The Home Affairs parliamentary committee has today published its report into UK law enforcement, Policing in the 21st Century. In it, the MPs of the committee make a wide-ranging examination of future British policing. We've chosen to focus mainly on booze and technology. Before getting onto the rise of the networked copper, …
Lies, damn lies et al.
"Police funding in the UK is the highest amongst the OECD countries. For example, in 2004 the UK spent 2.5 per cent of GDP on public order and safety, ahead of the US at 2.2 per cent, Spain at 1.8 per cent, Germany at 1.6 per cent and France at 1.4 per cent."
Could this possibly be linked to the 3605 new offences created? I mean, it can't be cheap to police all those newly naughty people. 13.5% 'street-time' sounds pretty bad, but the front-line duties may well include the time coppers spend sitting in cars tapping away at their blackberrys, and i would guess that they still have a deterrant value whilst doing that. As with most 'shocking' figures/statistics they are only really useful for stirring up the [hornets nest/good citizens of Tonbridge Wells].
Look, there's a perfectly simple explanation for why we Brits drink a lot: it's called "the climate." When you live as far north as we do, there's bugger-all else to do in the dark depths of winter other than get drunk. Southern Europeans don't bother because a hangover in the heat is absolutely intolerable.
How did I arrive at this conclusion? After long discussions with two Scandinavians and a Russian - who can make the average Brit look teetotal. OK, I know parts of Europe don't fit the mould (The Netherlands and Belgium, in particular) but I would suggest that longer winter nights play their part in our desire for high alcohol consumption.
Why do we get violent and stupid about it, though? Beats me. Maybe we're all just a nation of chavs at heart?
A penguin: because it's getting cold now...
Governments and big projects
When will the government start to take into account historical activity when writing this stuff. Monolithic software projects don't work! There are reason for this from economists, scientists and managers. Everyone agrees monolithic projects don't work apart from government ministers and, strangely, the sales people at huge software (misnomer as many of these places seem to have more lawyers that engineers for some reason) companies. Let each force role it's own. First though, let the different police services define a decent set of interfaces for them to work against. Lots of different projects from lots of different (local) IT companies is good for competition, community, support, business links, etc. You might be missing out on any scale savings but history tells us that they're an illusion anyway.
What are these 'new offences' ?
"..3,605 new criminal offences have been created since 1997 ... "
Is that really true? What does it actually mean?
It might be that 3,605 changes have been made to existing legislation (yes i know we have new laws on cybercrime, terrorist offences etc; it was an example).
It may be that many of these changes, or new additions, were in the area of corporate governance or local authority related legislation.
As far as I know, it has always been illegal to plan to make bombs, assist in making bombs, make bombs and to kill people with bombs; but now we have a class of special description (Nu Terrorism ?) covering the reasons why the accused might have done this.
Are there really 3.605 NEW reasons why I might get locked away or is this just 'statistics as a headline grabber'? Has there been any analysis of these supposed 3,605 'new offences' and how they might affect the 'man in the street'? If anyone knows, please tell me. I'm afraid to go outside now in case I step on a crack in the pavement.
We are deep in the grips of the shiny-eyed acolytes and things will get worse before they get better. I do look forward to Gordon's head on a pole and a lot of French flouncing about but bizarrely enough I am for more legislation. Until the onerous burden becomes too much to bear we'll just suck it up. Close the pubs, ban alcohol, curfews all round. If this is needed to bring on the revolution I'm all for it. Kick all of these miserable cunts out of office.
Nothing to back it up
I have no evidence to back-up my assumptions (so I seem in good company) but I can't help feel the cost of land in the UK may have something to do with the violence/alcohol thing.
Whilst the cost of living in Scandanavia is high, the cost of housing is relatively far cheaper than here. This translates to people, on average, living in much nicer houses, bigger houses, having more space between them and their neighbours and there being much more green space generally. I haven't been to Sweden but I've travelled a fair bit through Iceland, Norway and Finland and the contrast between these countries and a typical British city is extraordinary. Britain just feels horribly cramped and claustraphobic.
I can't help but think that if I was paying £750/month to live in a grotty high-rise in Birmingham, with filth, noise and a complete lack of personal space, I'd be quite an angry person and would be tempted to get pissed pretty regularly to escape my circumstances. Add those together and you've soon got a load of drunk, angry people milling around looking for trouble.
Of course, that might be a load of bollocks.
What a crock
If I go to Spain, I can buy a beer for about €2, or £1.50; at festivals, guys go round selling cans of beer for €1 a piece. But I don't see young men fighting in the street, urinating in alleys or generally getting up to mischief. Except for the Brits, of course. And the story's fairly similar across Europe - alcohol is generally cheaper across the continent, but the drink-related crimes are less hand-wringingly obvious than here.
So the expense really has naff all to do with it, and this idea of making it too expensive to drink to excess is pure idiocy from the affluent twits in Parliament who know that they'd *always* be able to afford their wine/ port/ brandy/ champagne/ tipple of choice...
We're more boozy...
Here's a handful of potentially hundreds of reasons why we seem more boozy than other countries.
* 200 years ago water quality was diabolical so everyone took to drinking beer as it was "purified" through the brewing process, removing harmful nasties.
* Kids grow up very fast, they are bombarded to become adults far quicker so they copy adults far earlier.
* Kids have more expenable income than ever before.
* With teenage preganancies shooting up, generation gaps are closer, younger lifestyle habits like slaughtered, passed on before people have a chance to grow out of them, say older 30+ parents as opposed to younger 16+ parents
* You have far more opportunities to buy the stuff now, it's not just pubs and offys, it's every corner shop right up to the mega-marts on the edge of every town. Crikey, you can even have it delivered with your take-away now!
* Our Scots and Irish cousins, by way of the Vikings, have taught us that it's far more fun to smash your brains out than our weedy French mates who make far too much of fuss about social drinking in moderation!
* We're just a bunch of depressed piss-heads with a shite climate, taxed to the hilt and a government hell-bent on taking every last ounce out of us!
Drink related crime is largely due to the stress of living in modern Britain. Without wishing to compare Brits in general to monkeys or any other animal, it is proven that in zoos and places where animal's behaviour is restricted or forced away from the norm they will tend to develop asocial, antisocial or psychotic behaviour. The same is the case for British people living close to each other and regimented for most of the time, it's no wonder they drink to get away from the realities of life. In Polynesia on average, only 4 hours work a week is necessary to produce enough to eat and survive for a week, in the UK at least the 40 hours of the working week is required and for some much more, it all adds to the stress.
Nice to see that this group of MPs think that taxing the price of drink further and making legal booze an elitist thing by dint of it's price is the answer, twats! The likely outcome is to encourage illicit booze of one kind or another just like prohibition.
What is really needed in the UK is more freedom , less laws and controls, generally when you give most people more responsibility, they rise to it, let Brits be more responsible for themselves without laws and gov' interference. Don't control booze more tightly and take away another bit of liberty.
Cops spend 13.8 % patrolling and 60 odd percent in `front line´duties? so what about the other 20+ percent, is it spent on tea and doughnut breaks, interrogating terrorists or shooting Brazilians? As for more non sworn civilians, they are no more use than a milk monitor is for keeping order in class.
Politicians and cops? sad buggers!
No doubt our dear leaders, who are so keen to recommend price rises on booze for the great unwashed masses, will be taking the lead by raising prices in their three private subsidised bars in the Palace of Westminster.
"Without wishing to compare Brits in general to monkeys"
There's no good reason not to, since we (humans) are, in fact, basically monkeys and most of our social structures and behaviours reflect this fact, as you suggest.
I guess you can blame the monotheists for this, since they have foisted upon human society over the centuries the idea that humans are somehow divinely set apart from animals, and this has become rooted in the culture even of those with more atheistic tendencies to the extent that the phrase "no better than an animal" carries a weight that it really ought not to.
IMHO the fact that we invented neck ties and nuclear fission is not a good reason to discard the hard reality of millions of years of evolved primate psychology, but of course, animals have no morals, and to suggest that humans really don't either (despite millennia of seemingly incontrovertible evidence) just upsets the Paul Dacres of the world, and inflames the passions of the Daily Mail set who honestly believe that they _are_ better than animals, even though most of them lack the ability to lick their own genitalia, and indeed would have the practice banned even if they could.
Bearing all this in mind, it might be helpful to the situation if the lunatics who appear to be in charge of the asylum stopped acting like aggressive, lying, conflict addicted, warmongering, fearmongering, repressive, hypocritical knobheads. Monkey see, monkey do.
Too much funding, actually
In Cambridge, at least, I'd argue it's time for a substantial budget cut for the police. They have far too much idle time on their hands, and it shows. As a result, they are always busy with make-work activities such as cyclists going the "wrong way" down a pedestrianised street, or delaying all passengers at the train station for a 15-minute sniffer-dog search because there might possibly be some people bringing Cannabis to a fair.
Polynesia not that great after all.
>"In Polynesia on average, only 4 hours work a week is necessary to produce enough to eat and survive for a week"
What, EVERY bleedin' week? Blimey, that's a bit much innit? I don't think I could be bovvered.
By the other Steve
Rather than ignoring evolutionary and biological fact I was considering the sensibilities of Brits.
Same old story...
Seems like everyone is spending all their time proving why they need more money, instead of really analysing the problems. If Al Quaida worked like that, the twin towers would still be standing!
Why do kids think its great to get drunk? They are trying to escape! Escape what? Escape reality! Is reality so bad? Well yeah, watch the news, all you see is how society is collapsing.
If we can improve things for the kids, they won't run away to alcohol and cyberspace.
Anyway, as long as the police have radios, they really don't need pda's do they?
"We've chosen to focus mainly on booze and technology."
cos that is where the expertise of the staff at el reg is especial the former
so pepol are loading up on booes cos it is to expensive and the answer is to raise the price? nice use of logic there gov
Put the price of booze up by much and a £5 E suddenly looks like stonking good value.
Do we really want to pump cash into the hands of pushers?
Personally I blame the police for having failed, for many years now, to enforce the drunk and
disorderly laws. The gradual erosion from that has led to this. If you're drunk in the street in the
rest of Europe the people look at you like you're dirt, not so in Britain.
The "price them sober" idea, inherently suggests that it's poor people who are the problem
drinkers and so it's the peasantry who must be stopped from drinking too much, the wealthy
on the other hand are civilised so can handle it.
BTW Can the Reg sort out the double spacing in comments it's really annoying?
"Rather than ignoring evolutionary and biological fact I was considering the sensibilities of Brits."
Didn't think you were, old chap. Apologies for giving you that impression.