By Calvin at 13:53 GMT, 6 months ago
This headline hit the newspapers back in February and so it was a bit odd to find it being discussed again on Sky News today. Her Majesty’s Chief inspector of Constabulary, Sir Thomas Windsor, was being interviewed about the problem, although I must say I wasn’t that impressed by what was said in the very brief interview.
In essence, it seems that too many detectives are being taken away from their Boroughs to deal with major enquiries and to staff various squads leaving very few back at the station to investigate local crimes such as burglary, serious assault and so on. Overworked detectives are also leaving the service due to the stress of it all and so presumably the Met are now doing their very best to improve the situation. It probably all boils down to underfunding again, but today’s news release from Her Majesty’s inspectorate of Constabulary identifies that it isn’t just the underfunding of the police that is causing the police problems.
It seems that police are spending too much time dealing with matters that should be dealt with by others and the NHS and their mental health services have been highlighted. Sir Thomas’s report states that ‘the failures of other public services, especially in respect of children’s and adolescent mental health, too often making the police the service of first resort, long after the chances of effective prevention have been lost’. In other words, if more people with mental health issues were properly diagnosed and treated by the appropriate agencies the police would be called to fewer incidents, some of which can be very serious indeed.
Let there be no mistake; the police are struggling with the reduced budgets imposed on them and as the first few paragraphs above seek to highlight some things are having to give. Crime prevention specialists were one of the first parts of the police to go or be seriously reduced to the point of ineffectiveness and then we got telephone and email policing, because there was no officer available to visit the crime scene. There’s even a private detective company out there now who will gladly investigate all manner of crimes. Am I the only one concerned about this? I bet I’m not.
I wonder too if police funding is going to get an airing during the build-up to the general election or be discussed in the various parties’ manifestos. I shall be watching carefully!
In the meantime, may I suggest that you try not to become the victim of a crime (There’s plenty of advice on this site to help you!).