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Police targeting 'trivial' crimes and alienating public.

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Police targeting 'trivial' crimes

London Underground

One man was arrested for holding a lift door open on the Tube, Civitas says

 

Police often choose to tackle "trivial" offences instead of serious crimes to help them meet government targets, a right-wing think tank has said.

 

The Civitas pamphlet said the trend meant many "law-abiding middle-class" people no longer trusted the service.

 

The Police Federation agreed officers were "struggling to bring some common sense to a... target-driven culture".

 

But the Home Office said it did not expect officers to hit targets at the expense of tackling serious offenders.

 

A spokesman said the government's crime strategy was designed to "free up the police so that they are able to focus on serious crimes and local priorities".

 

There were now fewer central targets, he said, adding that those announced last October gave more prominence to tackling serious crime.

 

 

In a city where... the public are crying out for more police on the streets, three officers are tied up for half the night arresting a young man for holding a lift door open with his foot

Civitas pamphlet

 

But Civitas said police forces, and the government, risked alienating the public by concentrating on "easy-to-deal-with offending" like speeding.

 

The pamphlet, written by journalist Harriet Sergeant, said many officers were expected to complete a certain number of "sanction detections" a month, either by charging, cautioning or fining an offender.

 

Arresting or fining a normally law-abiding person for a minor offence was a good way of achieving this target and pleasing the Home Office, the booklet said.

 

It mentioned one case in which a 19-year-old foreign student was arrested, detained for five hours and cautioned for holding open the door of a lift in a London Underground station.

 

"This story... reveals the bizarre stratagems created by the target culture," said the report.

 

"In a city where knife crime is exploding and the public are crying out for more police on the streets, three officers are tied up for half the night arresting a young man for holding a lift door open with his foot."

 

'Unethical'

 

The author said performance-related pay bonuses of between £10,000 and £15,000 a year for commanders who managed frontline officers partly depended on reaching targets for sanction detections.

 

"In order to meet targets, police are now classifying incidents as crimes that would previously have been dealt with informally, classified differently or ignored," said the pamphlet.

 

"Many police complained senior officers were pressurising them to make arrests they considered unethical," it added.

 

One officer was quoted as saying he warned his teenage son to take extra care at the end of the month when police were looking to fill their quota.

 

Adding that confidence in the police was falling Civitas said: "Complaints against the police have risen, with much of the increase coming from law-abiding, middle-class, middle-aged and retired people who no longer feel that the police are on their side."

 

"They are slow to respond to calls, even to serious crimes taking place; often slack about follow-up, and unwilling to tackle persistent anti-social behaviour that blights neighbourhoods."

 

 

This vicious circle of chasing targets then further alienates us from the majority of law-abiding people

Paul McKeever, Police Federation

 

The author recommended the problem be tackled by removing targets and that a new local tax should pay for policing.

 

Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation for England and Wales, said the organisation had long voiced concerns about the issues in the report.

 

"Police officers are struggling to bring some common sense to the increased demands of a target-driven culture, which is all too often resulting in arrests to boost the statistics we are judged upon, rather than to do what is right for the public.

 

"This vicious circle of chasing targets then further alienates us from the majority of law-abiding people."

 

Shadow home secretary David Davis said the report represented a "desperate - but not surprising - indictment of Labour's red tape, target-driven culture".

 

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said the government's current targets were "ridiculous".

 

"It is a nonsense that issuing a penalty notice for littering is of the same value as solving a murder. The principle of policing by consent is being seriously undermined."

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7427132.stm

Edited by Fop

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Officers 'to use own judgement'

Police officer

Officers will be left to decide for themselves whether to arrest or not

 

Four police forces are to abandon government targets and allow officers to decide whether to make arrests.

 

The "common-sense approach" being tried by the Surrey, Leicestershire, West Midlands and Staffordshire forces has been welcomed by the Home Office.

 

Government targets have been criticised for encouraging officers to focus on minor rather than serious crimes.

 

Surrey police chief Mark Rowley said the public did not want officers to be "compelled" to always arrest people.

 

'Common-sense resolutions'

 

The schemes follow recommendations outlined in Sir Ronnie Flanagan's review of policing, which was published in February.

 

Sir Ronnie said police did not need to collect the same amount of paperwork for a broken window as a murder.

 

 

I want our officers to apply their professional judgement and discretion to do the right thing

Temporary Chief Constable Mark Rowley

 

By cutting red tape at least five million man hours - or 2,500 officers - could be saved, he said.

 

Surrey is currently one of the best performing police forces in the country, but Chief Constable Rowley said he was prepared for a poorer performance rating this year.

 

"When the public contact us about minor disputes and incidents, they want practical, common-sense resolutions," he said.

 

"This can range from arrests when a minor incident is the tip of an iceberg, to advice and informal solutions when it is not.

 

"They do not want officers to feel compelled to record all incidents as crimes and to always arrest those involved, simply to hit targets.

 

"I want our officers to apply their professional judgement and discretion to do the right thing."

 

'Better use of time'

 

Surrey gave as an example that under current national guidelines, a complaint that a child had damaged a neighbour's greenhouse with a football would automatically result in a criminal damage offence being recorded and an investigation being started.

 

Now, however, "it may be possible to quickly establish that the damage was accidental and the child's family have offered to pay for a repair".

 

"The neighbour's complaint is solved, the child is not unnecessarily criminalised, and the time required for police to complete the paperwork for a crime investigation can be put to better use dealing with other public concerns," it said.

 

The Home Office said it was aware the police forces were about to start pilots "that will enable officers to use their professional judgement to determine the level of detail in recording of crimes".

 

"The aim is to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy, with the agreed principle that all allegations of crime will be recorded to ensure compliance with the national crime recording standards to ensure transparency, integrity and public confidence in the process."

 

The Association of Chief Police Officers commended the government for recognising that the burdens of targets now outweighed some of the benefits.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7428895.stm

 

:nufc:

Edited by Fop

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I once managed to put a window out with a cricket ball:D

 

Quite scary as I was young, in the not too distant future they'll give twenty years for that ,eh?

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I once managed to put a window out with a cricket ball:D

 

Quite scary as I was young, in the not too distant future they'll give twenty years for that ,eh?

 

 

Well you could well have ended up on the DNA database these days for it, for sure.

 

 

I can see why Governments and management structures love target driven operation so much (it's cheap and gives nice graphs to show off basically), but much like the NHS it can actually end up undermining the service and more importantly destroying trust in the service for very good reason.

 

Much like utility and transport privatisation, there are thing that just shouldn't be run that way.

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Another problem with the current police forces is PCs on the cheap (or PCSO's).

 

Given 3 hours training and far too much authority and usually the intellect of a house fly they are then unleashed on the public.

 

 

 

Christians 'told not to preach'

 

Two Christians claim a police community support officer told them to stop leafleting in an area of east Birmingham where many Muslims live.

 

The Christian Institute has complained to West Midlands Police the men were told to leave Alum Rock Road.

 

The US Christians said they were advised they were committing a hate crime by trying to convert Muslims.

 

West Midlands Police has investigated the complaint and said the officer intervened to defuse a row.

 

Arthur Cunningham and Joseph Abraham, a pastor at Grace Bible Fellowship Church, in Saltley, Birmingham, had been distributing leaflets in nearby Alum Rock on 19 February when the police support officer (PCSO) intervened.

 

Apology demanded

 

They claimed he warned them to leave the area, saying: "If you come back here and get beat up, well you have been warned."

 

Mr Cunningham and Mr Abraham then agreed to leave.

 

The men, backed by the Christian Institute, have complained to the force, saying their human rights were infringed.

 

They have also demanded an apology and damages.

 

A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said the complaint had been investigated by the force.

 

She said: "The investigation concluded that the PCSO acted with the best of intentions when he intervened to diffuse a heated argument between two groups of men."

 

The spokeswoman added that following the investigation the PCSO had been offered "guidance around what constitutes a hate crime as well as his communication style".

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_midlands/7430085.stm

 

 

There's been a massive increase complains from people doing perfectly legal and legitimate stuff (taking photos, demonstrating) being told that they are "breaking the law" when in fact they are doing no such thing (not just because of PCSO's either by full fat plod acting like this as well).

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Another problem with the current police forces is PCs on the cheap (or PCSO's).

 

Given 3 hours training and far too much authority and usually the intellect of a house fly they are then unleashed on the public.

 

 

 

Christians 'told not to preach'

 

Two Christians claim a police community support officer told them to stop leafleting in an area of east Birmingham where many Muslims live.

 

The Christian Institute has complained to West Midlands Police the men were told to leave Alum Rock Road.

 

The US Christians said they were advised they were committing a hate crime by trying to convert Muslims.

 

West Midlands Police has investigated the complaint and said the officer intervened to defuse a row.

 

Arthur Cunningham and Joseph Abraham, a pastor at Grace Bible Fellowship Church, in Saltley, Birmingham, had been distributing leaflets in nearby Alum Rock on 19 February when the police support officer (PCSO) intervened.

 

Apology demanded

 

They claimed he warned them to leave the area, saying: "If you come back here and get beat up, well you have been warned."

 

Mr Cunningham and Mr Abraham then agreed to leave.

 

The men, backed by the Christian Institute, have complained to the force, saying their human rights were infringed.

 

They have also demanded an apology and damages.

 

A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said the complaint had been investigated by the force.

 

She said: "The investigation concluded that the PCSO acted with the best of intentions when he intervened to diffuse a heated argument between two groups of men."

 

The spokeswoman added that following the investigation the PCSO had been offered "guidance around what constitutes a hate crime as well as his communication style".

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_midlands/7430085.stm

 

 

There's been a massive increase complains from people doing perfectly legal and legitimate stuff (taking photos, demonstrating) being told that they are "breaking the law" when in fact they are doing no such thing (not just because of PCSO's either by full fat plod acting like this as well).

 

That reads like sensible policing to me, warning people of the consequences of doing stupid (yet legal) things.

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Another problem with the current police forces is PCs on the cheap (or PCSO's).

 

Given 3 hours training and far too much authority and usually the intellect of a house fly they are then unleashed on the public.

 

 

 

Christians 'told not to preach'

 

Two Christians claim a police community support officer told them to stop leafleting in an area of east Birmingham where many Muslims live.

 

The Christian Institute has complained to West Midlands Police the men were told to leave Alum Rock Road.

 

The US Christians said they were advised they were committing a hate crime by trying to convert Muslims.

 

West Midlands Police has investigated the complaint and said the officer intervened to defuse a row.

 

Arthur Cunningham and Joseph Abraham, a pastor at Grace Bible Fellowship Church, in Saltley, Birmingham, had been distributing leaflets in nearby Alum Rock on 19 February when the police support officer (PCSO) intervened.

 

Apology demanded

 

They claimed he warned them to leave the area, saying: "If you come back here and get beat up, well you have been warned."

 

Mr Cunningham and Mr Abraham then agreed to leave.

 

The men, backed by the Christian Institute, have complained to the force, saying their human rights were infringed.

 

They have also demanded an apology and damages.

 

A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said the complaint had been investigated by the force.

 

She said: "The investigation concluded that the PCSO acted with the best of intentions when he intervened to diffuse a heated argument between two groups of men."

 

The spokeswoman added that following the investigation the PCSO had been offered "guidance around what constitutes a hate crime as well as his communication style".

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_midlands/7430085.stm

 

 

There's been a massive increase complains from people doing perfectly legal and legitimate stuff (taking photos, demonstrating) being told that they are "breaking the law" when in fact they are doing no such thing (not just because of PCSO's either by full fat plod acting like this as well).

 

That reads like sensible policing to me, warning people of the consequences of doing stupid (yet legal) things.

 

Wrongly advising someone that they are committing a "hate crime" is NOT sensible policing.

Saying it's their own fault if they get beat up for doing something perfectly legal is again NOT sensible policing.

 

 

Actually I'm surprised you haven't come across the "illegal" pubic photo taking issue yet, given you seem to take a few.

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There's been a massive increase complains from people doing perfectly legal and legitimate stuff (taking photos, demonstrating) being told that they are "breaking the law" when in fact they are doing no such thing (not just because of PCSO's either by full fat plod acting like this as well).

 

That reads like sensible policing to me, warning people of the consequences of doing stupid (yet legal) things.

 

Wrongly advising someone that they are committing a "hate crime" is NOT sensible policing.

Saying it's their own fault if they get beat up for doing something perfectly legal is again NOT sensible policing.

 

 

Actually I'm surprised you haven't come across the "illegal" pubic photo taking issue yet, given you seem to take a few.

 

Admittedly I kinda missed the "hate crime" bit which is stupid.

 

As for the public photos yes, Im aware of the problem however from what Ive seen so far it doesnt seem to be generally down to overzealous policing but actual directives from above with reference to the good old "anti terrorism act"

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There's been a massive increase complains from people doing perfectly legal and legitimate stuff (taking photos, demonstrating) being told that they are "breaking the law" when in fact they are doing no such thing (not just because of PCSO's either by full fat plod acting like this as well).

 

That reads like sensible policing to me, warning people of the consequences of doing stupid (yet legal) things.

 

Wrongly advising someone that they are committing a "hate crime" is NOT sensible policing.

Saying it's their own fault if they get beat up for doing something perfectly legal is again NOT sensible policing.

 

 

Actually I'm surprised you haven't come across the "illegal" pubic photo taking issue yet, given you seem to take a few.

 

Admittedly I kinda missed the "hate crime" bit which is stupid.

 

As for the public photos yes, Im aware of the problem however from what Ive seen so far it doesnt seem to be generally down to overzealous policing but actual directives from above with reference to the good old "anti terrorism act"

 

More than stupid, illegal.

 

Yeah the photo issue sort of comes from the "terrorism" legislation, but in reality it (the legislation) doesn't actually cause the problem as it's not illegal in most of the cases where it is quoted, just again the police or more often budget-plod don't actually have a clue what the law actually is and is not and tend to settle on the draconian as the "safe" option. :up:

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Guest alex

The two US Christians had to be absolute arseholes to go to a predominantly Muslim area and do this however. Looking for trouble and getting it. Not saying the police were in the right either, because they clearly got their facts wrong too.

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The two US Christians had to be absolute arseholes to go to a predominantly Muslim area and do this however. Looking for trouble and getting it. Not saying the police were in the right either, because they clearly got their facts wrong too.

 

The yanks?

 

Silly? Yes.

Illegal? No.

 

 

 

The police?

 

Silly? No, deadly serious (and a much more wide spread problem than this one example) - there no excuse when you're in that job, 3 days training and a power complex is NOT an excuse.

Illegal? Yes - police are there to enforce the actual law, not make it up as it suits them to make their lives easier.

 

 

 

It's not a "free society" when you are doing something perfectly legal, but aren't "allowed" to do it anyway.... and yet there's been a VAST amount of such things in recent years.

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Guest alex

I wasn't saying it was illegal. I actually agree with you about infringements on freedom that have been creeping in recently under the guise of 'the war against terror'.

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I wasn't saying it was illegal. I actually agree with you about infringements on freedom that have been creeping in recently under the guise of 'the war against terror'.

 

 

Yeah I know, just saying that because something may not be sensible, or even necessarily "nice" doesn't justify being falsely told you're committing a crime (quite serious one in this case given the boosted tariffs for such things).

 

It also underlines the degradation of the police force IMO as well (especially with PSCO's who have far too much power now for what they are - traffic wardens have more training FFS), I mean you'd expect a police officer attending a traffic accident to know that leaving the scene of an accident not perfectly "fine" unless there are mitigation circumstances (threat etc.), yet I'd bet an awful don't.

 

It is bizarre and worrying that even councils looking at benefit dodges comes under anti-terror legislation though.

 

There needs to be some carefully considered anti-anti-terror legislation in this country sooner rather than later.

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