Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 30 January 2013
What have we got here, then?
A policeman on 'the beat' walking around our streets is now a very rare sight indeed. These days, they race past pedestrians in cars, deafening them with sirens as they make their way to the scene of some incident, or sit in a cosy van whilst clocking up multiples of £70 speeding fines by letting plate-recognition and radar do the job.
They are just about to start a recruitment drive, and the new recruits will be the first generation of coppers who do not have to spend a year or two plodding the streets before applying for a CID job, not that their predecessors have to any more either.
If you ask a senior officer what is going on, the general gist of the answer will be that they just cannot cope any longer, what with the cutbacks and paperwork, but if you dial 999 you will be put through to one of the many civilians who are employed by the force to take the burden of administration away from the officers, so that they can get out there and do the job.
Some forces are just about to order a batch of pellet-guns which fire a high-velocity, 20 gram lump of DNA at the suspect, and automatically 'tags' him/her so that the police can saunter around to the suspect's address at leisure - say, a week later - to pick him/her up.
The police say that this will allow things to cool off - as in a riot situation - so that they can question the suspect in a less confrontational situation, but I rather suspect that it has a combination of advantages over the more traditional method of feeling collars.
Because the police hardly ever get out of their cars these days, they can't run any more - unlike your average hoody. All they need to do with this gadget is wind down the window, as in a drive-by.
In the old days, if a suspect out-ran the police, they sent the local beat copper round the area to ask a few questions, but there aren't any old-style beat coppers any more, so 'police intelligence' (an oxymoron if ever I heard one) is now contained in the hard-drive of the station's computer. Regional forces being fiercely competitive, these data-bases are hardly ever shared between the forces unless it involves a matter of national importance, and even then a regional police force has to be compelled to give up vital bits of information which it considers to be it's own, hard-won and private property.
Of course, there has never been a better time to hand-pick university graduates to be fast-tracked through the police forces, as many of the degree holders find themselves stacking shelves or selling hamburgers when they leave the hallowed halls, deep in debt.
At least these latest recruits will have joined-up writing skills, but they may be hampered by an un-joined-up system when they first sit at the desk as a fully qualified Detective Inspector.