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Measuring an effective police force

Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
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high crime rate

no police on patrol

they'd rather lock up the lady who's cooking with cannabis than the drug dealers on the corner.


More police on the streets and less behind desks. In today's new age, moving desks are all the rage. How come the change isn't visible in the force?

How far can the police integrate with the community without losing sight of what they are really there for - the prevention of crime and disorder, one of Sir Robert Peel's (founder of modern policing) leading principles.
Is there too much emphasis on detection ?

Simple rules are required for a community to know so that they can behave within their rights with some lee-way.

for example , speed limits are set at 60 mph on motorways but everyone drives at 80 mph. Police tend to stop anyone exceeding 85 mph.I'd say anyone driving at 60 mph would be a hazard on the motorway.

Black drivers in fast cars tend to get stopped but then black drivers in fast cars previously tended to create more trouble for the law. Less so now. Remembering Rodney King, that event was broadcast round the world and created a stereotype of at least two types. ( leading to more headaches for the police).

It has to be said policing is one of the most difficult jobs there is.

There can't be any one country that can claim to have the best police force in the world. Though Britain regularly claims it has.
[ January 27, 2005: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]

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Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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So where is this youare describing? In the US, the situation is the opposite with a lower crime rate and more police on patrol.


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Helen Thomas
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Sorry Thomas. I hadn't finished typing when you posted. I have now.
Helen Thomas
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In the US the police depts probably decide

"Hey,last year we had 200,000 crimes we need 100,000 police officers" but the UK cannot throw numbers at the problem. There is the additional problem that Britain is a vastly changed and disintegrating society over the last five years or so , so it is impossible to deal with it this way.

Crimes are allowed to be committed because no one is really sure what the extent of the damage is until the courts decide. Crime is a low risk activity for the criminal in the UK.

On the streets a person's security and property depend not on his own efforts but on the ability of the police and bystanders to keep good order and with law enforcement requiring less officers on the beat the situation appears to be worsening.
[ January 27, 2005: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Jeroen Wenting
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Here it's simple. The police have a set target for fines that needs to be collected and are considered successful if they exceed that.
Arrests are irrrelevant and sometimes actively discouraged as they increase the cost of operating the system...


42
Helen Thomas
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:


Don't lose hope, fight the good fight until the end. The light has dimmed here across the pond as well, but even a small group of dedicated people can change the course of history.


That British society is vastly changed and disintegrating is probably not a bad thing as long as what society comes out of the chaos is better than what was previously definitively British.
Alan Wanwierd
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Joined: Jun 30, 2004
Posts: 624
Measuring crime is notoriously difficult. There are 2 main method and both are clearly flawed:

1) Use the police stats - Does an increase in people cuaght speeding mean more people are exceeding the speed limit? Not necessarily - It may just mean that more police are focussing on catching people speeding. Crime rates reported in this way could be slashed to zero by not catching people speeding! (Not very effective for anything much). This method is used widely to report alsorts of crime - particularly drink driving every xmas where true numbers cannot be established and the only guide is the number who are caught. The meda still tell us that this year numbers drink driving were down 5% on last year... (which is fairly meaningless unless we can compare the number of Police performing RBTs this year and last year at the same time)

2) Use crime reported crime figures. Sexual abuse, we are led to believe by the media, has increased massively over the last decade or so. Reports of abuse are up a gazillion percent (I have no idea what any actual numbers are). In actual fact the number of sexual abuses may well be at a fairly constant level in our society - but in the last decade it has become more acceptable to report such crimes. The resultant appearance is of a society becoming more and more depraved when in fact we are just more and more aware. The reverse effect may also have happened with some petty theft where the public perception of police ineffectiveness means that much petty theft goes unreported since the victim cannot be bothered to go through all the hassle with no hope of retrieving their property.


As far as "prevention of crime and disorder" is concerned, that may have been a leading principle behind policing but it seems to me that now the Police are responsible for dealing with societies thirst for revenge (see comment about "locking them up" or "removing gonads" in the drugs legalisation thread for examples). Time and time again we see punishment being ineffective as a preventative measure and despite calls from leading police figures to try and involve police in preventative policing, the public still demand crime solving rather than crime prevention 'cos they get to see the 'bad guy' get punished at the end! (which is percieved as value for money by the public).

A 100% effective preventative police force (a theoretical construct only), would, despite its effectiveness have trouble arguing for its existence since zero crime would lead public to question the need for policing!
[ January 27, 2005: Message edited by: Adrian Wallace ]
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Adrian Wallace:
Measuring crime is notoriously difficult. There are 2 main method and both are clearly flawed:

1) Use the police stats [...]

2) Use crime reported crime figures. [...]


Unfortunately the public seem to use measure (3), which is the level of hysteria in the media. :roll:


There will be glitches in my transition from being a saloon bar sage to a world statesman. - Tony Banks
Helen Thomas
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regarding there being too much emphasis on detection, I read in the paper of two under-ten school boys who were charged with thoughts to commit murder.
They had drawn pictures of them knifing another boy standing in a pool of blood and another of the boy hanging and they are standing below. The boy saw the pictures and reported them to the teachers.

This happened in the US and the general public seemed to agree that the police took the right measures to prevent another Columbine, the school where two teenagers killed 13 and wounded 22 others.

Did the justice meted out really fit the crime ?


The General Medical Council has almost agreed to allow another body to strike off doctors who have put themselves (and public opinion) first before their patients. I wonder if the police force should have a similar proceedings.
[ January 28, 2005: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Matt Fielder
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Posts: 158
This is a strange topic. Not because of its topic, but rather because of the number of variables that we could look at.

Let's take a less popular variable; the number of concealed carry permits available in a state. For those of you not familiar, many of the states within the US allow law abiding residents to carry concealed firearms for self-protection. In a study by Prof. John Lott, he set out to take a non-biased approach to investigate concealed carry and its effects. He found that the more legal guns in a community; the less crime.

But of course, you'll never read this in the news.
If you're interested:
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/493636.html
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Helen Thomas:
Did the justice meted out really fit the crime ?
I don;t know... what was the justice meted out?
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Matt Fielder:
He found that the more legal guns in a community; the less crime.
Robert Heinlein said that an armed society is a polite society.
Bhau Mhatre
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Matt Fielder: This is a strange topic. Not because of its topic, but rather because of the number of variables that we could look at.

There was a nice informative thread a while back. Wish it was closed (instead of deleted ) so that we could refer to it later. It made me wonder if the very concept of 'police' should be considered unconstitutional and an infringment of individual rights!


-Mumbai cha Bhau
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Robert Heinlein said that an armed society is a polite society.


So does ESR. I don't agree with his ideas about software licensing but otherwise he seems a pretty decent fellow.
Jeroen Wenting
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Posts: 5093
Originally posted by Dave Lenton:


Unfortunately the public seem to use measure (3), which is the level of hysteria in the media. :roll:


I use measure (4), which is how comfortable I am and how safe I feel walking the streets.
Sadly in many places I'm not at all comfortable...
Alan Wanwierd
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Joined: Jun 30, 2004
Posts: 624
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:


I use measure (4), which is how comfortable I am and how safe I feel walking the streets.
Sadly in many places I'm not at all comfortable...


Isnt that directly due to "3) The level of hysteria in the media"??

Our local news here often talks about how Brisbane city center is no longer safe at night and crime is gripping the city, yet after living here for 6 years I am yet to meet anyone who has become a victim of ANY kind of crime at all!! (and plenty of the people I know are regular late night city dwellers!)
Jeroen Wenting
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not quite.
A few years ago a friend (over 2 meters tall, athletic guy) was the victim of an attempted mugging right in the city center as he left the railway station.
Broad daylight, public open space, he was set upon by 2 guys with flickknifes.
After he knocked out one the other ran off. He would have been arrested for mollesting the one guy had not someone intervened and testified it was self defense.
Of course police only interfered after the criminals were incapacitated despite seeing it all happen.

And seeing groups of youths in agressive clothing walking around the place like they own it (and probably do) with weapons with no police in sight doesn't make for a situation in which I feel safe.

There've been 2 shootings in public places in which people got hurt in the part of the city where I live in the last year (and I've seen evidence of several more in broken windows with obvious bulletholes). Don't know the number of knife incidents, those aren't even reported anymore unless someone dies.
In each case the police makes up a nice report for the insurance companies and that's it, they don't even expect to catch the criminals and probably would be outgunned if they did.

When I worked in Amsterdam southeast we had standing orders to not leave the building alone in the dark, and to report to security when we had to work overtime so they could arrange 2 man teams to escort us to our cars.
Professional security forces were afraid to walk the streets alone out there.
I've seen several cars that were clearly shot up sitting on the curb when driving to work there, a colleague has seen bodies on the street in that same area.

So while it may be in part media hype, the threat is real. There's parts of Amsterdam the police is afraid to enter unless it's with armoured cars as backup.
Having to face AK47s and RPGs with pistols isn't a prospect that most of them like.
Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
Posts: 1759
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
I don;t know... what was the justice meted out?


I expect they'd be tried in a juvenile court for their crime - a third degree felony.

Same as the 12 year old kid from Ft Bend County who wrote something really bad on his desk - and was reported to the DA for gang graffiti - another third degree felony.

�6.06. Sentence of Imprisonment for Felony; Ordinary Terms

(1) If you commit a first degree felony, the punishment is a minimum of one to ten years to a maximum of life.

(2) If you commit a second degree felony, the punishment is a minimum of one to three years to a maximum of ten years.

(3) If you commit a third degree felony, the punishment is a minimum of one to two years with a maximum of five years.


[ January 30, 2005: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Helen Thomas
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Schools could be allowed to deal with their problems by applying peer pressure.

If the police will prove ineffective, would the military be brought in next ? Pre-teen children tried in a court martial !

A Home Office Study shows that 1 in 4 boys aged 14 to 17 is a serious or prolific offender. Only 1 in 100 offences lead to a trial. At the same time , a headmaster in Marlborough has abolished homework for over 12s, saying that children should manage their own learning.
[ January 30, 2005: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Dave Lenton
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Posts: 1241
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:


I use measure (4), which is how comfortable I am and how safe I feel walking the streets.
Sadly in many places I'm not at all comfortable...


While this approach is ok for the kind of intelligent and informed people that frequent this forum, a large part of the population derive this feeling of comfort more from what they read in a newspaper then from what they experience in person. Newspapers make more money from selling sensationalist stories about the fall of society, leading to a skewed opinion of crime. A recent study in the UK showed that while violent crime has fallen, the average person's perception is that violent crime has gone up.
Jeroen Wenting
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Posts: 5093
It also depends on how the study was conducted.
For example studies here too show the incidence of violent crime has gone down but at the same time the number of high profile cases has gone up dramatically.
Also at the same time the percentage of reported cases has gone down, as has the trust of the general population in law enforcement agencies (thus, people no longer think it worth their time going to the police as "they don't do anything about it anyway").
The percentage of reported cases that is subsequently solved has also gone down, thus the number of criminals out on the street rises (yet according to the studies those criminals commit less crimes?).

So the population gets conflicting data.
On the left are official reports that crime is down. On the right they hear from friends and colleagues ever more stories about them being the victim of criminals and ever more news reports about criminal cases not being solved or criminals being let go on technicalities despite have admitted to comitting the crimes they were arrested for.
Given an attitude in the population to not trust the government and law enforcement that's already been on the increase for several decades it's no surprise the official reports aren't being taken seriously.
A police agency that's often portrayed as being more interested in protecting the criminals and providing social care and spends the rest of its time in internal meetings isn't considered competent either. If they then get new uniforms to make them look "less threatening" it only goes from bad to worse.
Donald R. Cossitt
buckaroo
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Simple rules are required for a community to know so that they can behave within their rights with some lee-way.
(emphasis mine)

Herein lies the problem in the US: If you as a citizen, want access to your 'rights' you must be a criminal. Or, they have them and you don't! Unfortunately, laws here have taken on the insidious nature of punishing the law abiding and giving greater freedoms to the criminal. Or, what ever happened to Judge Roy Bean?


doco
Jeroen Wenting
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the problem in the US is that there's a group of people don't understand the "within limits" part and think they can do whatever they please no matter the consequences for anyone or anything else.

In Europe indeed the rights of the criminal are more important than the rights of his victims.
Example: Amnesty several years ago published a report stating the unhumane conditions in Dutch prisons for example. The reason? Inmates only had access to 25 channels on their cable TV sets (with each inmate having a private TV of course). At the time my parents had only 5 channels...
Example: A campground owner catches a burglar in the act after the police for weeks refused to patrol the area. He locks the man into a shed while he waits for the police to arrive.
The burglar is let go, the campground owner is arrested and put in prison for several months on charges of illegally imprisoning a person...
Example: a burglar enters a house and in the dark steps on a skateboard sitting in a hallway. He falls and breaks a leg.
When the police arrive (the owner woke up hearing the noise) the burglar filed charges claiming the skateboard had been placed there on purpose to harm burglars. House owner was arrested and convicted to some 3 weeks in prison plus had to pay several thousand Euro in damages to the burglar, burglar was let go and got his medical treatment paid for him.
Helen Thomas
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Human rights law should be considered first and last. Lack of impartiality contravenes the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights. In Europe it's probable that often petty burglars are also refugees. The burglar
would have got a sentence too, I should think.
[ February 02, 2005: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Helen Thomas
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Two policemen caught on video repeatedly slamming the face of a handcuffed black youth on the bonnet of a car in 2002 have been awarded $2.4 million in damages by a LA court. The incident was filmed by a backpacker and shown round the globe. The two policemen sued the city on the grounds of racial discrimination as a third officer involved received a far lighter sentence because he was black.
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Helen Thomas:
Human rights law should be considered first and last. Lack of impartiality contravenes the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights. In Europe it's probable that often petty burglars are also refugees. The burglar
would have got a sentence too, I should think.


The status as refugees of criminals should not make them immune from sentencing (as it now often does).
In stark contrast, criminal behaviour on the part of people with a foreign (or no) nationality (refugee or immigrant) should be immediate ground for having their residence permits withdrawn the moment their prison term ends and they should then be put on the first aircraft back to their home country.
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Helen Thomas:
Two policemen caught on video repeatedly slamming the face of a handcuffed black youth on the bonnet of a car in 2002 have been awarded $2.4 million in damages by a LA court. The incident was filmed by a backpacker and shown round the globe. The two policemen sued the city on the grounds of racial discrimination as a third officer involved received a far lighter sentence because he was black.


The Rodney King case?
What the popular press didn't tell is that King was a convicted fellon with several counts of armed assaults.
He was considered armed and dangerous (and a gun was indeed found in his vehicle).
He also resisted arrest.
Helen Thomas
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:


The Rodney King case?
What the popular press didn't tell is that King was a convicted fellon with several counts of armed assaults.
He was considered armed and dangerous (and a gun was indeed found in his vehicle).
He also resisted arrest.


No this incident was later involving a black teenager.
Helen Thomas
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:


The status as refugees of criminals should not make them immune from sentencing (as it now often does).
In stark contrast, criminal behaviour on the part of people with a foreign (or no) nationality (refugee or immigrant) should be immediate ground for having their residence permits withdrawn the moment their prison term ends and they should then be put on the first aircraft back to their home country.


There's probably a trend for soft policing. Kent County Council's budget wnet from a few �100,000 to something like 52 million pounds on account of the new immigrants in the county.
[ February 02, 2005: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
 
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