Monday, 12 September 2011

Policing - Nottinghamshire

Over the last few months there has been plenty of coverage of the recent civil unrest and rioting here in England, plenty of pundits, speculators, commentators and nanny-say-do-weller's have been on their podiums spouting off.

Some have blamed the parents, some the lack of morals, some video games, some rap & hip-hop culture, some the simple bad economic situation and lack of jobs.

I myself could speculate plenty about the problems, I was born in St Anns and raised in Top Valley, two of the roughest, dirtiest, dangerous areas of Nottingham city.  When people think of Nottingham they think of guns and shootings, so much so that the city has recieved the monica "Shottingham" in the tabloid press.  What seens to be reported however is always the shock and outrage at the time, but little ever gets done to address the situations.

I have to say, I grew up in Top Valley in the 80's and by the 90's I was leaving further and further afield to University, but you could play on the streets in those days, you didn't (often) have kids snatched from the streets, or if you did it wasn't exposéd on the tabloid front pages.  It was a different time, but the place was the same, the families were the same, the kind of kids and up bringings were the same.

So, why some three generations on is the place such a shit hole?  And I have two view points as to why, firstly the lack of jobs.  When I was a kid you could hear of peoples relatives going and getting casual work.  In factories, in food processing, in road or building works.  Work was, if not plentiful, certainly undersubscribed.

They went on about the unemployment figures in the 80's, but I strongly believe in our area a lot of the unemployment figures were from people simply not declaring they had a few hours here and there to make ends meet.  They took their benefits and added extra's.

Now-a-days though, those self same people are simply taking the benefits, there is no way for them to even get those part time ad hoc jobs they once had, and certainly no hope of decent employment.  So they're constantly struggling, the pressure builds and you get what we had here the other week.

That's all part of it, and being economics its all very convoluted and confused, so many inputs and so many expectactions that this is as far as I'm going to go with it and I'm going to move onto my other point.

Policing.  The police.  In the 80's and 90's you never saw them walking the beat on Top Valley, just as you never really see them today, but you never got the amount of violent disorder and crime you have today.  The reason for this was two fold, firstly the police if they were called came down on whomever was causing the problems like a tonne of bricks.  They took the work of two or more witnesses and acted, either telling the supposed-guilty party to shut up and buck up, or they gave them a night in the cells.  It was an ever present threat which ever teenager in the area pretty much tried to avoid.

Yes there was still high spirits, yes some crime, and certainly crime from many passing through the area.  But the actual people who made up that community did for the large part conform for a better standard of living all round.

Today however, you call the police and they come to mediate.  You formally inform them of an infraction of the law, you spell out the actual laws someone has transgressed and you actually formally request that they take action... and they come to mediate... "oh that might inflame them, lets talk about this"...

What the fuck?

When I call the police, three times in a week, and have documented, diaried, recorded evidence of the situation at hand, when I am willing to testify, give statement and act to solve the problem, I want that active, reactive, policing approach from the 80's and 90's.  I want the copper to listen to me, to understand I'm not a fool and to act.

Certainly not as my puppet, but to definately listen to my input and respond, hell I'd like to see them say "you're fucking moaning about nothing", then at least I would get off my high horse.

But oh no, modern policing... its mamby-pamby ball-less soul-less crack pop mediatory bollocks, and I'm saying this from experience.

Officers are either very confrontational to you the affronted party and very placating to the guilty party, or they simply do not engage with you.  I've seen two different officers, both male, stand toe to toe staring down affronted parties (who were also male) and then being concilliatory and pacifying to guilty parties (who were female), its like the stab vests are holding in too much testosterone and they're trained to just pacify the women and to piss the men off.

And as such I'm not surprised that there were riots, I'm not surprised police stations were attacked.  If I operated the prime civil law enforcement infrastructure and I witnessed my organization being so easy to trample at the bread and butter front line policing interface with the public, like the police here are, then I'd be very scared to be running that organization even ashamed.

None of this is meant to mean that we need draconian policing, but some balls at least, some common sense from practical living, rather than namby-pamby self reassurance course invested pseudo science clap trap approaches.

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