Friday 3 April 2009

The Deadly Case of Assault with a Can of Deodorant

Once again we read of another father kicked and beaten to death by feral youths. What is more shocking though is the fact that the man, who was under siege in his own home, and his neighbours rang the police six times for help only to be told that they were too busy.

Some people might say fair enough the police only have so many resources and with the crumbling moral fibre of the country they can't be at every incident. However, from the perspective of someone working with kids in care I am absolutely shocked at how often police resources are wasted dealing with trivial squabbles.

A few weeks ago I was working at a care home. Two girls of gargantuan proportions, due to being allowed eat unhealthy food all day and being chauffeur driven to where ever they want to go, were having a massive fracas over which of them consisted of more lard than the other. Needless to say they didn't discuss the issue in a civilsed manner and before long the situation looked like it would turn violent. Thankfully it didn't. The energy they used screaming at each other was about all the exercise they could handle for the day. However, the younger of the two picked up a can of deodourant and threw it at the larger gargantua slightly brushing her arm.

The 'victim' of this pernicious attack then phoned the police claiming she was assaulted by her 13 year old housemate. Now, seeing as the 'victim', let's call her Rachel, she is aged 17, has been arrested and charged with making false allegations in the past and has a host of other convictions then perhaps plod will use their discretion and politely ignore the allegation seeing as it's a trivial matter. No such luck.

I had just got in to bed at 0100, having been at work since ten that morning, when up arrived the old bill to take witness statements from my colleague, myself and also from the 'victim'. All of this took almost two hours. I told the constable that as far as I could see the can hadn't actually hit Rachel. The officer informed me that the throwing of the can itself is an offence.

"Well officer, I think this is such a waste of the police's time and resources. Surely there could be better things the police could be doing than becoming embroiled in a teenage squabble where no one was hurt," I stated.

"I agree entirely with you Winston, however once that call is made and logged on our computer system we have to respond. We don't have a choice. We are not able to use discretion. Even if we are too busy with real crimes, the type most people think we exist to deal with, we will still at some stage have to deal with the allegation and bring it to a conclusion, 'detect' it in the jargon of the police force, I mean service."

After almost two hours of witness statements and interviewing the 'victim', the police left. They would have to return to interview the perpetrator in the morning as they had to get off to deal with other matters, I hope of a more serious nature. Now, these two officers were the only police officers on call within an area that consisted of several small towns comprising almost 20,000 people.

The police definitely didnt want to be there dealing with this idiotic issue but due to the bureaucratic stranglehold they operate under they had no choice. Do our politicians that place these impediments in the way of the police not get it? All people, whether they be on the left or right, want a police force that protects the law abiding and the vulnerable. As I got in to bed at 0315, I had to be up at 0800 to work again, I couldn't help but imagine some old lady, who perhaps had just been burgaled and even assualted, on the phone to the police only to be told they are too busy, whilst at the same time the only available officers in the area are up to their necks in the minutiae of the Deadly Case of Assault with a Can of Deodorant.


Dr Melvin T Gray said...

"You have been feeding the pigeons, haven't you?" was Thursday's invitation to incriminate myself from one of two police officers confronting me in a Huddersfield Park. Like you, Winston, I wondered if police had better things to do. In my case they had watched me from a distance, share a morsel of sandwich with a lame bird. "Not at all - I dropped a crumb which could not be retrieved before the bird ate it" came a reply offering neither respect nor admission.

You put your experience down to the fault of law makers. I put my experience down to lack of common sense coupled with motivation to find easy detections amongst the gullible.

Hibbo said...

You have to see this from the police's perspective though Winston; a group of thugs beating a man to death (for example), or a 13 year old obese lump allegedly throwing a can of deodorant. Both will result in a 'detection' to the officer's name; yet one involves a lot more work and a lot more risk.

Of course, they go for the easy option. Every. Single. Time.

Why waste time and effort chasing after burglars and smackhead bag-snatchers, when dishing out PNDs for abusive text messages ticks the boxes and meets the targets just the same. This is why the police never bother with what you and i would call 'real' crime, and it is one of the main reasons why the general public have such little faith in or respect for the police.

Of course, the police will just slag off the story and the Daily Heil for printing it, but just because you don't like a paper (I am certainly not a Heil reader) it doesn't make the story any less true.

WinstonSmith33 said...

A friend of mine who was a cop resigned because he was reprimanded for not getting enough detections. He told me that he focues on real crimes and genuine nasty characters and as a result had less detections. His superior officer told him he should try to emulate a particular officer with high detection rates for petty offences involving teenagers.

Dr Melvin T Gray said...

A one way conversation with a cadaver is never pointless when it makes the contributor feel better. As a Town Hall employee Winston, you are unlikely to be aware of it.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Winston, your above comment hit a chord. Many moons ago, me, a 6 year `veteran` was spoken to by the Inspector and had my `process rate` (thats traffic violations)queried and compared to a probationary constable with 18 months service. "Look here Hogday, PC Snapper has filled several pages of my book on him, with lots of process, whilst you only have 2 pages". "Well, Sir, on looking at the type of offences he's reported, a large proportion of them have resulted in letters of caution whereas all of my reports have resulted in a court appearance for the defendant - quality vs quantity?" Insp: "Of course, I would never allow `no water in the windscreen washer bottle` to go to court, thats why these are dealt with by a caution letter". "Well sir, it's me who has to face the public, me who they'll remember, so I like to do my own cautioning". We rarely saw eye to eye, me and that Inspector.