Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A COP-out

I've been struggling to get a handle on the dust-up between the plod and the pols, but Raedwald seems to have made a pretty good stab it it (to coin a phrase). Certainly, there is evidence that the plods are getting above themselves, not least with so many defining us a "civilians", as if they were a breed apart. In my view, that should be a sackable offence.

However, while Raedwald makes a case for democratic control of the plods, even under optimal conditions that is not going to happen as long as the police forces are so large and remote. Ours here is the West Yorkshire constabulary, headquartered in Wakefield – a 30-minute fast drive down a clear motorway – and about as un-local as London.

To my mind, each local authority area should have its own police force – notwithstanding that the "local" councils are too big as well. They need to be cut down to size if we are to restore local government and real democracy. And with that, there is a good case for a national police force to deal with serious crime, cross-border and national police issues, allowing the local plods to concentrate on local issues.

There should never be any bar, however, to central government having oversight. In fact, the golden age of local government rested on the premise: local administration, central supervision – not least to ensure a certain level of consistency and to even out the excesses.

That is certainly needed with the Facebook cases, where one lot get four-year sentences, while another gets a slap on the wrist. Actually it was a lot worse. Offender Joshua Moulinie, 19, was dealt with by way of a Community Orientated Policing outcome – known colloquially as a COP-out. That was the police response, underlining the need for the restoration of the death penalty.

Any official using such gravity-defying jargon should be put up in front of a firing squad, his remains incinerated and his ashes scattered at sea.