I’m currently in one of those troughs you go through when it seems like for weeks you’re dealing with handovers and the rest of the shift are running out of the station and chasing shoplifters across the shopping centre car-park. Still, if this weather continues we’ll have a national emergency and I’ll be able to take my own shotgun to work (I’ll bill the ammunition to the force though).
This story isn’t really surprising. What’s surprising is that it’s news. The orthodoxy is that a policeman on patrol comes across a burglary once every five years, so what’s the point in leaving the office? The longer I do this job, the more I think that this is utter rubbish: once you know where to look, there’s no shortage of thieves to harass and you can even catch people bang at it. The insanity of "Office-based policing" is creating a demand for officers like this (and good for them).
You just have to be out of the office.
I took a walk down the High Street on Saturday: hat on, amongst the market traders, refusing gifts of cauliflowers. I suspect I made more people happier than I would have done if I’d have stayed in the office filing my four detections before the end of the month. That’s the funny thing about the police: we furiously try to detect everything going, pushing our detection rate ever upwards and cautioning more people than ever (it’s called “Bringing offenders to justice” these days), whilst at the same time, the public don’t give a monkey’s.
I worry myself half to death about submitting paperwork in time and using all my organisational and IT skills to keep my head above water and yet all I have to do to earn the thanks of a town is to put on my hat and chat to people waiting for a bus. The thing is, I can meet most Home Office targets without ever leaving the police station.