October 10, 2007

spending review

During the last election policy anouncements followed a rigid pattern. The Conservatives would release a policy, and they would be slated for it by the BBC and everybody told how nasty it was. One or two weeks later Labour would release a policy that sounded almost exactly the same as the conservative one, but normally missing a few vital points, this time with no critism from the BBC. Exactly the same think happened over the death tax, except that for the first time the media seem to have actually noticed that Labour where blatantly stealling Conservative policy. The MSM may well go to sleep again but if they don't my bet is the next instance where this will come to light will be when they try to claim ownership of another peice of Conservative home turf, law and order.

Crime is one of the preanial problems of politics, especially since the introduction of the Welfare State crime rates have soared. The police are completely out of their depth and have fallen back on padding their statistics with un-crimes to try and make themselves look less incompetent. But unlike most areas of state incompetence they are not having cash sprayed at them, funding is now going to enter a stagnant period. He also said:
"The notion that this is still an inefficient public service is wrong,"
That they are inefficient? Or that they are a public service? Given that the evidence from the front line shows that they certainly are inefficient I guess that he was talking about the police not being a public service, which also fits with the evidence.
"The notion that this is the last bastion of unreconstructed 1960s public service, again, couldn't be farther from the truth."
Again he's not wrong. As already stated they are not a public service, and they have certainly been reconstructed since the 1960's. The problem is the way that they have been reconstructed according to the managerialist dogmas of performance metrics, and targets, and piles of paper work. The police might be a bit less likely to bring people to court that they have fitted up for crimes that they didn't do, but they are also less likely to bring anybody to court. Especially if they are engaged in real crimes that course real harm to other people such, as burglary, rather than simply un-crimes that harm nobody but help them get keep to their quota.

This is not what people want or expect. They want to be protected from those out to harm them but otherwise left to go about their business. At some point the fact that this expectation is almost the exact opposite of what actually happens is going to work its way up the political agenda.

What would be good is if they where reconstructed again in order to keep the laws for there to protect of the public from the police (and reinstate some that Labour have taken away), while also making the police protect the public from the criminals. A new form where strong civil liberties where combines with incentives for the police to actually catch criminals, but that is not on offer from any of the political parties. The only thing that could be done is to try and put a stop Labour's sustained attack on civil liberties, while not allowing the police to slide any further.


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