To Orwell Today,
re: police sirens give impression crime is everywhere

Hi Jackie,

Following on from our piece about the British police there was a front page piece in the Daily Express national newspaper here yesterday: ONLY ONE IN 40 POLICE RESPOND TO CALLS.

Seems the policing of our streets is no longer done. Their excuse is they're tied up with special duties. Patrol cars spend 40% of their time doing nothing the Report by the Inspectorate of constabulary revealed. The report claimed that virtually all forces now have specialist teams, such as neighberhood policing teams, ring-fenced to prevent them being distracted from their core role. They downgrade emergency calls to relieve pressure on the system. The Daily Express article gave alarming examples throughout the UK.

Britain has record numbers of police but you wouldn't know it. Huge numbers can be conjured up to protect politicians or to carry out secret house to house terrorist operations but very few to assist the public. Try finding someone to respond to a burglary or when you're in danger and your likely to be dissapointed.

Ray Wills

Greetings Ray,

The same thing is happening here in Canada. Presently there are select communities experimenting in what they call the "United Kingdom Crime-Reduction Strategy" which means the police will be "less visible". Instead they will be working "in a close relationship with the Crown and connecting to community agencies." The supporters of this "UK model" (ie criminology professors) agree that it is unpopular with the public who want to see police responding to visible crime, not going undercover looking for "invisible" crime and filling ticket quotas and doing paperwork.

In the news, on a daily basis, there is coverage of squadrons of police - in riot gear - responding to "anonymous tips" at places where no crime is occurring. For example, in yesterday's news there's a story in Vancouver about police raiding an anti-poverty organization looking for an Olympic flag that had been stolen from City Hall three weeks prior. The public considers this a misuse of resources, especially when obvious crime - like open-air drug-pushing on a massive scale - is allowed to flourish with no police interference.

As Orwell explained in "Animal Farm" and "1984" the police are used to protect the government, not the people.

POLICE DOGS IN ANIMAL FARM and 21.Crimestop and 38.Cellars and 34.Ministry of Love (Torture)

All the best,
Jackie Jura

Only one in 40 police respond to calls. Daily Express, Mar 30, 2007
Just one police officer in 40 is free to answer 999 calls, a shocking report revealed. The rest are tied up on “special duties” such as neighbourhood policing and, incredibly, police chiefs stop them being pulled away to respond to emergency calls. In an added scandal, patrol cars spend almost half their time driving around aimlessly and do not even target crime hotspots. Police also admitted calls from the public are downgraded in seriousness if there are no officers available or operators are swamped. One sergeant even told his men to ignore incidents that do not affect Government performance targets. The appalling picture of modern policing under Labour emerged in a scathing report by watchdogs....

The report by the Inspectorate of Constabulary revealed that one unnamed police force had 800 officers officially on duty for an afternoon shift but only 20 were available for “response duties”...Another force had just 3 out of 50 officers on duty available for “incident management”. The report said: “Virtually all forces now have specialist teams, such as neighbourhood policing teams, ring-fenced to prevent them being distracted from their core role. This can lead to a backlog of calls and has a detrimental impact on customers and on dispatch or control staff who find themselves under increasing pressure.”...Research from 2003 showed 42 per cent of patrol officers’ time was not committed to handling an incident or targeted areas. “During this time, they are not being directed to patrol-specific locations or asked to carry out specific activities.” Some fail to make good use of their time on duty unless closely supervised by their sergeant, the report found....The Police Federation warned last year that officers are downgrading 999 calls to spend more time trying to hit Government targets....

Vancouver police search for stolen Olympic flag. CTV, Mar 30, 2007
Police said Friday they were acting on a tip when they raided the office of the Downtown Eastside Residents Association looking for evidence in the theft of the Olympic flag from city hall. But the association and the Anti-Poverty Committee said the raid was a bid to discredit social activists opposing the 2010 Winter Games. "We consider what happened last night to be an all-out attack on this organization," said Kim Kerr, executive director of the association. "It's an organization that's been down here a very, very long time, and whose championing of a cause for people are going to end up homeless or are already homeless is well known." He said in the association's 34 years, it has never been subjected to a search warrant.

Sister Elizabeth Kelliher, chairwoman of the association's board, said she was shocked that the police chose to focus their energy on searching the association, when they should have been helping those in need. "I have always, from childhood up, looked to the police department for protection, for making sure our society is a just one, that nobody was treated unfairly," she said. "How can a police department do something that they know has no relationship to the truth?"

Police said they obtained a search warrant after they got an anonymous tip about the flag's whereabouts. Two detectives and six uniformed officers went to the DERA offices Thursday evening so they wouldn't attract any protesters. "We have had some violent altercations in the past, so the numbers were strictly for officer safety," said Const. Tim Fanning. The officers searched the storage locker area of the building and took a number of photographs. After an hour, they left empty-handed. Fanning downplayed any criticism for the amount of energy the police force is putting into the missing flag. "We follow up every criminal case as much as we can, as much as resources allow," he said. "This is something that affected a lot of people...it was very upsetting to the citizens of Vancouver."...

The Anti-Poverty Committee said that their association was looking into legal action against the police. They have been at the forefront of protests at recent Olympic events. The protesters say the money going towards the Olympics would be better spent to build social housing and ease poverty. In February, protesters disrupted a ceremony to unveil the Olympic countdown clock. Anti-poverty protesters stormed the stage, shouting obscenities and pelting police with rocks, eggs and paint-filled balloons. A few weeks later at a flag-lighting ceremony at city hall, police presence was heightened and protesters were searched before entering a fenced off area. Two people were arrested for breach of the peace. Those there to disrupt the ceremony managed to drown out the event's speakers as well as a children's choir.

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~
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