Posted by: secretperson | May 30, 2008

Targets Make Police Priorities All Wrong

Apparently the police are targetting easy trivial crimes to increase their clean-up rate and meet targets. The targets for “sanction detections”, which can mean bonuses of up to £15,000 per annum for the officers in charge, have led to offences which previously may have been dealt with informally being reported as crimes. The example given in the Telegraph is a man arrested, held and cautioned for holding open a lift door with his foot.

This follows recent trends in the seemingly opposite (but of course really the same direction). When car vandalism was not classed as a crime.

The linkis obvious. Easy to solve equals crime, diffcult to solve equals not crime. Therefore higher rate of crimes solved, good figures for the police and for the government setting these targets. Unfortunately for the public this means trivial ‘crimes’ are prosecuted and serious ones not. People lose trust in the police and as a result report fewer crimes, it is often stated the only reason to phone the police is to get a crime number for your insurance.

But fewer crimes reported, government figures show crime is down, government seems to win again. But they are not winning, the public are smarter than that. No-one believes governmnet statistics on crime, when their own experience can be so different. So everyone loses.

If only Labour could see their way round the ridiculous target culture that has seen this occur, as well as the over-testing and under-educating of children in schools, waiting lists for waiting lists in hospitals and PFI schemes not counting as debt. All an obsession with figures leads to is fiddling the figures. The local accuntability proposed in the report is a much better solution.



  1. […] Targets Make Police Priorities All Wrong […]

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