As I have mentioned before I have had personal links with the Police both in Leicestershire and in Rotterdam (both of my parents had relatives in the respective forces - and I am friends with an ex-police officer).
You will also have read mentions of a Twittercop going by the name of Constable Chaos elsewhere in my blog.
I am now going to throw another name into the mix to confuse you a little. There is a brilliant Twittercop in Rotterdam who I would love to meet. His name is Wilco Berenschot and he has come up with the most ingenious idea I ever heard about - it involves a police officer, a collapsible table, two folding chairs, and a tablet computer.
It goes something like this - find a handy street corner (if it is raining you can use an empty building) and a police officer. Supply police officer with table and two chairs - as well as tablet computer. Invite residents of street to sit down with police officer at table and complain at the officer. The officer makes a note of complaints and information recieved on tablet computer. Residents leave happy - and police officer gets information. Residents trust police officer because they are visible (or at least reasonably easy to find).
I fully expect to find more Pop-up Police Stations in Holland when I go back - seeing as I read a report that the actual Police Stations are in danger of being shut down.
Then we come to the fiasco commonly known as the English (sorry - British) Police Service.
Unlike the Dutch officers - who are routinely equipped with a pistol (as demonstrated in the video of the NOS studio fracas - the British Officers need to be part of the Firearms Division (or so it seems) before they get issued with a Taser, let alone any kind of gun.
There are two other things I find interesting about the British Police.
Apparently they are not allowed to strike or have a union (Police Federation is the nearest they get to a union).
More interesting than that is the following;
A Police Officer is seen as a Servant of the Crown (which I suppose they are). This somehow means that - unlike anybody else who has a grievance with their employer - your average Police Officer is not covered by Human Resources legislation.
Now, correct me if I am wrong but the last time I looked at a British Police Officer they appeared to have the same human characteristics as every other human I have ever met - head, body, arms, legs, etc, brain, blood, flesh, human needs, wants, and desires??? Some of them have even been known to communicate with the rest of the human population using sophisticated language.
Whilst the numbers of Police Officers are forcibly being reduced (through retirement, medical discharge, being stressed out enough to just give up, etc) the work they have to do remains the same or even increases.
From where I am standing it is becoming clear that a radical overhaul of the British Police Service is needed. When I say radical, I mean exactly that.
Disconnect it from the Crown and Parliament - allow officers to have a Union and strike if they so wish. In fact, I would go so far as to say the entire British Police Service should be privatised. That way funds could be raised by charging time wasters, Football clubs, etc, for each and every callout which is not a serious "blues and twos" (lights and sirens) emergency.
More to the point let the British Police Officers stop trying to answer the question "Are we humans or are we Police Officers?". (Sorry - I paraphrased that lyric from "Human" by The Killers.)
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