“Call the cops” ~ Happy Mondays
Or, as defined by my dictionary
Cops (n) slang: police
This blog is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and I publish it knowing that, if tendered evidence, I shall be liable to prosecution if I have wilfully stated anything in it which I know to be false, or do not believe to be true.
Ok, it’s about time I confessed. For the majority of my life, I never liked the police. I thought they were sneaky, underhand, duplicitous gits. And that, coming from a law-abiding girl, from a law-abiding, well to-do, nice middleclass family, without any brushes with the law, is, I believe, unusual. So I’ll explain…
About 25 years ago, I was about 11 or 12, I ran away from home. I didn’t slope off to the local park for a few hours; I got a bus then a train and travelled about 100 miles. There were reasons for going and for my destination that I won’t go into, suffice to say that I was not an abused child by any means.
Anyway, the police were called. A very nice policeman found me. To this day I remember what he looked like and what he said to me. Then, a day or so later, another policeman visited us at home. Eagle-eyed readers will notice I have dropped the word ‘nice’. This officer was there to find out why I had done it and if I was genuinely ok. To this end, at some point my mother left the room and he asked if everything was ok at home. To my confused and unhappy young brain, this seemed sneaky and underhand and I detested the police from that moment on.
Fast forward to my early thirties and, in a moment of random thinking, I realised that poor guy was just doing his job. My mother leaving the room was prearranged. He wasn’t being sneaky at all, he was trying to establish if a crime had been committed, if this messed up child was actually ok. And I felt a great deal of sympathy for him cos I imagine he left completely baffled and thinking I was a spoilt brat. And that realisation turned my entire thinking on police round completely.
I stress, this was about 25 years ago. I’m sure practises are different now. But this was the past and they do things differently there.
However the fact remains that the police aren’t popular. As someone once put in a blog on policing, “the day most people meet a police officer is the worst day of their life”. This is in the sense that you’re either being nicked, reporting a crime, or they are on your doorstep about to tell you some news you are not going to want to hear about a loved one. How grim is that? How hard is that? Could you? Cos I don’t think I could.
However, they matter to me hugely. I like to see our police on our streets. I like knowing that dialling 999, however awful the reasons are, gets you in touch with the police. And, as we need them, they answer our call.
Aside from the running away malarkey, I’ve had dealings with the police as a result of interactions in my job and as a victim of crime. I want to tell you, briefly, about one of these incidents. Last year, two days before my birthday as it happens, I was burgled. I discovered this when I returned from work about 6pm on a Wednesday evening. It took the police 7 hours to attend. That’s 7 hours to attend a break-in with a lone female in an unsecured ground floor flat. I don’t for one minute think they were sitting around, drinking tea & chatting about the football. They were too busy to attend. They didn’t have enough officers. And that was March 2011.
So that brings me to the point of this blog. The British police service is facing massive cuts and privatisation. In addition to a raft of cuts and changes being introduced under two reviews by Tom Winsor. Some of you may recognise the name as part of the hashtag on Twitter #AntiWinsorNetwork. The origins of this group are much better explained in this blog by @cynicalbobby. Now, as much as anything, it is a useful link for police and police supporters to communicate with each other. Having conducted some research of my own, I’m aware it means very little to others so I hope this blog goes some way to explaining.
Our police service is:
- facing cuts to pay and conditions
- seeing vital services, that serve us, the public, diminished
- G4S, a private company, are being brought in to do jobs previously always done by officers
The buck does not stop there, by any means. there are many other things afoot with British policing. But I’m aware there’s only so much anyone can take in at any one time. So please, I ask you this, would you like to keep an independent police service sworn to be independent and impartial? Or are you more interested in the legalisation of currently illegal drugs? Because one online petition to Parliament has more signatures than others. And I find that a shaming statement on our society today.
Please look at this petition. I’m not asking you to sign, you’re a grown up, you can make your own decisions. You decide if our police service is worth supporting. Ditto, please, consider this pledge of support.
One final thing, we are to get things called Police and Crime Commissioners. People will get to vote on this. You may think this doesn’t affect you, that your vote doesn’t count. To anyone who says a vote doesn’t count I say ‘look at X-Factor’. Don’t you dare look at me with a straight face and say that show, with voting, has not changed the lives of many who have been on it, many who have watched, and not least, lined the pockets of Simon Cowell.
Further, admirable, reading on what our police do for us can be found here:
I have not asked permission of any of the officers quoted for permission to refer their work. I include it as I feel it shows what our police do for us. And I hold them, and their colleagues, in the highest of esteem.
I have written this blog to bridge a gap that I am aware of in social media terms between those that understand what our police are about to undergo, those that care but do not understand, and those that don’t care but I hope will after reading. I am not a police officer. I have no affiliation to the police in my personal or professional life. If you want to know more on anything this blog touches on then contact me and I will do my best to put you in touch with people more knowledgeable than I.
Thank you for reading.