Sunday, July 25, 2010
Free the police and save billions
David Copperfield, a former British cop now serving in Canada, explains why his new force is so much better – and cheaper – for the public -- a telling commentary on what 13 years of Labour party rule has done to British policing. Massive bureaucracy thwarts crime control. Leftists have faith in regulations, not people. No prizes for guessing which works best
The prophets of doom say Home Office cuts will hand Britain's streets to criminals: 60,000 police jobs could go, says the BBC; the Association of Chief Police Officers thinks 20,000 bobbies could be sacked. I read these reports from across the Atlantic – having left the British police to join a force in Canada two years ago – with bemusement. My experience tells me that you could easily slash billions from budgets and actually improve policing, which is now a job creation scheme for bureaucrats.
Over here in the wheat-and-oil province of Alberta, Edmonton is home to one million people and is a relatively high-crime city by Canadian standards. Compare us with Greater Manchester Police. They cover about 2.5 million people, but the problems – drugs, sex offences, violent crime, domestic abuse, burglary and public order – are the same.
I now carry a gun, and I'm probably a bit slimmer than the average Manchester bobby (as a result of a compulsory annual fitness test and a well-equipped gym at work), but my responsibilities are similar: I investigate everything from murders to school bullying; I enforce traffic laws; I give out parking tickets; and I patrol the streets. People still ask me for the time, directions to the nearest bus station, and what the drink-drive limit is.
So how do both forces stack up? Well, there are 10 violent crimes per 1,000 people in Edmonton; in Greater Manchester, Home Office statistics show 16 offences of violence per 1,000 people (in Manchester itself, the figure is nearly 24/1,000, and in Britain as a whole, 15/1,000).
Perhaps unsurprisingly, our 2009 Citizen Survey shows that 89 per cent of residents "have a lot of confidence in the Edmonton Police Service", with 66 per cent saying they feel safe walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark. In the GMP area, only 50 per cent of people think the police are doing an "excellent or good" job, which leaves an awful lot of unhappy taxpayers.
But do we spend more money? No. The EPS budget for 2010 is £150 million – or £150 for every citizen. The GMP budget is £690 million – or £276 for every citizen. They could lose 40 per cent of their budget and still have more cash per capita than we do.
Of course, how you spend money is important. GMP employs 8,232 police officers in a total staff of 13,082, or one person for every 181 members of the public. My force employs about 1,400 officers and 500 civilians – one person for every 526 members of the public.
So with less money and far fewer cops, we do a better job, and there are lessons that can be learnt by British officers and their political masters.
First, bureaucracy. When I worked in Britain, if I arrested a man over a fight in a pub, it could easily take six hours to deal with – even if he admitted the offence. Central custody can be 20 miles away or more. When you get there you have to wait to book him in, wait for his lawyer, interview him on tape, fill in endless forms in longhand, usually duplicating the same information, fax it all to the CPS and wait some more while they tell you whether you can charge him.
In Edmonton, I decide whether to charge, after quickly running through the facts with my sergeant on the phone. I don't usually interview the guy – he can save his story for the court. I also decide whether to bail him. If I want to remand him, I'll have another short discussion and take him to jail, with a few pieces of paper and a copy of my brief report.
We do all this while having regard for the proper rights of suspects: they get to talk to lawyers (over the phone, not in person), they get to make complaints, and it's all done on video. A Charter of Human Rights is written into Canadian law. I'm back on the street a short while after the arrest.
I'm not alone, either – and the second key is that we actually police. The Chief Inspector of Constabulary reported last week that in larger forces like GMP, as few as six per cent of warranted officers were available at any one time to deal with crime. The rest were either tied up with paperwork or were part of the huge cadre of cops who never leave the station.
Over here, everyone is hands-on, almost all the time – even senior officers. Yesterday, my superintendent questioned us closely about a series of burglaries on our patch. To those serving in the penal battalions of the British police, the idea that a superintendent might care about burglaries, or know which officer to speak to about them, and might even turn up regularly on a morning parade, is fanciful.
Which brings me to my third point. When I got back to my car, I turned on my wireless laptop and brought up the real-time crime map, detailing incidents, methods and likely suspects. Then I went to try to catch them.
This technology gives us a great advantage over the British bobby – I can check vehicles and people, access intelligence reports, update incidents, write reports and charge people without having to return to the station. I can see which calls are still waiting for police attention and how many minutes they've been waiting. (British officers note: minutes, not hours, and certainly not days.)
The fourth crucial difference in policing is that we are financed by local taxpayers. We do what they want, not some central government police minister based in Ottawa (I think it's Ottawa; Canada's a big place). There are no standing armies of crime auditors, policing pledge compliance teams (yes, still) and crime management units. It's just cops, policing.
Rank-and-file British police are among the finest in the world, which is why Canada has been keen to recruit them. It's just the system that lets them – and the public – down. So my message to the Home Office is simple: cut the paperwork, sack bureaucrats, free up your police – and see what happens.
Antisemitic British judge gets vandals freed
A senior judge was under investigation yesterday after being accused of making anti-Semitic remarks in court that may have swayed his jury into acquitting a group of protesters.
Judge George Bathurst-Norman was said by critics to have persuaded a jury to clear a group of campaigners who smashed up a factory making parts for Israeli warplanes. Summing up in the criminal damage trial, he compared Israel to the Nazi regime and accused the country of ignoring international law. The judge added that 'there may be much to be admired' about the chief protester, and that 'in the last war he would probably have received a George Medal'.
The Office for Judicial Complaints, which deals with objections over the conduct of judges and magistrates, confirmed that an inquiry into how Judge Bathurst-Norman handled the trial of five political activists at Hove Crown Court in June is under way.
Its findings will be considered by Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge and Lord Chancellor Kenneth Clarke, who have the final say on any disciplinary action. A number of complaints are said to have accused the judge not just of anti-Israel rhetoric but specifically of anti-Semitism.
The case involved a group of activists who broke into and vandalised a Brighton factory run by engineering firm EDO MBM. The company was making parts for use in the bomb-aiming equipment on Israeli F16 warplanes. The invasion shut the factory for a week and caused £187,000 worth of damage. But five men and women who appeared in court claimed they had done nothing wrong under criminal damage law.
The law says someone is not guilty of causing damage if they believed it was necessary for the immediate protection of someone else's property. It is framed to protect, for example, someone who smashes a neighbour's door down if they believe their house is on fire.
However, in the Brighton case, the activists claimed they believed their invasion was necessary for the protection of property in Gaza. Several similar defences by protesters have been successful in recent years. In 2008, six Greenpeace protesters were acquitted after causing £30,000 worth of damage at a coal-fired power station. The jury in that case accepted they had acted to prevent climate change causing greater damage.
Describing evidence shown in court, Judge Bathurst-Norman told the jury that he could only describe the 'horrific' events shown as 'scenes which one would rather have hoped to have disappeared with the Nazi regimes of the last war'. In his summing up, he gave his backing to the evidence of one defendant, Ornella Saibene, a former Greenham Common activist.
The judge said: 'She took us through the horrors, and there really is no other word for it than horrors, that emerged in the press and on the news and the footage as to what the Israelis were doing in Gaza. 'You may think that perhaps "Hell on Earth" would be an understatement of what the Gazans endured.'
Among groups complaining was the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Its president, Vivian Wineman, said: 'The judge's comments give rise to profound concerns about the appropriateness of his directions to the jury.'
Jonathan Hoffman, of the Zionist Federation, said: 'This opens the door to any group which thinks the British presence in Afghanistan is wrong to go and smash up plants supplying British forces.'
Memphis Christians Fear Discrimination if Revision to Anti-Bias Policy Gets OKL
A proposed ordinance in Memphis, Tenn., that would ban discrimination against gays is causing outrage among some local critics who say the ordinance itself would be discriminatory -- against people who oppose homosexuality because of their religious beliefs.
"It's going to discriminate against people of faith who are Christians in their worldview, and I believe with all my heart that they have rights too," says Bellevue Baptist Church Pastor Steven Gaines.
The amendment to the city’s existing non-discrimination policy, which was presented to the city council Tuesday, would prohibit the city from discriminating based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression against employees, as well as anyone who has a contract with the city or who uses city facilities.
City Councilwoman Janis Fullilove, who sponsored the proposal at the request of gay rights organization Tennessee Equality Project, told the council Tuesday that every human deserves the right to be protected in the workplace.
“All people should be able to make a living, to provide for their families and contribute to their communities without fear of losing their jobs for something that has nothing to do with their job performance,” said Jonathan Cole, a spokesman for Tennessee Equality Project. “Right now it’s legal in Memphis to be fired simply because someone is gay or lesbian or transgender.”
But council member Barbara Swearengen Ware said the ordinance is simply unnecessary. "Is there a box on the application that requires people to check gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender? Then how do I know you are unless you're trying to flaunt it in my face?" she asked at the meeting, then contended that the city is already an equal opportunity employer and doesn’t need the amendment, the Memphis Flyer reported.
Critics also voiced concerns over biological men using women’s bathrooms. Fullilove responded by telling the council, "I know there are a lot of people with concerns about people going to the rest room. But how many times do you go into a restroom and look into the stall and ask, what are you? A man or a woman?"
Cole told Fox News he respects concerns that some critics have for the pending legislation, but he was especially bothered by the outrage coming from Bellevue Baptist Church. “They really lack moral authority on the issue,” he said. “This is the same congregation that can’t even share a softball field with a lesbian coach.” The church allegedly told a lesbian coach that her team would not be able to play in their church softball league after they discovered her sexual orientation.
“We think it would be wrong to have any city tax dollars go towards discriminating against any city employee,” Cole said. However, Cole stressed that his group is willing to make some concessions and perhaps offer churches an exemption from the proposed law. “We’re willing to start somewhere by giving them an exemption,” he said. “At least for the time being.”
The ordinance is scheduled to be discussed again before the full council on August 3.
How not to win: Fighting an unnamed enemy waging an unrecognized war
Since arriving in office, the Obama administration has delved deeply into its thesaurus to find ways of speaking about Islamism without mentioning it. In his June 2009 Cairo speech, a not atypical example, President Obama referred repeatedly to ‘extremists,’ ‘violent extremists’ and ‘violent extremism.’ He even referred at one point to anti-Israel terrorism by its Palestinian euphemism – ‘resistance.’
Add to this the philological ingenuities of his officials: ‘man-caused disasters’ (terrorism) and ‘overseas contingency operations’ (fighting Islamists in Afghanistan), and the omission of any mention of the terrorism and the ideology animating it is virtually uniform in this administration.
However, following last week’s terrorist outrages against Ugandans, Obama has referred now to ‘terrorists’ while also hitting on a new term: ‘racist.’ As an administration official helpfully explained, al Qaeda does not deploy its black African recruits except in their “lower level operations.” Are we then to assume that the administration would be pleased to see a higher proportion of black Africans in al-Qaeda’s operational cadre?
A cynic might argue that this reaction to the terrorist outrages affords hope that this race-preoccupied administration might be about to take Islamists seriously, if only because of al Qaeda’s contempt for inclusiveness and diversity. Unfortunately, any such hope would be frivolous.
Consider, for example, the rationale advanced by the Obama administration for banishing the words ‘Islamism’ and ‘jihad’ from the governmental lexicon.
In May, John O. Brennan, Obama’s chief national security adviser for counterterrorism, contended that to use such terms “would lend credence” to the notion “that the United States is somehow at war against Islam ... Nor do we describe our enemy as jihadists or Islamists because jihad is holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam meaning to purify oneself of one’s community.”
Yet, according to all schools of Islamic jurisprudence, jihad has always constituted a struggle by all means, including waging war, to establish and extend Muslim dominion over non-Muslims. Purification is seen to reside in attaining this objective, not in some conception of personal or communal development that Brennan artlessly drapes over it. The United States is not at war with Islam, but Muslims who wage jihad are at war with the United States.
Then consider who else of Brennan’s ilk Obama has appointed – or sought to appoint – to senior posts:
Rashad Hussain, envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the 57-member inter-governmental group of Muslim majority states: A former Justice Department official and White House deputy counsel, Hussain claimed in a 2007 article that restrictions placed on non-immigrant visitors from countries which have produced Islamist terror threats are “racist.” Hussain has also called the prosecution of a Florida professor who was found to have been illegally funding the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (presumed politically correct name: Palestinian Extremist Man-Made Disaster-Causers) “politically motivated persecution.”
Dalia Mogahed, adviser, White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships: Executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, Mogahed has been a promoter-apologist of groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), both of which are tied to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Mogahed claims that “misinformation” campaigns have tried to “disenfranchise them.” In fact, CAIR’s founder is on record praising suicide bombers and saying he would like the Quran to be the highest authority in America. Officials of both CAIR and ISNA have been indicted for funneling money to foreign terrorists.
Chas. W. Freeman: A former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Freeman was nominated last year by Obama to be chairman of the National Intelligence Council before vulnerabilities in his record of close ties to tyrannies like China and Saudi Arabia compelled him to withdraw. Freeman regards Palestinian terrorism as “resistance” and believes that America has shown Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist terrorist group that calls in its Charter for the world-wide murder of Jews, “unreasoning hostility.”
This impossible to satirize line-up suggests that this administration cannot win – itself an objective consciously discarded in Afghanistan by Obama in favor of ‘shoring up security in the country’ – over an unnamed enemy waging an unrecognized war.
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.
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