In his latest blog for Infologue.com, Chris Cully, Managing Director for Dilitas Ltd discusses policing targets. Chris writes: “If we travel back in time to the 1970’s and first half of the 1980’s The Met Police deployed officers in uniform onto the streets to patrol their beats and engage with their parishioners’. Their roles were wide and varied, but their primary role was the prevention of crime then next, the detection and arrest of offenders: a la Sir Richard Mayne 1829.
“Officers were quite happy to report motorist for traffic offences and would arrest criminals without a second thought. They would then manage the offender to court unaided; as the curse of the Crime Prosecution Service (great Oxymoron) (CPS) had not been foisted upon the UK public.
“The system was not perfect. But it worked and worked well.
“Jump forward in time and the process is in its death throes.
“Channel 4 now comes forward with an investigation which claims that leaked documents seen by Channel 4, show that in October 2013, some officers in a Met Borough were ordered to arrest at least two people every month, as well as to stop and search at least four. They were also ordered to issue at least one penalty notice or get a case to charge stage and to make a minimum of four entries in the force’s intelligence database.
“The Met has naturally denied this. The then Assistant Commissioner, Simon Byrne, issued a public denial, but conceded that, at a team level, work rate targets may have existed. Byrne is now the Chief Constable of Cheshire police, having left the Met in June 2014.
“If Channel 4 are correct, then this claim that officers are told to return this level of work is truly frightening, for several reasons. The first is that police officers have to be told what their actual job is. This is akin to telling a surgeon that he/she must “go and see some referrals and then perform an operation!”
“More frightening than that, is the level of work these officers were expected to return. Two arrests and four “stop and searches” and intelligence gathered in a month. As a probationer in the late 70’s, if I had produced only that level of work, I would never had made it through my first two months of my probation. I would have been dismissed as not suitable, lazy or incapable of doing the job for which I had spent 16 weeks training, morning, noon and night.
“To explain my horror at this expected level of work modern day officers are expected to return, let me take you back to Hounslow police station in 1979 1980. For the younger readers, a “Police Station” was a large, brick building that was open 24/7, located in the middle of the High Street and filled with uniformed police officers and detectives. The public could go in at any time and speak directly with a police officer, over an open counter and get immediate service. The police stations had phones, so you could call them directly and again speak to a police officer. Fascinating, eh?
“So, to 1979/80. On an average night duty at Hounslow, the PC’s on my relief would enter in black ink, on average anywhere between six to twelve stops in the “Book 66”, in which details of the person or persons stopped, were recorded during tea or grub. The objective being to get the “Stop” written in red ink, which meant the “Stop” had resulted in an arrest for crime. Again, on average, we would look to individually have at least five arrests within the week of nights. Occasionally these might be drunks, but in the main, they were for crime arrests; i.e. Taking & Driving Away (Nicking cars), Burglary, Going Equipped to Steal, Theft, Assault (ABH, GBH but never Common Assault!), Criminal Damage, Murder, Arson, Drugs, Disqualified Drivers and drunks behind the wheel, etc.
“All crime arrests went straight to court under our management and sometimes with the assistance of CID officers. In the main, they were dealt with at Magistrates Court, with the expected guilty plea provided by the offender. If not and the offender wanted to “give it a run”, then off to the Crown Court. All this achieved without the use for a massively incompetent infrastructure of politically controlled civilians and not very good lawyers, all ofwhom are the CPS.
“On top of this, we would be continuously in and out of the Collator’s office to provide a constant stream of intel on local issues and matters that had attracted our attention whilst patrolling our beats in foot and car, plus the movements and assignations of various villains and those of note, who lived or passed through Hounslow’s ground. Hounslow was no different from the 20+ other divisions that made up the Met.
“I fervently hope that Channel 4 have got this wrong or this claim is an isolated innocent, engendered by a senior officer, who neither knows what the Job entails or how to do it.
“My real fear is that it is true and perhaps more common than Simon Byrne would want us to know or believe.”
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