Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Community policing

THE media is struggling to explain to its audience, viewers and readers exactly what new austerity Britain really means to services the public has become used to over the good years.
Consequently organisations just seem to want to carry on doing what they have always done.
There is no service that seems immune to this Ostrich-style syndrome. Heads are firmly fixed in the sand.
Take the police. Only this week the dire warnings have been emanating from chief constables about how the threatened cuts will bite.
It is claimed that just one in ten of police officers is on the street at any one time. Actually that is not so surprising when you take into account the 24-hours, seven days a week operation, holidays, sickness, back office functions, paperwork, court appearances, surveillance, victim support and traffic duties etc.
Yet here in Cumbria the Constabulary is vowing to toughen its stance on drink drivers after the number of people caught over the limit rose for the second year running.
They say they know this as every June, the Constabulary runs a summer drink drive campaign from 00:01 on the 1st June to 23:59 on the 30th.
This year, 95 people were arrested after officers conducted 952 breath tests during the campaign, meaning 10 percent of those tested were either over the limit or failed to provide a test.
In 2009, 88 arrests were made after 1434 breath tests, meaning six percent of those tested were either over the limit or failed to provide a test.
In 2008, 49 arrests were made after 1341 breath tests, meaning less than four percent of those tested were either over the limit or failed to provide a test.
But the reason for this apparent increase could also be better value for money policing. During the 2010 campaign, officers conducted fewer stop checks and breath tests than last year, but concentrated their efforts on areas where intelligence suggested people were more likely to be drink-driving. This tactic worked, with a higher percentage of drink drivers being caught.
But this was ignored by the force’s own press release which said: “The figures reveal an alarming reality - a significant number of people in Cumbria continue to think it is acceptable to get behind the wheel while they are over the drink drive limit.
“We work incredibly hard with our partners to get the message around the dangers of drink driving through to people but it seems that to some, the message falls on deaf ears.
“Our positive efforts to target and educate irresponsible drivers will continue but we need the help of the community to make drink driving socially unacceptable. We need individuals to realise that neither police or the communities in Cumbria will tolerate those who needlessly put the lives of innocent road users at risk. I would urge any member of the public with information about a drink-driver to contact the police, or Crimestoppers anonymously, in the same way they would about any other crime.”
If police do indeed face the cuts being mooted by the Home Secretary, they will have to rely ever more on the public to curb drink-drive offenders. This could give a new meaning to community policing.

No comments:

Post a comment