30 November 2008

Not a Police State At All

Westminster and elected people like me have been reacting with real concern following the disgraceful arrest of Damien Green last week. Comments like "police state" and "Stalinist"have been bandied around, perhaps with some justification.

I just wonder whether Joe Public is more concerned about that or the brutal treatment of Lance Corporal Mark Aspinall at the hands of the police in Wigan. I urge everyone to follow the link and watch the video.

The incident itself is disturbing. But however did it get to a point where this victim was taken to court based on this evidence? How did he get convicted with this evidence? More importantly, what action is being taken against the judge who, having seen the police beat Mark Aspinall up, convicted him *and* ordered him to pay compensation to the policemen who assaulted him?

We have to believe that this sort of incident is isolated.


17 February 2008

Why Big Brother Government Doesn't Work

There are two stories doing the round at the moment that show why the sort of Big Brother Government which Gordon Brown loves just doesn't work.

The first is the story that the latest New Labour whim is a move towards Super-Surgeries to replace single GPs. In Whittlesey we have two similar surgeries and they work well. But then we are in a Town where, for the most, people don't have to go far. Any system that moves towards bigger solutions has to take transport and access into account. But you can guarantee that this Government (who simply don't do rural) will stagger on blindly.

The other story is that the Government are going to ease back on police targets so they can focus on violent crime. I don't have a problem (in the right sort of places) with focusing on violence, but the reason to cut back on targets is so that the police can focus on priorities that are right for local communities rather than to suit Jacqui Smith's desire for a positive Home Office story. The police need to be freed up to deal with whatever they need to, not just to kowtow to a New Labour agenda. My fear is that those smaller towns which are blighted by low level crime and Anti-Social-Behaviour will now have police officers withdrawn to work in the cities to deal with the latest whim.

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07 February 2008

Police Paperwork

One of the outcomes of Ronnie Flanagan's review is that civilians should do much of the paperwork currently completed by police officers. No surprise there then, one of the ways that New Labour have been able to make their claim about record numbers of police officers has been to get rid of civilian staff and replace them with police - who still do the same job. That is why the emphasis has to be about police on the beat not on the number of officers.

I have been out with the police on patrol a couple of times. Both times I was impressed with the professionalism and dedication I saw, both from the police and from PCSOs, but the amount of form filling when they stopped young children with alcohol was a surprise to me and it is something that needs to be sorted - why can't we move to a wider use of "helmet-cams" as a way of recording information.

I will never understand the notion that a unifromed officer can go out on patrol without powers of arrest or a power to detain - which is what our PCSOs do. That is not a criticism of PCSOs by the way, but a criticism of the political structure that allows such a ludicous system to come into being. As an example, what happens if a PCSO stops someone on suspicion of drink-driving (for instance after seeing someone stagger out of a car to a cash point machine) only to find that they have no immediate access to a breathalyser and have to wait for someone to arrive with the right equipment. As the law stands at the moment they have no power to detain that person after 30 minutes -a drunk driver gets away.


19 September 2007

Round of applause for Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire

Julie Spence, the Chief Constable for Cambridgeshire has always impressed me. When she took over policing in the County she had an immediate impact.

Today she has spoken out about the need for additional resources for the police to cope with the huge migrant population in the County. She is right, our police funding (and the funding for just about everything else) is not where it should be. We are hamstrung enough by this even before the complex issue of economic migrants is taken into account.

The fact that she has had the strength of character to stand up to the home office and highlight this issue is to be applauded.


16 November 2006

Groundhog Day for Queen

The Queen must be getting bored with her speech every year now. It is full of the same old rhetoric:

"Law and Order blah blah blah....."

"Reform of the House of Lords drivel, drivel, drivel..."

Fortunately New Labour's ability to Spin its way out of total failure is diminishing by the day. The danger of this is that as an election looms closer and closer they may get desperate and resort to punitive and totally undemocratic ways of sorting out our Law and Order problems and use their bully boy whipping tactics and the Parliament Act to get them through Parliament.

It would be great if they suddenly woke up and realised that the single most important thing they could do is to free up the police to allow them to do their job - getting out and serving the public instead of sitting behind desks doing the Government's bidding.

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