Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The new politically correct British police force is actually an office-worker force

Only one in 40 police officers on duty in some forces is available to respond to 999 calls, according to a study published yesterday. The report, from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), found that only 2.5 per cent of uniformed officers in one area were allocated to "response duties". This meant that out of 800 officers at work only 20 were free for emergency response, which included patrolling alcohol-scarred towns and cities at night. In another force, which was also unnamed, 50 officers were on duty but only three - six per cent - were allocated to "incident management".

The HMIC findings, in a report entitled Beyond the Call, will reignite the debate over bureaucracy and station-bound duties which keep the vast majority of the record 140,000 officers in England and Wales off the streets. The inspectorate now plans a study of bureaucracy, including a look at concerns that not enough experienced constables and sergeants are available to supervise a front-line presence of probationers and newly-qualified officers.

Yesterday's report found that some patrol officers failed to make good use of their time on duty unless closely supervised by their sergeant. This was a "highly inefficient use of scarce resources", it said. It also found difficulties in the way forces handle the flood of 999 calls, which has risen steadily in recent years. It showed that police dispatchers routinely downgraded emergency calls. HM inspectors were told that patrol officers sometimes questioned why they were being sent on some calls. Some officers even failed to respond.

"In some cases, where patrols do not respond or make themselves unavailable, dispatch or control staff admit that they downgrade incidents in order to alleviate pressure on themselves," it said. "In other cases, they upgrade non-emergency incidents in the knowledge that only immediate and priority calls will have any chance of being resourced." The extent to which the police deal with callers only by telephone also emerged.

The report encouraged "telephone resolution" but warned that it has to be carried out in a way that does not leave the public dissatisfied. "A number of forces have developed strategies around telephone resolution, thereby releasing valuable resources to engage in emergency response or in longer-term, pro-active problem-solving initiatives," it said. "Some eight million incidents per year are being resolved without officer attendance."

The inspectors, who looked at 999 calls and other calls to police, amounting to 67 million a year, also criticised the way officers kept victims updated about progress on investigating crimes. Their report suggested continuing to use technology such as text messages and the internet to make improvements.

Police in England and Wales deal with 33 million incidents a year. Of those, 17 per cent are classed as emergencies requiring an immediate response, with 20 per cent as "priorities" requiring a response within the hour.

Yesterday's findings echo the conclusions of independent research for the Police Federation, and reported recently in The Daily Telegraph, that as few as three uniformed police officers were available to patrol the streets, respond to 999 calls and tackle night-time disorder in some towns. The federation research showed that officers were heavily diverted into work to meet Home Office targets and provide the Government with statistics.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: "These alarming statistics prove what we have been saying all along - that as a result of constant Government interference and diktats our police are operating nowhere near as efficiently as they could."

The Liberal Democrat home affair spokesman, Nick Clegg, said: "This is what comes from tying up police officers in reams of paperwork and Government tick-box bureaucracy. Both the police and the public want our police officers ready and able to respond to emergency calls, not locked in a station filling out forms."


But the new politically correct British police have still got plenty of time to waste on nonsense like this:

A father launched a furious attack against the police yesterday for investigating claims that his 10-year-old son had called a schoolfriend "gay" in an email. Company director Alan Rawlinson said he was astounded after two police officers arrived at his home in Bold Heath, Cheshire, to speak to his son George. The officers were called after a complaint from the parent of another boy at his son's school in Widnes.

"They told me they considered it a very serious offence," said Mr Rawlinson, 41. "I thought they were joking at first. I am furious about what has happened. It just seems the politically correct brigade is taking over."

But Inspector Nick Bailey of Cheshire Constabulary defended the decision: "The matter was reported to police as the parents of the boy believed it was more sinister than just a schoolyard prank." He said that they would not be pursuing the complaint any further, commenting: "We would be hard-pushed to say this is a homophobic crime."


The problem with banning words

If people don't like the thing or group concerned, even permitted words used to describe it will soon become derogatory too.

New York New York, so good they named it twice, led the world for most of the last century and is clearly determined to stay ahead. It has blazed a new trail. It has banned a word. Just as you may not paint your New York cab any colour but yellow, or appear on New York television with bad teeth, so you may no longer use the word "nigger". The other words in my merry little song are fine, apparently, but not nigger. Nigger is just too insulting.

The English language has never lacked insults. Consider the development of "queer". Because it meant odd, it was applied to homosexuals. And because a lot of people were upset by homosexuality, the word queer became an insult. Homosexuals then decided they'd like to be called something more cheerful, so they appropriated the word "gay". Inevitably the same thing happened. Gay lost its former connotations and became a synonym for homosexual. And for people who were upset by homosexuality, it too became an insult.

But that's not the end of it. Gay has since moved on. The young now use gay to describe anything they don't like. In the language of a 15-year-old, "don't be gay" has lost all suggestion of homosexuality. Meanwhile, the word queer has become acceptable. Queer eye for the straight guy is now mainstream language. Queer is no longer pejorative. The point is that meaning shifts. It shifts constantly and unpredictably and history shows that it is beyond the power of any authority to control it. Nevertheless, the city fathers of New York are trying to control it.

I presume that they have banned "nigger" because it recalls the slave trade, and the apartheid that was practised in the southern states till well into my life time. Nigger derives from the Latin for black. New Yorkers are still allowed to use the word "black", but even that is frowned on. The term du jour is African American. As it happens, most African Americans are about as African as I am. For sure their ancestors came from Africa, but so, if you go back far enough, did mine. Like me, most African Americans have long since got used to living elsewhere, and like me, most African Americans have never been to Africa. But African American it is. And using that term instead of nigger or black will not reduce prejudice one jot. Indeed, if prejudice persists, it won't be long before the term African American becomes as offensive as nigger.

The authorities are guilty of three fundamental errors. First they are inconsistent. If nigger is to be outlawed so should every insult in my song, along with a million others, including ginge, chubbychops and motor racing fan. Second, and more importantly, the authorities have confused the word with the attitude. Words embody what is in people's heads, rather than the other way round. The fault never lies in the word. It lies in the heads. Third, and even more importantly, the authorities are trying to control thought by limiting language. They will fail but the precedent is dangerous. I do not want to use the word nigger but it is essential that I make for myself the decision not to use it. If I am legally banned from using it my autonomy is reduced. I am forced into a straitjacket of verbal orthodoxy. Have the New York authorities never read 1984?

Several New Yorkers have already fallen foul of the law. Most are black rap singers, who have adopted the word nigger ironically. Authorities never cope with irony.

Words have been banned before. In dynastic China you were not allowed to speak the Emperor's name. The penalty for doing so was death by slicing - which took a while. Now, if you say nigger in New York you will not be sliced to death. At present there is no penalty specified. But New York authorities are pushing for rappers who say nigger to be barred from the Grammy awards. If they succeed, who knows what will happen? Today, no Grammy, tomorrow, no passport, and the day after a trip to a re- education camp in Guantanamo Bay? This law will do nothing to reduce racial prejudice. And it is capable of leading to far worse.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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