In 2018, local MP Matthew Offord hosted a Q&A with the local Police chief in Mill Hill, following the murder of a local shop keeper. The meeting saw people tell tales of violent burglaries that no one had been caught for doing and an explaination that the Police really had more important things to do in Mill Hill than catch violent burglars and deal with anti social behaviour You can read what happened here
Since those meetings took place, friends of mine have suffered the following:
Thefts from businesses
Vandalism of property
Not a single one has resulted in anyone being apprehended or a conviction being secured. In each case, a crime number was given and an offer was made of victim support. That was it. The victims were given an almost zero expectation of any sort of resolution of the crime. It has become clear to me that we no longer have what we used to call a working police force. We have a semi paramilitary force. which only interacts with the public when there is a strong reason to, ie policing protests, protecting airports. Then we have a bureacratic organisation that simply takes reports doles out numbers and sends people around to dole out sympathy. We are advised to dial 101 for non serious crime. Whenever I've tried this, I've had to hang on for 10-20 minutes before getting through. Usually by this time the situation has resolved itself. A year or two ago, I observed some young people starting fires at Arrandene in the car park. I rang 101. By the time I got through, they'd left.
If you query this, the answer is always the same "It's not a priority". There is a culture pervading that saying 'we have higher priorities' makes this OK. But I don't know anyone who actually agrees. I have yet to meet anyone who wants to see less police on the street to save the price of a espresso coffee a week. It is almost universal that people want an effective police force and unarmed police walking the street. They want burglars to be caught, kids to be prevented from vandalism. I can't remember an election where any candidate said "We are going to put less Police on the street" or "We are going to try less hard to arrest criminals".
I was having a drink with a couple of friends last night after 5 a side football and one of them said something that struck a rather disturbing note. He mentioned about getting nabbed by the Police for scrumping as a child. He was marched to his parents house and got a good telling off. I was mulling over this as I was walking to work this morning. The walk is approximatetly half a mile and in the process of this walk, five police cars sped past. Three were unmarked but had blue lights. A blue van with "Territorial Support Group" also sped past, sirens blaring. It made me wonder when I'd last seen a policeman on the street. The answer, rather disturbingly was outside St Pancras Station before Xmas. A couple of Officers were standing guard with machine guns. This is the current state of the police in 2022.
I believe that we need a massive recruitment drive for the Metropolitan Police, not just police, but back office support staff as well. These would free up expensively trained officers to do their job. We need to see the Police back in the community and back on our high street. We need the Police to talk to people on the street and build up good community relations. We need burglars and car theives to have an expectation that they will get caught and punished.
Did we Vote to abolish the Metropolitan Police as we used to know it? I don't believe we did. Quite the opposite. Time and again, we get promises of better policing from both the Tories and Labour parties. We have a Labour Mayor and Tory government, but between them we have a situation where if you are the victim of a crime, unless someone murders you or blows your place of work up, you are most unlikely ever to get more than a crime number from the Police. This is simply not right. If it is a question of "priorities" that simply means the Police lack the cash to do the job. I cannot believe that us as citizens are prepared to put up with a service that puts our wellbeing at such risk.