If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Friday, 15 January 2010

A Pleeceman's Lot

Is not a happy one, it would appear:

A newly-promoted police chief has complained that he can no longer do his weekly supermarket shop because it’s ‘too dangerous’. Peter Vaughan, who became head of South Wales police on New Year’s Day, said ‘security considerations’ meant he needed someone else to pick up his groceries.

Now, taking into account this is the Daily Mail speaking, and therefore all scandalous outrage must be scaled back at least 80%, this is not so unreasonable. If the guy now has a much higher public profile, then he's going to get recognised. And being accosted while you are trying to get the groceries in is not always as much fun as it looks. I remember from my teaching days how tiresome it can be to be stopped every few feet by someone wanting to discuss little Johnny's progress while you were trying to choose between the sliced wholemeal and the extra grain harvest loaf. How much worse when the people stopping you want to berate you about crime stats and how their Uncle Reg phoned the police because his rake had gone missing and do you know it took them two hours to get round the house and when they got there it was only a young lad, couldn't have been more than 18, and what do they know, eh? back in may day, police were police, know what I mean, so what you going to do about that then?

No, the guy has my sympathy. Well, he does until he opens his mouth and says this:

Asked for his thoughts on comments made by Miss Wilding [former Chief Constable] that life in the Valleys could be ‘without hope’, Mr Vaughan said: ‘Barbara did a fine job setting the foundations for the force and now I am putting community regeneration at the core of our work.

No, no, no, Mr Vaughan. What you meant to say was: "I am putting preventing crime and catching criminals at the core of our work."

Community regeneration is the job of politicians and social workers. It is not the role of the Police. The Police are there to prevent crime, to catch those responsible for crime, and to keep public order. Nothing else. Making noises about community regeneration makes them sound like the uniformed branch of New Labour. Oh, hang on ...

I know that, given the choice between tackling a gang of burglars and spending the evening in a village hall talking to that nice Mr Patel, I would take the less confrontational option. It's human nature to take the easier and pleasanter path when given the choice. Plus there are probably better doughnuts on offer in the village hall. But then, I am not a policeman, nor am I paid to be a policeman. Policemen are paid, and paid quite well, to deal with difficult situations, often at personal risk to themselves. If you're not happy with that, don't join up.

Which leads me to two questions:
  • Since when did the Police have the right to define their role in society, as opposed to their operational priorities? Who told them to become ersatz social workers?
  • If the Police are pursuing community regeneration as the "core" of their work, who is out there catching the fucking criminals?

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