Thursday, July 17, 2008

Police Response

It's little wonder that there's such crime in Britain.

Calling 999 could soon mean a three-hour wait to see a policeman.

Extraordinary new Government guidelines say that 180 minutes represents a good response time for emergencies and that victims should be seen by an officer within three days.

A retired police officer, he left the service in 1994, points out that in those byegone days (a mere 14 years ago) the police were expected to react not in hours but minutes.

“Normally we could get people on the scene within two or three minutes of a call and often more than one unit.

“We would have expected a complaint if it had taken longer than 10 minutes to respond to an emergency call. There would have been questions to answer.”

It doesn't take long for things to change, does it? He then relates an incident he was recently involved in-

When he heard two women screaming in the street outside his son’s home in Watford a few years ago he did what every ex-policeman is schooled to do. He ran after the knife-wielding maniac who had threatened them.

As he did so he instructed his son to call the police, expecting a rapid response to a violent, predatory criminal armed with a knife. He did manage to stop the criminal- younger and stronger than he- and he held him at bay for some time.

A squad car did finally arrive at his son’s home – two hours later. “By the time the police turned up the man had gone and one of the girls had found his knife.

And the result?

As it was they didn’t deal with any of it and everyone was left vulnerable.

Par for the course in Britain today. One last point to make- the article quotes an officer who makes the point that the police force is being overwhelmed by a rising tide of crime.

“We no longer have sufficient numbers of officers to keep up with the rate at which crimes are committed,” admits the inspector, who prefers not to be named.

“Resources are stretched so thinly that when I come on shift it is a question of being forced to choose which violent crime to prioritise.

Really? Because according to Home Office statistics, overall crime in Britain is going down-

All police recorded crime down 9% to almost 5.0 million crimes

Violence against the person down 8%

Most serious violence against the person down 12%

Etc, etc. Only drug crimes are reporting an increase but not enough to cancel out the decreases- hence the overall reduction.

And yet despite this- if the Home Office figures are accurate that is- the police are no longer able to respond to emergency calls in minutes but in hours. Interesting to note that the other 999 services, the Fire Brigade and Ambulance Service, are still able to treat emergencies as emergencies.

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