HAYES IN THE HOUSE: Policing
Happily, for most of us the horror of serious crime is a newspaper headline not everyday reality. We are fortunate here in Lincolnshire to have one of the lowest crime rates in Britain. Nevertheless, the fact is that - in the country as a whole - crime is rising.
Those who suffer at the hands of criminals are victims of someone else’s greed or malice; they must never be allowed to be seen as mere statistics to plot on a graph. The increase in serious crime, particularly in our nation’s capital city, necessitates a rethink of our strategic approach to maintaining order, at the heart of which should be redefining the role of the police force.
According to senior police officers, responding to supposed ‘hate crimes’, coupled with monitoring people’s language online, has resulted in insufficient resources to effectively counter antisocial behaviour, robbery and violence. It is preposterous that half of all calls passed to frontline police are now about social media. We must take urgent action to affirm and support police priorities. A preoccupation with politically correct obsessions and supposed ‘offence’ has serious and disturbing consequences, tragically demonstrated over the last few years by the initial reluctance among police chiefs in the north of England to confront men of Pakistani origin responsible for the wholesale abuse of vulnerable white girls.
We must also address community and family breakdown – both considerable contributors to disorder. As civilities and courtesies once familiar have become less common, a willingness to give offence - and to take it - has grown. Alongside which, the erosion of too many communities has left those detached from neighbours and local institutions increasingly reliant on national services. It is a sign of the times that a growing number of 999 enquiries are made by callers simply looking for personal interaction or support.
Most importantly, we must restore adequate deterrents; tough justice is crucial if we are serious about protecting gentle and genuine people so often bullied and humiliated by the cruel and heartless. Too many heinous, hardened criminals receive risibly lenient sentences from liberal judges who, having only ever known the luxurious safety of privilege, view crime as sad rather than wicked. Both the protection of those who cannot protect themselves and the drive to deter those who seek to do them harm must inspire our approach to crime and punishment.
It is simply not reasonable to expect our hard working policemen and women to deal with every social problem. Our wonderful police officers are members of the same communities we are – they and their loved ones face the same threats from crime. Given that each of them risk their safety to protect us all, the least we owe them is that they are allowed to do their job free from the diktats of politically correct zealots.