* Posts by Rusticus

4 posts • joined 9 Oct 2007

Police shut non-urgent crime reporting portal


@ Andy

<< 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.


@ I smell a rat

<< I somewhat suspect that it was closed not because it wasn't good enough, but because it made it too EASY to report crime. The police don't like it being easy to report crimes unless they can solve them easily, because it makes them too accountable. >>

Load of twaddle. I know police-bashers usually aren't too bothered about whether their assertions make any sense, but the simple fact is that it's still considerably easier to ring the police up and say "I want to report a crime" than it ever was to fire up the computer, find the URL, log on, click here, click there, fill in a form and mail it in. Which, of course, is why most people continued to ring in even despite the existence of non-urgent recording portals.

Plus, the optimistic but misguided imposition of the National Crime Recording Standard and the National Standard of Incident Recording means that police discretion as to whether something warrants a response and investigation has been entirely removed. The upshot of which is that your burglary/mugging/rape will just have to wait while the force in question wades through the morass of neighbour disputes, driving complaints and schoolyard scraps that they're no longer allowed to reject. And the situation isn't helped by the increasing number of armchair experts, fully trained through the 'The Bill' school of telly policing: for them, every angry word or badly-parked car is a crime and demands police attention.

Police waste time dealing with petty nonsense not because they *want* to, but because the public and the government have said they must.


Apple sued over i-Bricks



I know it's just like *so* nineteenth century, but the fact is there are some rights you have, and some you don't; and there are some that people appear to be making up out of whole cloth.

Whether or not Apple are right to lock their phones or not I don't know and don't much care. But they're not under any obligation to You The Consumer to make any specific product in any specific way. They've chosen to make these phones and lock them. If you buy one, you buy it lock and all. If you then choose to attack it to try to remove or modify its design, then you have *absolutely no comeback* if either you break it in doing so; or if they (deliberately or not) push an upgrade that wouldn't have broken it if you hadn't buggered about with it.

The idea that you must automatically have some nebulous right to have everything you want on exactly the terms you want it is a relatively recent notion, the rise of which seems (although maybe I'm just being an old fart here) to correspond to some extent to the increasing rejection in our society of things like respect and responsibility.

As several sensible people have pointed out, the real answer is simple enough: if you don't like Apple's business practices then Don't Buy Apple.


iPod Nano in airport trouser conflagration horror


@Graham Dawson

"Our lot tend to be nervous trigger-happy bastards at the best of time because they aren't really used to carrying their weapons on a regular basis"

I see Gordon's already beaten me to it on this one, but I'm going to agree with him. Sure, what happened to Jean Charles de Menezes shouldn't have happened; and that's not the only time things have gone wrong in firearms incidents. But do you ever hear about the countless incidents where very highly trained British firearms officers manage to resolve matters *without* anyone being hurt - even in the face of extreme provocation? Of course you don't. But then, unless something goes tragically wrong as in the Menezes case, or there's scope for howling media indignation, there's no story, so the press aren't interested in reporting it. I'm not suggesting you shouldn't scrutinise what the police do: it's a free country (in theory) so you should do precisely that, and raise objections when they do things wrong. But generalised condemnation like this suggests a strong bias.

It's also difficult to compare British firearms officers to American police, not because one or the other is 'better', but because the basis of policing in these countries is fundamentally different.



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