LIKE most of us, the people of Hartlepool don’t ask much from their local police.
Being able to walk the streets in safety and feel secure in their own homes would be enough.
A armed robber dragged and threw a police officer out of her patrol car after raiding a petrol station[/caption]
And yet to ensure even this, the 90,000 residents of this caring town have now had to form their own neighbourhood patrols because there are only TEN police officers on duty at any time.
The town’s custody suite has been closed, the control room is empty and neighbours are trying to solve crimes by themselves.
Depressingly, however, this is becoming an issue across the nation.
In the past month I have had three members of the public tell me of having video evidence of criminals stealing their stuff and the police refusing to turn out.
Knife-wielding robber seen in CCTV footage from convenience store[/caption]
In one case officers turned up five days later, by which time the stolen items will have been moved on.
This week the chairman of the Met Police Federation called on the public to intervene after a WPC was filmed being ninja-kicked into the path of a bus in London.
I had vowed that I wouldn’t comment on policing after I quit as mayor of Middlesbrough three years ago.
But it is now time to speak out about the state of the police “service”, which I believe is now broken.
In the neighbourhood of Hartlepool are only TEN police officers on duty at any time[/caption]
It’s time for it to be the police “force” again. It needs to be a force to be reckoned with — a force that should be fighting for every inch of every street.
If they don’t do that the criminals will take ground.
I want to see more cops on the streets. It is front line policing that intervenes and gives the public reassurance.
When beat officers see someone doing something wrong, whether it is dropping litter or using racist language, they should deal with it there and then.
A female robber threatened a member of staff with a knife during a raid[/caption]
They don’t always have to arrest people or report them for summons, because this creates paperwork that keeps them off the streets.
Sometimes the intervention alone is sufficient.
But right now, forces are de-policing the streets. ‘
Often I see officers just ignoring people riding bikes on the pavement or swearing at them. Every time they let it happen, they are sending the wrong message to the whole community.
‘Robocop’ Ray Mallon is asking for more ‘stop and checks ‘ by the police to prevent crimes[/caption]
When you are a police officer you need to have courage. I see a lot of good cops who want to do the job.
They want to make a difference and protect the community, but they don’t have leaders instilling them with the confidence they need.
Police forces around the country have lots of managers, but not a lot of leaders.
Leadership is easy when you lead people where they want to go, whereas real leadership is leading people where they don’t want to go.
We need to have “stop and check”, which is different to “stop and search”.
There’s nothing wrong with police officers stopping aggressive hoodlums at 3am to ask them what they are up to.
If the police actually stop and check criminals — by which I mean asking questions and giving them a pat down rather than a full body search — they will cease carrying screwdrivers for burglaries or knives for attacks.
Stop and search became a politically incorrect term, but I think stop and check has an important place in keeping our streets safe, because it will control the behaviour of criminals.
Remember: Local officers in your neighbourhood know exactly who the crooks are.
In Hartlepool, I knew every last one of them.
But instead of taking responsibility for the problems on our streets, many chief constables are blaming the Government and a lack of resources.
‘Stop and search’ became a politically incorrect term but according to Ray Mallon it will ‘control the behaviour of criminals ‘[/caption]
It’s always been the case that police forces absorb money like a sponge absorbs water, and simply giving them more money does not make them more effective. They need to get rid of duplication. You don’t need officers to go out in pairs all the time, but just when it is necessary.
You can also take some officers away from specialist units, such as the CID and community support, which are important but should not be the top priority.
When I was detective superintendent in Hartlepool we wanted no fewer than 20 front line officers on every shift, because it reduced crime.
In Middlesbrough we reduced CID from 36 to 24 and gave 12 officers back to uniform. It reduced crime.
According to Malone, giving police forces more money does not make them more effective – police needs to get rid of duplication[/caption]
A chief constable has to decide whether their priority is for their officers to act as social workers or to deal with 999 calls. The Conservative
Party speaks of reducing bureaucracy, yet there is more administration than ever.
Of course, money will help and the Home Secretary does need to resource the police properly. But he also needs to take the fear out of policing.
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Lots of police tell me they are terrified of the The Independent Office for Police Conduct, which handles complaints against officers.
In my day I wanted to lock people up and if that got me into trouble, so be it.
But what we have now is cops shackled by bureaucracy, political correctness, very little leadership and feeling at risk of getting into trouble if they actually get stuck in.
- Ray Mallon, a former detective superintendent in Hartlepool, was nicknamed Robocop for his zero- tolerance approach to policing which reduced crime in the town by 35 per cent, before serving as mayor of Middlesbrough for 13 years.