One of the strange inconsistencies is that when we had a Police Force, the Police never had to resort to using it. Now we have a Police service and increasingly they do.
I can remember when the local constable was local. He lived locally and knew everyone on his beat. He had the unwritten permission from my parents to dole out such punishment as he saw fit, in order to keep me from straying from minor to more serious transgressions.
These days any policepersons who live near me work somewhere else in the county. They work a shift pattern which means that their involvement in the community they police ends when they clock off. They have been increasingly politicised over the years and are now target driven.
I recommend Inspector Gadget's blogsite to anyone in doubt at the ludicrous targets they have to work to.
Lest we forget, the modern Police force was set up by Sir Robert Peel. He set out his "Peelian Principles" and they are set out below. I have highlighted point 9, because it has been all but forgotten in the chase to meet Home Office targets.
Principles of policing
- The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
- The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon the public approval of police actions.
- Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observation of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.
- The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.
- Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.
- Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning is found to be insufficient.
- Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
- Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions, and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
- The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.