It has been a very interesting few weeks in Hillingdon on the crime front, and it would appear that many people have been asking the same question as I did on 5th October in my post, ‘Crime is under control? Pull the other one..’.
Chief Superintendent Julian Worker, the top police officer in Hillingdon, has called for residents to ‘reclaim the streets’ at a local meeting attended by over 50 local residents, and the local press. Mr Worker has asked for the local community to effectively act as eyes and ears for the police, requesting for witnesses to come forward where a crime has been committed and for everyone to be vigilant and report anti-social behaviour.
In the current economic climate, we all know that there will be cuts to local Police Forces, which my party is strongly against – With crime on the increase, how can any sane government make cuts to the service that protects local people? With this in mind, Mr Worker’s request seems eminently sensible, and in principle I agree with it. However, in practice, how can it work with the Politically Correct conditions that our local officers have to operate under?
I will give you a few examples as follows….
A customer of mine when I ran a phone shop in the Borough recounted a story about an issue in Hayes. He was a regular in my store, and I was concerned to see him with stitches to some nasty cuts up his arms. It turned out that he had intervened in a mugging of an old lady in Hayes Town – He had called the Police, but with no thought for his own safety had dived in to try and help her whilst waiting for them to arrive. In the ensuing melee, his arms were slashed by one of the muggers with a knife, whilst the other one ran off. He managed to subdue the mugger, and the Police arrived to take him away. You may think that this is a great example of public spiritedness and just what Mr Worker is asking for, but you would be wrong – Because they couldn’t find the knife used in the attack (even though the use of it was evident) and the old lady was so confused by the whole event, my customer was arrested and charged with racially aggravated assault based on the word of the mugger! He ended up with a fine and community service penalty, and now has a criminal record.
Indeed, I have even had my own encounter with this kind of thing myself. A couple of years ago, I was returning from a restaurant to my house with two friends. A battered old Mercedes was parked across my driveway, and we could see fists flying from the drivers seat. It turned out that the driver was assaulting his girlfriend, who we later found out was three months pregnant at the time. My two companions pulled the man out of the car, whilst I dived in to the house to call for assistance. The perpetrator wriggled free, ran to the middle of the road, and made a series of threats before running off with one of my friends in pursuit. The Police arrived, and brought back my friend and the attacker in separate squad cars. There followed an hour of questions outside my house where we were accused by the attacker of first being the people who beat his girlfirend up, then we were accused by him of trying to mug him and threaten him at knifepoint (We were searched by the officers, nothing was found), followed by an accusation that we had damaged his car because we were jealous that he had a Mercedes, and finally that we were trying to mug his girlfriend for her credit card! During this time, the scene was attended by a patrol van, three squad cars and an ambulance.
When I asked one of the officers at the end of the interrogation if he was going to charge the attacker with wasting police time, bearing in mind that he had made four groundless accusations and tied up all these resources,I got a smile and a shrug of the shoulders with a quick ‘You know the score’ as they let him go. He even shouted threats at us out of the window of the car as he drove off, to tell us that he knew where we lived and we would ‘get what was coming’ – Again, no action was taken by the Police.
I asked a friend of mine who was in the Police at the time why such a scenario should occur, and was informed that it was not worth the mound of paperwork that such an incident would create if they had taken it further. He also pointed out that a number of these people are persistent re-offenders, and with the help of their solicitors know every trick in the book to twist and turn what appears to be a simple case in to something much more sinister, along the lines of ‘police persecution’ of the offender. I thought he was being paranoid, until I sat in on a chat between some work colleagues and a friend of theirs, who works at a local solicitors. She seemed quite proud of how they could stretch a case out and make life difficult for the Police, even in an open and shut case. It was like listening to some of the left wing politicians who blame crime on social deprivation, as if the perpetrator of the crime is in some way the victim and that the victims of crime in some way ask for it.
I personally wish Mr Worker well with his initiative, but in light of just these few tales above (Of which I have many more) I feel that he will be fighting an uphill struggle unless somehow he can change the wrong type of PC (Political Correctness) around to the advantage of the right kind of PC!