Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Britain's invisible police: In worst forces, fewer than 10 per cent are actually fighting crime
Fewer than one in ten uniformed officers in some police forces are available to man the front line at any one time, a damning report reveals today.
There are also more officers on duty on a quiet Monday morning than at any other time of the week – and the fewest just after midnight on Friday when levels of drunken violence soar.
Antiquated shift patterns, court hearings and training requirements mean that in two forces only 9 per cent of officers can actually tackle crime, the police inspectorate found.
Bedfordshire, along with Devon and Cornwall, came bottom of a study into what proportion of officers in England and Wales are available to answer 999 calls or patrol the streets – the definition of front-line work.
The watchdog found many other forces fared little better, with an average of 12 per cent of officers available to catch crooks and keep people safe. The findings come despite vast increases in police budgets over the past decade.
The figures include officers and Police Community Support Officers. In some forces PCSOs typically do not work after 8pm.
Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Denis O’Connor also highlighted how one in three members of the police workforce is not employed in a front-line role. These include staff working in personnel, maintenance and administration.
Sir Denis said visible police ‘pay the rent’ because they are what the public wants to see and boost confidence in the service.
'Oh look, the first policeman of spring' He called on forces to consider how many officers they assign to front-line roles and whether they are available when demand peaks.
Inspectorate officials set out to examine how chief constables were using the manpower available to them. They found huge differences among the numbers of police officers and PCSOs who are available for duty.
At the bottom end of the scale with Bedfordshire and Devon and Cornwall were Kent and Greater Manchester which also had fewer than 10 per cent of officers on the front line.
At the top, Merseyside made almost 17 per cent of uniformed staff available for the work that matters most to taxpayers.
Sir Denis said there was a limit to the proportion of police who could be available because of the need to cover duties around the clock. Forces need to employ up to six officers to effectively cover one post 24 hours a day for a week.
The watchdog was asked by ministers to define the ‘front line’ and examine what proportion of officers were ‘available’ to the public. Sir Denis said debate continued to rage over what constituted ‘front-line’ policing, but added that it was those in everyday contact with people to keep them safe and enforce the law.
A survey of police and members of the public found most agree that those answering 999 calls and patrolling the streets are on the front line.
Sir Denis revealed that his staff faced resistance from some chief constables and that 21 forces out of 43 did not reply to a survey. But the findings will be examined closely by ministers who believe police leaders can manage budget cuts without damaging front-line performance.
However, Sir Denis warned that back and middle-office functions were not ‘disposable assets’, because forces needed trainers, accountants and IT experts to operate effectively. He added that there were few obvious candidates for cuts, even in back-office roles.
7 Topics We Can't Have Adult Conversations About in America
In a world where politics has become all-consuming and there's an interest group looking for an opportunity to exploit every issue, it has become almost impossible to have adult conversations about certain subjects. The moment you try to do so, legions of grievance mongers, ideologues and bottom feeders start belting out scripted responses that have nothing to do with the topic at hand and everything to do with what they imagine your motivations to be and how ugly, stupid, and flawed they think you are as a human being.
What this means is that certain crucial issues never really get discussed in this country. Instead, we just end up with people insulting each other back and forth. That's too bad because these are not small matters. To the contrary, they're rather consequential and they deserve to be seriously discussed instead of treated like partisan footballs.
1) An Overly-Feminized Society: Women have come a long way in the last fifty years, but you'd hardly know it from the feminist rhetoric we hear. Maybe instead of raging against the patriarchy, we should start asking if men are now getting the short end of the stick. Does that sound wacky? Tell that to a dad who's fighting for custody of his child in divorce court. How about when it comes to abortions? We keep hearing that it takes two people to make a baby and that both parties are responsible for raising a child; so how come the father is locked out of the decision-making when it comes to deciding whether there's going to be an abortion? If women are earning 57 percent of the college degrees these days, maybe we should be asking how our education system is failing our young men. Women may feel like they still have it tougher, but percentage-wise, there are probably as many men who feel like our gender is the one getting the raw deal. The difference is that men aren't usually willing to say it out loud.
2) Illegal Immigration: If you try to discuss the problems associated with illegal immigration, the only response is, "You just don't want Hispanics here!" That's really shorthand for, "We don't ever want to have a real discussion about the issue." Here's the simple reality: Because we have so many poor Hispanic countries near our southern border, the majority of illegal immigrants in this country is ALWAYS going to be Hispanic. We can never seem to get past that fact to really talk about all the other issues associated with illegal immigration. For example, are illegal immigrants putting Americans out of work? Are they driving down salaries that American workers are paid? If we allow illegals in the country to have citizenship, won't that just encourage more illegal immigrants to come here? Does it really make sense to allow millions of manual laborers, most of whom are poor and uneducated, to become American citizens who'll be eligible for welfare, food stamps, and Social Security? Wouldn't that just be importing poverty into the country? Are the millions of illegals in this country actually changing our culture for the worse? Should we put an end to birthright citizenship for the children of two illegals? Could it actually be dangerous over the long term to have millions of people here who aren't loyal to the United States and believe they have a right to be here illegally because the southern United States is "stolen land?"
3) Legal Immigration: Despite the attempts to conflate this problem with illegal immigration, it's a very different issue. For one thing, most Americans agree that legal immigration is a good thing -- at least to a certain extent. Still, if we start with the presumption that we do have a right to control who enters our country and that the goal of legal immigration should be to improve life for the people who are already here, there are a lot of important questions that deserve an answer other than, "You hate immigrants." We need to start asking: Should our immigration policy be based on merit instead of family connections? We're the most desirable location in the world; so why not take the best of the best? If we were actually bringing in rocket scientists, engineers, and computer programmers, then maybe it would be time to ask if we should increase the number of people we're allowing to immigrate to our country. Our immigration policies are actually changing the racial make-up of our country. Should we put a stop to that? Should we focus on bringing in more people from Western nations with similar cultures? How about we make immigrants ineligible to receive welfare or food stamps? These are all very relevant questions that we never really have any back-and-forth on. That should change.
4) Our Deficit Spending: A lot of people would argue that we do discuss this issue seriously, but that's not really the case. Many people give lip service to the idea that our spending is "unsustainable" and theoretically agree that we need to do something about it, but they fiercely resist actually getting down to brass tacks and distract, distract, distract when it's time to talk about real world solutions. Realistically, we cannot get our spending under control without dealing with Social Security and Medicare. Moreover, on the state and local level, union pensions have to be dealt with. Then there are taxes. Here's the truth: Taxes must go up at some point and we can't tax the rich enough to fix the problem. What that means is that the middle class must pay more in taxes, not for better services, but to pay for what we've already spent. If you disagree with what conservatives like Paul Ryan and Rand Paul have come up with, that's fine and dandy. Just present your own numbers that explain how we're going to pay off a 1.5 trillion dollar deficit, a 14 trillion dollar debt, and 100 trillion dollars in unfunded Medicare/Social Security liabilities without cutting NPR, PBS, cowboy poetry or anything else liberals think is essential.
5)Gay Marriage: Our republic has survived for 200+ years without gay marriage. Up until the last couple of decades, even gay activists weren't seriously trying to redefine marriage. So now, suddenly, anyone who opposes it is a homophobe? How about we discuss the fact that being pro-gay marriage is incompatible with being a Christian? Isn't forcing Christian churches to have gay marriages a violation of their First Amendment rights? Isn't it entirely possible that gay marriage could cheapen and demean heterosexual marriage leading to less marriages, which would harm society? Should we be doing something that helps mainstream an extremely unhealthy lifestyle? Why do we need a religious ceremony for gays when civil unions could supply the same legal rights without being nearly as controversial?
6)Racism: At what point can we all stop pretending that America hasn't done a 180 degree turn-around on race issues since the sixties? People yell “racism" so much these days that you'd think Democrats like Bull Connor and George Wallace are still around persecuting black Americans. Could we start by perhaps acknowledging that affirmative action is immoral government-sponsored racism against white Americans that undermines the achievements of all African Americans? Is it worth discussing the possibility that the sky-high illegitimacy rate in black America is ten times more of a factor in their problems than racism? How many black Americans fail simply because they've been told their entire lives that they're victims and that the deck is stacked against them? How about black racism? Louis Farrakhan, who's well liked in black America, is as much of a scumbag as a KKK leader and everyone knows black Americans supported Obama over Clinton purely because of his skin color. We rightfully condemn racism and race hatred amongst whites; so why do blacks get a pass on the same issue? Can we also admit that being black is often a huge advantage in pursuing scholarships, getting promotions, and avoiding getting fired? When the president of the United States is black, isn't that a pretty good indication that racism has become a very minor factor in American life?
7) Radical Islam: There's plenty of talk about radical Islam, but few genuine conversations about the subject because there are so many difficult questions to answer. How do we define a moderate Muslim? How do we tell the difference between the moderate Muslims and the radicals? Shariah law is barbarism that's incompatible with Western civilization. How do we stop it from spreading here? Should the unique problems associated with Islam affect our immigration policy? Why aren't more moderate Muslims speaking out against radical Islam? There are already Americans who've been intimidated by the violent threats of radical Islamists. What's the best way to keep those threats from inhibiting free speech? These are not bigoted questions; they're questions being asked by Americans all across the country. Unfortunately, instead of talking it over, some people would rather play the victim and scream "Islamophobia." It's not Islamophobia to question why parts of Islam have become so intertwined with murderous violence and why more Muslims aren't renouncing that violence the way people from other religions have in similar circumstances.
Australian Liberal Party MP says debate being stifled over 'racism' fears
The Liberal party is Australia's major conservative party -- odd though that will sound to Americans
THE Liberal senator widely attacked for describing Islam as a totalitarian ideology has warned that Australians at odds with the "politically correct" orthodoxy are being forced to whisper their views for fear of being labelled racists.
South Australian senator Cory Bernardi has also demanded migrants observe Australian customs and core values, urging the nation to reject a path of "isolation and separatism" by tolerating breaches of the nation's "social covenant" by newcomers.
But the nation's first Muslim MP, Sydney's Ed Husic, has rejected the comments, saying no-one needs to whisper opinions that represent considered and thoughtful argument.
Last month Senator Bernardi said in a radio interview: "Islam itself is the problem, it's not Muslims. Muslims are individuals that practise their faith in their own way, but Islam is a totalitarian, political and religious ideology."
The comments provoked a storm of critics, with Julia Gillard accusing the Liberals of "race-baiting" and demanding Tony Abbott dump Senator Bernardi as his parliamentary secretary.
Yesterday Senator Bernardi launched an impassioned defence of his stance on his website in a blog titled "The Whisper Zone".
"Those who speak publicly, - normally these are people of a conservative or traditional viewpoint - are too often shouted down, mocked and derided simply for expressing a viewpoint that does not align with the prevailing PC orthodoxy," Senator Bernardi wrote.
"This has the effect of silencing people because they are afraid of being intimidated and ridiculed.
In effect, they are reduced to whispering their views to others." Mr Husic, who holds the seat of Chifley, said Australia was a democracy where people were free to express their views.
"But in doing so, we should also be mindful that what we say, where these views may not be based on fact, can cause hurt or marginalise," Mr Husic told The Australian Online.
"People in public life have to be especially conscious of this. "I'd respectfully suggest there's no need to whisper considered, thoughtful argument."
"If one's views aren't based on fact or are indifferent to others in a rush to make a headline, then perhaps keeping those views to oneself is the best course of action."
Senator Bernardi said he was not precious or thin-skinned, but noted that it seemed publicly acceptable for Labor MPs like Kevin Rudd and Chris Evans, as well as independent senator Nick Xenophon, to express concerns about particular groups, while he was shouted down for expressing his views.
"If the cost of raising legitimate community concerns, whether or not others actually agree with the question raised, leads to lies, smears, irrational accusations of racism and bigotry, then we really do have a problem with free speech in this country," he wrote.
Conservative Compassion Vs. Liberal Pity
I've always seen President Bush as a Christian gentleman rather than as a conservative but the author below argues that his idea of compassionate conservatism was important and transforming. The argument that the Left are at best motivated by pity rather than compassion is cogent -- JR
A remarkable feature of President Bush’s pronouncements is his unashamed use of the “L” word. Mr. Bush calls his political philosophy “compassionate conservatism,” but he is not afraid to say the older, stronger word that gives that philosophy its meaning. The word is love.
Mr. Bush used the word when, during the presidential campaign, he was confronted by a man who spoke loosely and negligently of illegitimate children and the welfare system. When the man uttered the word “bastards,” Mr. Bush became angry. “First of all, sir,” he said, “we must remember that it is our duty to love all the children.” The president was similarly unflinching in his inaugural address, in which he spoke of “failures of love.” In that address Mr. Bush spoke, too, of “uncounted, unhonored acts of decency,” an allusion to Wordsworth’s lines describing
that best portion of a good man’s life;
His little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love.
Many conservatives are skeptical of the notion of mixing love and politics. Memories of the sloppy radicalism of the 1960s, with its “Summer of Love,” can sour almost anyone on love’s “significance as a principle of order in the human soul, in society and in the universe,” as T. S. Eliot put it.
But the taint goes deeper than the sixties. Long before the hippies exhorted a now-defunct counterculture to “make love, not war,” the parties of the Left sought to make love a first principle of politics. The socialists invoked the idea of love in their struggle against market liberalism: they believed that the modern system of loveless labor could be replaced by a model of community grounded not in competition but in mutual care.
The error the socialists and the welfare-state liberals made was to suppose that love’s efficacy can be gradually extended beyond the bounds of the family and the tribe, where it spontaneously creates desirable patterns of order, into larger communities, where it does not.
Wherever we see love required to perform a large, public role, we find that it almost always degenerates into pity. Hannah Arendt, the German Jewish émigré and New York intellectual, illuminated the distinction between love and pity when she drew attention in "On Revolution" to a theme in Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Arendt described how the novelist, in the story of the Grand Inquisitor, contrasted the loving compassion of Jesus with the eloquent but disastrous pity of the Inquisitor:
"For compassion, to be stricken with the suffering of someone else as though it were contagious, and pity, to be sorry without being touched in the flesh, are not only not the same, they may not even be related. Compassion, by its very nature, cannot be touched off by the sufferings of a whole class or a people, or, least of all, mankind as a whole. It cannot reach out farther than what is suffered by one person and still remain what it is supposed to be, co-suffering.
Its strength hinges on the strength of passion itself, which, in contrast to reason, can comprehend only the particular, but has no notion of the general and no capacity for generalization. The sin of the Grand Inquisitor was that he, like Robespierre, was “attracted toward les hommes faibles,” not only because such attraction was indistinguishable from lust for power, but also because he had depersonalized the sufferers, lumped them together into an aggregate—the people toujours malheureux, the suffering masses, et cetera.
Pity, Arendt argued, is a concern for the misery of another unprompted by intimacy with, or love for, the sufferer. Compassion, by contrast, is a love directed “towards specific suffering” and concentrates on “particular persons.” It can be exercised only by individuals or small groups, not by agencies or bureaus. Pity, Arendt wrote, “may be the perversion of compassion.” Because the pitier “is not stricken in the flesh,” because he keeps his “sentimental distance,” he has often shown “a greater capacity for cruelty” than the confessedly cruel.
The type of compassion that modern liberals claim as their own peculiar virtue is really a form of pity, milder perhaps than that which lies at the heart of the socialist orthodoxies, but dangerous in its own right.
David Hume called pity “counterfeited” love. It is the false compassion that results when men exercise their kindness by committee. It is the look in the eyes of the welfare clerk or the public housing official. To be pitied by another man is to stand humiliated before him; however well-intentioned programs grounded in pity may be, they always end by laying low their intended beneficiaries. Pity does not lead to a flourishing in the pitied, though it may provoke their resentment, even their rage; the act of pitying is always a kind of strength condescending to weakness. Love awakens; pity oppresses.
Driven by a belief in the redemptive power of love, President Bush has tried to mobilize America’s little platoons of compassion on behalf of the wayward, the needy, the outcast. Even so, pity still prevails in government. Proposed changes in the law, to involve the institutions of civil society in the distribution of public assistance, languish in limbo.
Religious institutions, for example, do a better job than purely secular assistance programs in helping people fix those inner defects of character that account for so much failure and distress, but our modern poor laws hinder the compassionate work of these organizations.
Whatever one’s idea of the truth of particular religious creeds, society benefits when people engaged in social work are able to see promise in the people they are charged with helping. Faith in God, Father Raphael says, is crucial to the work of the non-denominational Abraham House—as well as to its success. He calls the place a “little parish, a parish of offenders.”
His faith, Father Raphael says, not only helps him to see the “grace God can work” in fallen men; it also helps him overcome the fear a man naturally feels when he works under the ever present threat of violence.
Compassionate assistance cannot, of course, be a substitute for the punishment of criminal acts or atonement for wrongdoing. And we must remember, when we speak of compassion’s healing virtues, the ineradicable element of evil in human nature. No doubt most people do too little to resist the evil in themselves; but for the much smaller group who embrace the malignant power they discover in their hearts, even acts of kindness and of love may fail to redeem.
But although in many cases compassion can heal, institutions that have the power to do more than pity people who, unrepaired, will go on to wreck other lives continue to be shut out of public almsgiving. Abraham House receives no government money. In order to qualify for funds, it would have to compromise the principles that make it effective. “We tried many, many times,” Father Raphael says. “We went to Albany. We saw the people from the state and from the city, telling us, ‘Oh, you have to compromise with us, to change a little bit your philosophy, because we can help you.’ But our philosophy is that we cannot erase the spiritual way we deal with human beings.”
To understand how different from the compassionate ideal is the reality that bureaucratic pity has constructed, consider the example of the public school system. Compassion is at least as key in education as in almsgiving. A teacher’s faculty of sympathetic insight into his students’ minds and imaginations is precisely what shows him each one’s special potential. We do not, when young, know who we are; it is in the course of being educated that we come to understand what we must be. The teacher whose vision is sharpened by compassion helps to awaken those processes of self-culture that enable his student to develop his own peculiar gifts and aptitudes.....
Even though the liberals’ reign of pity has filled America with shabby housing projects and grim schoolhouses destitute of beauty and love, the Left has won a reputation for compassion, while conservatives are thought to be coldheartedly indifferent to human suffering. How did this come to pass? Partly because, with the decline of classical liberalism, conservatives became the principal defenders of liberty of trade. In their effort to rescue market principles, they forgot the role that love plays in ordering those parts of society that the mores of the marketplace do not govern.
But there is another reason. Unnerved by the success of the progressives, many conservatives reasoned that, since they could not possibly beat their opponents, they must join them. In a spirit of pessimism and opportunism, these conservatives abandoned their own principles. A mistake: they gave up the chance to formulate an alternative theory of compassion without gaining in exchange a reputation for charity.
If the liberals built up a regime of pity both to halt the spread of more sweeping forms of socialism and to assuage their own guilty consciences (in agony over the fact that some of them are rich), the pessimistic conservatives did so to outfox the liberals. One sees this dark cleverness at work in the careers of conservatives as different as Otto von Bismarck and Richard Nixon.
Bismarck, strictly speaking, was not a conservative: he was an idiosyncratic reactionary who, in the words of his English biographer, A. J. P. Taylor, followed by turns Marx and Metternich. In the 1880s, a decade after he had unified the German nation, Bismarck implemented a far-reaching program of social welfare insurance, grounded in the then-revolutionary idea of old-age pensions. The reforms he oversaw were, he believed, inevitable; better, he thought, that he, rather than the liberals or the radicals, should carry them out, for he at least could be relied upon to mitigate the damage.
These reforms were admirable in theory, and, had they been implemented in a different spirit, they might have proved beneficial in practice. But the Iron Chancellor enacted his program in a manner calculated to diminish personal liberty and increase the authority of the state. Bismarck, Taylor wrote, did not “promote social reform out of love for the German workers.” His object was to make workers “more subservient” to the state.
Bismarck “provocatively rejoiced,” Taylor wrote, “in echoing Frederick the Great’s wish to be le roi des gueux, king of the poor.”
But the merriment was deceptive, for the old Junker was at heart a pessimist. With his nervous anxieties, his gastric ulcers and temper tantrums, his nights with his cigars and his “Black Velvet” (a combination of stout and champagne he concocted himself), Bismarck was not at home in the modern world he felt powerless to stave off completely, nor was he in the least sympathetic to its aspiration to lift up the masses through social legislation. “I have spent the whole night hating,” he announced one day, when he was the most powerful man in Germany and perhaps in Europe, and might be supposed to have been on good terms with his planet.
In trying to outmaneuver his enemies, Bismarck laid the foundation for the socialist state envisioned by the nineteenth-century German economist Johann Karl Rodbertus, one of the earliest theoreticians to reconcile nationalism and socialism in a Romantic ideal of the super-state. Rodbertus thought it possible to re-create, in a nation-state organized along socialist lines, the communal purpose that had propelled the city-states of antiquity to greatness. In his theories lay the inspiration of a number of socialisms—National Socialism, Leninism, the Stalinist idea of “socialism in one country.” Bismarck was under no illusions about men reaching greatness; but in combining nationalism and socialism, he prepared the way for a successor who did nurse such dreams: Adolf Hitler....
Believing that Western civilization had passed its peak and begun to decline, both Nixon and Bismarck formulated their apparently compassionate programs out of a combination of cynicism and disillusionment. Ostensibly conservative, they never thought to address the problem of compassion in a conservative way; full of hate, they could never have grasped the transformative potential of love.
Possessed by morbid drives that defy easy psychological analysis, they pursued a revolutionary domestic policy, not because they had any faith in its merits but in order to be revenged on their enemies and consolidate their power.
Conservatives have come a long way since then. Unlike their counterparts 30 years ago, they’ve learned where compassion fails to thrive. They know that governments are not structures of love—any more than markets are. More important, they understand, as Burke and Tocqueville did, the power of civil society.
Conservatives today are showing that the state can mobilize civil power in new ways, in order to multiply the little platoons of compassion and to tap society’s deep reservoirs of love. From government-funded school voucher programs that give kids the chance to experience real teaching, to faith-based welfare reforms that actually promote welfare, these policies are designed to replace the pity that rots lives with the compassion that can transform them.
That’s what makes compassionate conservatism conservatism’s revolutionary idea.
Much more HERE
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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.