Friday, 28 August 2009

No Police Presence

I haven't had much faith in the police force in Northern Ireland since the 4th November, 2001. Shortly after Northern Ireland Police was created, we suffered a burglary and the theft of our car; and we found them less than helpful in the apprehension of the perpetrators - or even contacting us to keep us abreast of any developments in the crimes.

I have never recognized the outlandish badges of rank and cap badges they wear, utterly out of step with other British police forces - thanks to the Patten Directive.

Of course I fully support Law and Order, which includes effective policing.

My attention has come to this article about Strandtown police station in east Belfast.

How frequently do the police patrol the Belmont area of Belfast by foot? Let us take an example of Belmont Road at Strandtown: are there regular foot patrols there half a dozen times per day?

How can a credible and effective police constabulary operate without a base - or police station - open to the general public; where citizens can visit personally to report a crime or, simply, speak to an officer for advice?

I have listened to their spokesmen and women claiming that they are tackling crime; that crime rates are down; that we don't need police stations; and there is more public confidence in Northern Ireland Police.

I am unconvinced. I do not believe them.

Are they telling us that, because of modern communications like mobile phones, the Internet etc we no longer need police stations? Or would the truth be that they don't have enough money - resources - to do the job?


Owen Polley said...

The police are there primarily to negotiate with 'community representatives' in order that they might attempt to persuade criminals to desist. They're allowed to shepherd drunks home after they get out of the pubs, do some traffic work and wander about if there's a high profile event taking place (as a sort of adjunct to Event Sec). Anything more and Sinn Féin / loyalist group might cry about 'heavy handed' policing.

Timothy Belmont said...

Quite. The police force seems to have been effectively emasculated - toothless.

I sometimes wonder what rank-and-file morale is like...

I am acquainted with police officers, though not on such intimate terms that I'd inquire about the true situation.

Perhaps I'm one of those mavericks who proclaim "the emperor has no clothes"!