There is an old song by A-ha which has been playing in my brain as I have been reading the tweets from different Twittercops (and their supporters) on the subject of the Police cuts.
No it is not "Cry Wolf" - much to Theresa May's probable disappointment - but "The Living Daylights".
The first verse of that song goes something along the lines of the following;
Hey Driver, where we going? I swear my nerves are showing. Set your hopes up way too high - the living's in the way we die. Comes the morning and the headlights fade away - hundred thousand faces - I'm the one they frame. I've been waiting long for one of us to say - save the darkness - never let it fade away!
You are probably looking at the above verse - scratching your head - and wondering if I have completely lost the plot???
Allow me to explain (or attempt to).
The Police appear to have a couple of big problems - at least from where I am standing.
This may sound crazy but I think the biggest one is a mistrust of the general public when it comes to telling us the whole story.
Setting aside which ranks are seen as fit to commune with the public via the "Mainstream Media" for a minute - there is a clash between the ranks who are willing to speak out. The last time I remember a Twittercop daring to put his head above the parapet and blow the whistle about something affecting the Police and how they do their work - the Officer concerned found himself being forced out of his job (via an attempted Gross Misconduct charge).
No wonder the "Rank and File" Twittercops now appear to be split into three camps hen it comes to tryng to inform the general public of the cuts the Police are being subjected to.
We have the Chief Constables who are now being percieved as "Worst Case Scenario" merchants - 'We're doomed - I tell ye - doomed - but don't panic - you may have to do our jobs for us in some instances, that's all".
Next - we have the Retired Officers. These are more able to say what they think (you cannot sack someone if they are already retired). They are the ones who are caught between the Chief Constables and the "Boots on Ground" ranks - there experiences of policing msy be out of date but they still have a desire for the Police to be seen as a useful force again.
Lastly - we have the "Anonymous" Twittercops - who are vaccuuming up people like me for their cause merely by tweeting the truth as they see it day to day.
The public should not be allowed to exclusively hear one side of the story. That side being the Government - who - ironically - have a great interest in having a working Police force which is fit for purpose.
Instead of doing the Police down all the time the Government should be enabling a proper, serious, grown-up conversation about the role the Public want the Police to play in Society - along with how best to fund them in order to achieve it.
Firstly someone should go on "Mainstream Media" and spell out exactly what the Police do which is over and above their call of duty - and give them the stark choices about who should fund this work (if the Police are to continue doing it).
I really hope someone can convince the Government and the Senior Ranks that the veil of secrecy about exactly what the Police do including fighting crime - as well as how much it costs - and which services should really be taking up the slack - should be lifted so the darkness fades away and there are no more secrets.
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