<< You can't put the blame of league tables and accountability on the 'public'. >>
I didn't. I blamed on the public the public's increasing inability to judge what's a serious problem and what's trivial, and *some* people's utter conviction that their tiny problem must by definition outweigh everyone else's huge problems.
League tables, targets and the self-defeating obsession with statistics I blame firmly on politicians, whether they wear police uniforms or not.
<< My experience of the police in the last few years has been pretty poor, break ins, car torched, etc. The best I got was a crime number. >>
No doubt. Sorry to hear you've had a bad time - but that, unfortunately, is the result of the aforementioned policies, not any desire by the police to focus on tiny crimes because they're 'easier'. I'm pretty convinced that the majority of police would prefer to be dealing with serious problems rather than the drivel these 'standards' oblige them to give time to.
The trouble is that before the standards there was widespread public dissatisfaction when the police said "sorry, that's not really a police matter". Now there's similar dissatisfaction because they can't say that.
So how DO you please all the people all the time?
<< a situation where league tables have improved the activity which was being league tablized. >>
There aren't any. The entire statistics culture is based on the myth of game theory: that people, their needs, desires and aspirations can all be reduced to simple numerical formulae. And policing is fundamentally unquantifiable: you can't measure a crime that a police officer prevents by his or her mere presence, for example. To quote Robert Peel again:
"The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it."
So I wouldn't dream of suggesting that there isn't a problem: my only point here is that assuming the police - or members of any other public service - are all lazy slobs who don't want to bother doing the job is not only simplistic but also pretty much the opposite of the truth. It's not that they don't want to: it's that they're not being allowed to.