Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Tough On Crime, Tough On Perceptions Of Crime

We got an email at work yesterday informing us of yet another attack on a member of staff near our offices:

"You may be aware that there was an incident last night at around 6 pm. One of our contractors walked up ***** Street towards ***** and was attacked by 3 men who hit him over the head and stole his phone and money. Fortunately he is not badly hurt. The police are treating it as a serious matter – robbery with violence – and have expressed concern that the perpetrators may target other people leaving our building.

You’ll recall that there have been a number of unpleasant incidents recently...However, this incident is particularly disturbing....Again, it occurred in broad daylight. Whilst not wanting to alarm you, this clearly demonstrates that nobody should walk on their own from [our offices] to town or the transport centres. I think this has to apply at any time of day – if someone gets attacked at 6 pm, it could happen at any time. Please ensure that you have appropriate arrangements in place to get to and from work if you don’t travel by car.

There is nothing particularly remarkable about the area where our offices are. It is not especially run-down or "deprived". There used to be a drug rehabilitation centre nearby but that's closed. With the drug centre came prostitutes and you still see them around but not on the scale of a few years ago. In short, it is a pretty normal, mainly industrial area near a city centre. And yet our employers feel the need to describe it as a virtual no-go area for lone walkers. At any time. Such is the state of our city centres today in the Britain that was going to be "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime".

Labour want to convince us that crime is down, and depsite lying through their teeth to us all these years about WMD, educational standards, inflation, taxtion and all the rest, they're still surprised that no one believes them. So desperate are they to dupe us into thinking that they've got crime under control that they're planning to target police forces not on the levels of crime, but on the public's perceptions of those levels. Fantastic; eleven years after the country elected a born salesman, New Labour is outsourcing spin to the police. Meanwhile, those of us who live in the real world have to take life-or-death decisions such as whether to risk walking up to Morrisons to buy a toothbrush.

I was interested to see from the email that the police treating our latest local outrage "as a serious matter". Presumably that means they stopped filling in forms long enough to give the victim a crime number.

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