By Jonathan Sheppard
Last Tuesday I went to bed a normal person. By 6:00am the following morning I had joined a growing band of people who are known as being "victims of crime". Ok so mine was no biggie, but I still feel violated and angry that someone has dared to come on my property and take something of mine. Some little toe rag had entered my car parked two feet from my front door ransacked the boot and glove compartment and swiped my SatNav.
What to do? Well we needed to get to the station to head of to work and 10 minutes later we called the police. My wife was asked her name, ethnic minority, what job she had, and what car we drove amongst other pointless things including our address and we were told someone would be in touch. How naïve of me to expect a visit that evening from all those police we hear are making our streets safer.
Two days later – yes two days later - we get a call from a PC from a police station 20 miles away to finally give us a crime number. They apologise for the delay – but say they are behind in following up on committed crimes – something I'm sure all criminals will be delighted to hear.
We asked if anyone else has had anything broken into or stolen in an attempt to try to determine if it was part of a gang hitting the estate. No we were told. We ask are we likely to hear or see a police representative and are told it's unlikely.
Now at that point I suddenly concluded the police are just a pointless organisation. Is it too much to ask for a uniformed officer to visit someone who is a victim of crime? Funny how they had plenty of time to pull my wife over earlier in the year while driving to the station at 6:00am to breathalise her and then let her go on her way as they thought she may have been speeding. That's easy to do. Visiting a victim of crime and actually trying to solve it seems to be too much trouble.
That would have been the end of it had a neighbour not popped over to tell us the local paper had a small piece about someone else on the street who apparently also had things stolen on the same night.
So we do no less than call the police and ask why when we had asked if anyone else had been victims, had we been told no. First of all we were told there was no record of any other incident. When we point out it is in the local paper we are told that it is up to the public to link crimes. Funny – I really thought a detectives job may have been to detect things. Maybe I was wrong.
So now I am angry and ask for someone to call us back. Hours later a police constable calls and I yet again have to go through the whole story and say how I am pretty disgusted that now 4 days have gone and we have seen no uniformed officer given the police station is less than a mile away. She tried to fob me off, and then calls back a few hours later and leaves a message saying they were under the impression we didn't want to see anyone. Quite frankly I am nothing short of being disgusted as to how the police treat victims of crime.
They police spend more time collating useless information for their useless monitoring forms than doing real police work.
If they are behind in their work they don't send anyone out to see you. That means as a victim you clean up whatever mess the criminal has left – which means they will NEVER send anyone out as they will say they will then have no useable evidence. For them that then closes the case.
They don't even know what crimes have been committed where and furthermore think you the ordinary citizen should be doing the detective work for them.
My respect for the police has reached an all time low, and what makes me sad is I know my story is probably happening all over the country. Recorded crime will only be dropping because people like me will no longer see any point whatsoever in informing the police when a crime is committed.
The system now has to change to ensure victims of crime see police as a matter of course. Surely this isn't too much to ask? If that doens't happen, more and more people will begin to question what the purpose of our police force actually is.
Jonathan Sheppard is editor of Tory Radio.