Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Statistics & Crime Under the Labour Government

Every time I read the Guardian, I learn how statistically improved law enforcement has become across the pond, apparently compliments of the incredibly efficient central planners of the Labour Government. There is no local police force in the UK. It is all centralized. Indeed, even mention of devolving power to the uneducated masses to vote for their local police leadership is anathema to the socialists in Labour.

Thus I have often found it curious that policing should have so statistically improved under ten years of Labour rule when, from my friends in the U.K., I hear regularly that the lack of proper policing is one of their major complaints. As always in such cases, pulling up the government's skirt and thoroughly examining its dirty knickers leads inexorably to an answer.

Police spent months gathering statements from 542 people who donated money to a youngster who collected £700 for Comic Relief but then kept it.

The case was then recorded as 542 crimes of obtaining money by deception, boosting detection rates even though the youngster only received a warning, the Police Federation conference in Blackpool heard yesterday. It also emerged that an unidentified child in North Wales received a "penalty notice for disorder" (PND) for chalking on the pavement.

The cases were highlighted as absurd examples of the "target culture" reviled by many rank and file officers in England and Wales, which is "criminalising middle England".

The critics say pressure to boost the apparent success rate against crime forces police to make ridiculous decisions and use arrests, cautions or fines for trivial incidents which would not previously have been treated as crimes.

Investigation of more serious offences is then neglected. . .
Read the rest of the story here. Would a local police chief answerable to the locals by way of election for his position put up with this insanity. Hardly. But, when the central planners at Labour want their statistics to convince the confused U.K. voters just how effective the police in the U.K. really are . . . .

This would be a major scandal in the U.S. It seems to have caused only a should shrugging ripple across the pond at this point. I do hope it picks up steam. God forbid our police should ever become as good statistically as the U.K.'s. Then we will know it's time to vote the bums out.


billm99uk said...

Last I heard police forces were organised on a local rather than national basis in the UK. In Wales we have currently have four separate forces - I come under Dyfed-Powys myself (no I can't pronounce it properly either - I'm english!).

As you can see from wikipedia there was a proposal to merge the four welsh forces last year to better fight terrorism but it was so unpopular with the locals
that the government had to drop it. So we are capable of expressing a democratic view without a formal election process in place ;)

I don't think there's ever been much interest in the UK in electing all local officials as in the US. We tend to assume that it would lead to decision-making being made on a 'political' rather than ethical basis. I appreciate this isn't as common as you would think, and is mostly just a cliched movie plot (remember "The Front Page") but still, there's always the chance of getting stuck with a Mike Nifong or Mary Lacy.

billm99uk said...

That said, one of the current governments biggest flaws is it's tendency to try and micro-manage things via voluminous statistical targets. It's not just in police matters - you try getting an appointment with a specific National Health Service doctor these days. Because the goverment has a target that everybody must be seen in 48 hours, you can't book an appointment more than two days in advance, or choose which doctor you can see - you're just stuck with whoever's on duty in your 48 hour window:,,1473470,00.html

billm99uk said...

Oops! Missed part of the link off for some reason = it ends "0,,1473470,00.html"

Must figure out how to do these things properly...

scott said...

heh. What's a good englishman doing in Wales, home to the original Britons, til the Anglo-Saxons came and asked them to move over a bit.

The comment on appointing rather then electing has a reasonable basis in argument. But you can well get the same effect from an appointment - where the appointee is political rather then ethical also - and there is no means of local recall. At least with local elections, you're guaranteed a local say. As to Mike Nifong, yes, you do get him. And you also get rid of him at the local level when it becomes clear what he's done. Understand though, they are the exceptions to the rule. What we normally get is someone who spends a lot of time trying to do their job effectively so that they can get re-elected.

I had some British friends over when I lived in small town GA just outside Atlanta. They were amazed at the constant local police patrols throughout the neighborhoods. That is what elections get you. More time patrolling, a lot less time hunting down 572 people so you can make the stats look good for upper government. To me, at least, the small chance of a Nifong is substantially outweighed by the benefits of a local say.

Heh. I have heard all the comments about NHS too. Have friends in the UK who make a cottage industry of complaining about them every time we speak. Apparently with good reason.

I am probably one of the few in conservative circles who would be willing to see at least some experiments in socialized medicine. But I think the first stop would be to the UK to figure out what to do, and as important, what not to do.

Thanks for the comments and cites, Bill.


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