuality and gender. I had barely picked myself off the floor from laughing at Norfolk Constabulary’s list of 37 sexual identities when along came the news that other police forces in the UK are recognising up to 67 sexual identities. It seems that police forces are tripping over themselves to see which ones can be the most woke and one of the best ways to do this is to allow criminals to sexually self-identify in almost any way they want. I say ‘almost any way’ because many in the criminal classes are not stupid. If so inclined, I would get hold of the list, make up a sexual identity not on the list, get myself arrested and then see through what hoops the police had to jump to accommodate my 68th sexual identity.
“We’ve got a right one here sarge!”
“What do you mean lad?”
“Claims he’s a ‘pansexual Vulcan non-binary variant’.”
“Better book him then lad; we’ll put him down for the time being as ‘other’ but set up a meeting with the Gender Identity Flying Squad. See if you can get them round here ASAP.”
Can you imagine how embarrassing it is for a police officer to turn up at the scene of a crime having to emerge from a multi-coloured patrol car and be taken seriously by the public or the criminals they have come to arrest? It would not surprise me if, for example, at a major drug bust the police were not first required to go around checking everyone’s preferred pronouns before asking them to get on the ground. Anything goes, I guess, to make our criminal classes feel safer, especially if they have gender identity issues. But I also wonder, with 67 possible sexual identities, are there even 67 criminals in the country who identify as other than male or female? Isn’t this just another case of a solution in search of a problem?
Roger Watson is a Registered Nurse and Editor-in-Chief of Nurse Education in Practice.