Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Can't you just have a word with him, officer?

No we can't.

We don't do that.

Not any more.

Time was - we used to - we used to give out a lot of advice - we remembered who we'd spoken to, and what we said - we could even tell if they were listening and if they were going to take it on board.

But not now. It all changed - about ten years ago - but it was underway before then.

So no, we don't have a quiet word - there are forms to fill in, cases to build, partner agencies to consult, reports and files and memos. The paperwork's a nightmare. More than my job's worth not to do it properly.

So, as one of my team recently said, very wisely I thought:

Going to the Police is like going to a shop. Except our shop only sells convictions and prosecutions. Look around the shelves, and that's all we stock.

Convictions and prosecutions, and nothing else.

Now ask yourself, before you go any further -'Am I in the right shop? Is this what I want to buy?'

If not, walk out, because that's all we have on offer.

I think that sums up UK policing at the end of 2008.

Sgt C.

and a Happy New Year...


  1. It all seems a long time ago, but when I was a Beat Officer what we did was solve problems. Sometimes by arresting and charging and generally kicking ass, but often by a quiet word in the right direction. The important thing then was to solve the problem, not just to detect it.

  2. I will use an unfashionable word - Discretion.

    Neutered, that's what we are now.