Financial and manpower cuts. No longer see police interacting with people or patrolling. Rarely seen on streets. Police now reactive, like the fire brigade (rather than proactive)
Subject: Spot the police officer -any police officer !
In conversation with friends from Swaffham, Necton and Dereham, we were discussing the last time any of us had spotted a police officer, out on patrol and walking amongst the populace. The majority could think of no such occasion over a period of a couple of years.
It struck me then that if more officers were actually walking on the street amongst pedestrians and shop owners etc then their skills at communicating with the public at large and gaining valuable local intelligence at the same time, would greatly improve, to the benefit of all participants.
One doesn't see an officer at public markets, whether Swaffham, Dereham or Norwich. We could not think of a village community that saw an officer arrive, step out of his/her police car, and walk around that village. One might see an officer pop up at a local parish meeting to report on local crimes they have been made aware of, but miss out on the intelligence that could be gathered by walking about the streets. To expect the public to decide what might be of interest to police and to communicate such information by phone etc is rather naive bordering on laziness.
After all, not everyone will utilise the phone or internet. Add to that the aspect of human nature that many people will not be aware of what is of interest to police unless a relevant subject is prised from the person by skilful and directed conversation. Such information is obtained by an officer walking among people and initiating conversation as opposed to waiting for a telephone to ring or an email to appear on the computer within the police office.
Consider also, the many public statements to crack down on various crimes, such as the use of mobile telephones by car drivers. No one has considered that it is the police officer on the street or patrolling by car who will detect these offences. Without this public police presence such statements of purpose are empty rhetoric ! It is also embarrassing, at times, when in Europe, to see officers walking or driving among and interacting with the public. We used to comment on the poor state of european roads: Now it seems our roads are in worse condition than theirs. Likewise, it now seems europeans see more police officers patrolling their streets than we do in the UK !
Perhaps one should reconsider, for example, the appointment of the Police and Crime Commissioner and hand control back to a local council body. The savings from the removal of this post, plus attached staff and building space, would fund a few more officers to patrol the streets. I may be wasting my time communication the thoughts of my friends and I, for it does seem likely that less officers on the street, few ( if any) patrol cars on the likes of the A47 and other routes, will fall on deaf ears before the gods of financial expediency.
This missive may well attract excuses as to why such a poor state of affairs, as outlined above, has been allowed to come to pass. One could also be forgiven for thinking that successive governments have allowed such decline to continue because they feel the populace would not notice such deterioration in services. All this in the cause of saving money.
Instead of such excuses, what we would like is a commitment to improve matters. One lives in hope.