PROTECTING AND SERVING

Police officers encounter difficult situations.

Recently a female WMP officer, called to a domestic dispute, was effectively partially scalped when chunks of her hair were pulled out by the roots. The offender was prosecuted but escaped a prison sentence.

West Midlands Chief Constable, Thompson, outraged by this, undertook, in future, to provide impact statements to courts where officers are injured. Impact statements allow crime victims to tell the sentencing court how they were affected by the crime.

Where a police officers are assaulted in the course of their duty and suffer injury, the offender should go to jail, straight to jail and without collecting a social worker on the way.

The Sentencing Council directs courts on appropriate sentences for particular offences. It should state that prison is the right result for those who commit this crime. Courts must then follow that direction unless there are exceptional circumstances.    

As the police protect society, so society must offer police officers proper protection.

 

Something pretty asinine.

Heroin is a class A drug. Its possession a serious offence. The reason is the effect use has upon the user and the consequences for society. “Mental function is clouded” It affects “decision making, the ability to regulate behaviour and responses to stressful situations” Highly addictive, addicts engage in “uncontrollable drug seeking no matter the consequences” [The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse].

Put shortly a heroin user exposes himself and others to risk. An addict will do anything to obtain the drug. A recent report, claiming that half the burglaries, thefts, shopliftings and robberies are committed by addicts, supports this.

Despite these facts, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Jamieson has suggested that heroin should be available through the National Health Service, prescribed by doctors to addicts. Why he thinks valuable NHS resources should be diverted to satisfy druggies is a mystery. Feeding addicts more drugs, for free, is likely to increase the number of crimes committed when they are “off their head” and puts the public at greater risk. The idea that an addict will wait for a G.P. appointment to get their prescription fix and not resort to the alternative market, if necessary stealing to fund the purchase, is ludicrous. Nor does the proposal offer help to an addict. It panders to the addiction.

A tenable explanation for the recent increase in violent crime in London is that it’s drug related; caused by territorial wars between drug gangs, committed by those on drugs or as a result of dealers arming themselves for their own protection.

The answer is not to condone drug use but to adopt a zero tolerance approach, with rigorous law enforcement and severe penalties.

 

On the beat.

A visible presence of police officers is both a deterrent to criminals and a reassurance to the law abiding. Unpopular though it is with officers, walking around town centres is more productive than driving through. Closure of police stations to the public has proved an irrelevance simply because so few members of the public visit police stations.

The proposed sale of police stations is another matter. The public requires reassurance of a swift police response in an emergency. Small localised bases might provide a first response, with back up following from centres. Abandonment of any local presence is likely to undermine confidence, cause unease and lead to less contact between police and communities  

What must be avoided is a constant re-jigging which wastes money. The Tipton station, due to be sold, has only recently been built. Wednesbury functioned from what appeared a double fronted house before its large replacement, now due for sale, was built.

 

It’s not cuts stupid.

The causes of crime are various. The high chance of avoiding detection and ridiculously lenient sentences certainly don’t discourage criminality. The failure of WMP to investigate many domestic burglaries gives criminals a head start. Their investigation of complaints of harassment made by disgraced Cllr. Richard Marshall and his puppet master Eling against a local blogger was simply a waste of resources.

A peculiarity Labour politicians have is a readiness to waste the public’s money and then to bleat that the coffers are empty. The WMP Commissioner typifies this. He has spent £33million on a refurb of his Birmingham H.Q., increased costs of back office staff by £10million, built up reserves of £100million and cut spending on police officers by £300,000 equivalent to 78 officers lost.

Is it surprising that effectiveness is not what it should be?