Saturday, 19 September 2009

Providing a second to none policing service

The title of this little post is the neat tagline adopted by a police force, a tagline that has recently proven itself to be an idiom in it's truest sense. From memory an idiom is defined as a word or phrase whose meaning cannot be interpreted from it's literal interpretation. From their website:

Leicestershire Constabulary is committed to providing an excellent service in all that we do. We desire to have a national reputation that is second to none.

We fully acknowledge our influence as a positive force for good within communities and our ability to build community cohesion, provide reassurance and tackle criminality.

We welcome the increased accountability and scrutiny applied to policing and will use this as a way of constantly improving our performance.

The challenge is hard with increasing global, national and local demand, but it is one that we seek to meet to the best of our ability within limited resources.
Leicestershire Constabulary strives to be

  • innovative and creative, using every opportunity to improve the quality of life for the residents of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
  • self-critical, unafraid to challenge the status quo and flexible enough to change our work practices wherever necessary.
  • accessible and open, listening and developing greater knowledge and understanding of our responsibilities and potential.
  • wise custodians of public money, ensuring that our resources are positioned where people can gain maximum benefit from their investment.
  • people of integrity, setting the highest professional standards of behaviour, welcoming diversity, straightforward with information, and not making promises we cannot keep.
Leicestershire Constabulary strives to focus its efforts on

  • providing highly visible policing situated in the heart of communities through local policing units, providing every police officer with the opportunity to exert personal influence and bring about positive change
  • becoming information led, concentrating resources where our impact upon vulnerability, offenders and criminality will be most effective to the benefit of all
  • setting clear standards in the non-negotiables such as our response to emergencies and crisis and the investigation of crime when it has occurred
  • entering into partnerships to resolve clearly identified problems and needs, sharing accountability wherever necessary
  • ensuring that any resource not at the front line is fully justified on the basis of clear and objective evidence.
This comment is already far longer than I intended, please forgive me - I felt it important to quote verbatim the mission statement of a police force whose neglect, in part, led a lonely and 'quiet' single mother of two disabled children to take her and her daughter's life in a final act of self-immolation in her car on a deserted lay-by. I do not pretend to understand what went through Fiona Pilkington's mind as she doused the interior of her car with petrol. I can only imagine this was the final dreadful act of a woman who, after 10 years of criminal attacks by local children, and numerous calls for help to the local police, gave up in the realisation that nobody cared.

Leicestershire Constabulary fell well short of their (over) ambitious mission statement; both the internal investigation and the current coroner's inquest will surely find against the police force and probably some paperwork or intelligence collation procedure will be tightened up as a result. However the police alone do not carry responsibility, similarly ridiculous mission statements can be found in the websites of local social and community services and government departments - and yes, as you suspected, they aren't worth the server space they're stored on.

There are few cases over the last years that have inspired such despair in me as this one, the failures are legion; local children, their parents, fear politics, the media, the local community, the local council, social services, the justice system, the family and the police all carry some responsibility.

I offer no solutions, just this - only we can stop this, not Police, ASBOS, Councils nor "professionals". If we don't take responsibility our society is irrevocably fucked, I suspect that there are many other Fiona Pilkingtons adrift out there - alone and desperate beyond logic, and that breaks my heart.

"There's no justice - just us"

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