Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Joys of Modern Policing


Photo taken outside New Scotland Yard this afternoon at 3.30pm… What next? “You are being raped… ring 999 / You have been raped… ring 0300 123 1212”. I am sure there are very good reasons for this system, but if you're going to use a different number, how about using a memorable one?

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

1212 has been the suffix of Scotland Yard's telephone number since at least the time when it was the Norman Shaw Buildings

Chris Paul said...

Seems reasonably memorable actually Iain. 0300 123 1212 - really, that's not bad. Memorised already.

Anonymous said...

Not too difficult.

0300 numbers have recently been introduced for public services, quangos, etc. People are quickly becoming familiar with them.

123 is a number that most people should be able to remember.

1212 is the traditional number for Scotland Yard. Don't you remember WHITEHALL 1212. You still hear it in many old films.

Anonymous said...

Yes of course! Remember those old emergency messages - Mrs Coalscuttle is dangerously ill: please call Whitehall 1212.

Glad I'm not over 70 in Ireland said...

Can anybody advise - what is the charge for an 0300 call?

Profiting out of misery??

archduke said...

"if you're going to use a different number, how about using a memorable one?"

because if fewer people report crime, due to an unmemorable number, then New Labour can point to crime figures falling and how jolly great they are...

Burglar Bill said...

I am surprised they don't use a premium rate telephone number to (a) earn a few quid or (b) dissuade people from adding to the decreasing crime statistics.

Anonymous said...

Whitehall 1212 is more easily remembered than 0300 123 1212

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. If one's laptop has been nicked it may prove slightly more tricky to get one's paws on that number...

Gareth said...

Whitehall 1212!

Self prioritising customers.

Anonymous said...

I think the general idea is that the number of non emergency calls goes down, leads to a drop in reported crime etc etc. But after the debacle with recording announced today they'd better be sure how they manage this.

ukipwebmaster said...

I see a meme developing here:
The Joys of Modern.....Politics
Been on a yacht?
Ring the News of the world.
About to go on a yacht?
Ring CCHQ immediately.

golden rose said...

Iain, i realise you are drawing attention to a serious issue, but the use of rape in your example is perhaps not the best one. Many other examples would work just as well and rape is trivialised enough as it is by too many people.

The nature of the issue makes it difficult for people who have lived through this to come forward publicly; only a few exceptional people feel able to do this.

Fair enough, there isn't a law which says you absolutely have to be nice to a rape victim, but it can and does form a backdrop to the lives of real people and sometimes that isn't recognised sufficiently. Or even acknowledged at all.

Diversity said...

Give them a chance!

Ian Blair has not actually gone yet, has he?

Anonymous said...

Didn't think it would take long before lickspittles like Chris Paul turned up to say "Oh yes actually, 0300 123 1212, very easy to remember, long live New Labour." All it needs is David Boothroyd to use some obscure bit of pedantry backed up with some quasi-historical rot to complete the set.

If you've been burgled, the police should be round to sort it out as an emergency. Anything else is a failure of policing policy.

Bobby's friend said...

I saw some one who is not my neighbour opening that house with keys and I phoned the local burglary
report number given to me by a police constable who visted another house last time. It did not work, after struggling 20 mins I got to the police station reception and they said some one will come. After 3 hours a constable looking pale came with a fist full of notices and without asking stuck each on the walls of houses and walked away without talking! The notices asked that the police should be contacted if suspiious incidents occur and the notices each carried different phone numbers!

brian in the tamar valley said...

Iain, I was blogging about this subject in December 2006! In Devon and Cornwall the non emergency (switchboard) number is 08452 777444. I noted in my piece that Hampshire were experimenting with just three digits: 101. For consistency this needs to be rolled out over the whole country (of course there might be a technical reason prohibiting this) but it would be good to get some joined up thinking between the different forces.

Anonymous said...

Don`t forget Iain that all police are `instutionally incompetent`. You know they are, no matter what phone nunber they answer.

The Idiot said...

Being murdered? No you're not, it's tabloid hysteria!

gchq - listening out for you said...

"Thank you for calling the Jacqui Smith Criminal Statistics Hotline. Your call may be recorded. Pretty much certain, in fact. Because we can. Get used to it. In order to improve the quality of our data you will be disconnected in five sec....."

Shaun said...

Presumably there are moments where you want to report a crime but explaining it will reference an earlier offence. Say, for example, you want to report that someone is robbing your family at gunpoint. While the ARV is obviously a *current* crime, obtaining the weapon was almost certainly the result of at least one other previous crime. So which number should you call? Oh, its so confusing!

Anonymous said...

It is pure madness Iain.


Fortunately I have only thrice been in the position to actually need to call the emergency services on 999 and I have to say that their response was excellent.


Yet I have had numerous occaisions to inform them of more trivial stuff, such as downed power lines, travellers breaking into a beauty spot, fly tippers and so on. Yet there was no obvious number to report this and certainly not a free number.

Why isn't there a national sub emergency number?

Shaun said...

"Police fail to record crime properly, as violence rises 22%"

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article4998731.ece

Key bit: "Police forces across England and Wales have been under-recording serious violent crime for at least a decade, the Home Office admitted on Thursday as it tried to explain away a sudden spike in the crime statistics."

So basically for the entire duration of this government, during which time we've seen a widespread politicisation of policing, the Police have under reported violence allowing the Labour government to claim crime was under control/down/not here guv? Is it just me or is such a widespread systemic failure looking suspicious to anyone else?

With all these books to cook, no wonder they need more phone numbers!

africanmum said...

When you listen to an ACPO rep defend how they record statistics then you know we're really up **** creek without a paddle. Looked like a dodgy insurance salesman caught out mis-selling personal pensions. Nu Lab has infiltrated all of this country's institutions I'm afraid. And the evil nature of ZanuLabour is revealed by the comments that we get here from their supporters, always defending the indefensible. Even a kid knows the picture you posted is ridiculous, but up pop some of Nu Labour-bots, saying we can memorise the number. Have they been brainwashed? Are they being paid? Is Nu Labour a cult? Next time you meet anyone from former Yugoslavia, have a chat, you'd realise what road we're travelling down at the moment. Their Socialist party has been described by a few of them as identical to Nu Labour. May God help us all.
p.s. slightly off post, have posted about their 'compulsory sex education lessons' for toddlers. You should alert people about how families and our freedoms are being destroyed by this macabre social movement called Nu Labour.

Blue Eyes said...

I like all the Labour Party attempts to mitigate the stupidity of the choice of number! I did a piece about this quite a while back though :-((

Blue Eyes said...

BTW as an aside, if you dial 999 the police HAVE to turn up - there are targets, dontchya know?

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, the EU are going to harmonise all this for us.

Andrew Scadding said...

Shepherd's Bush police station cut down on reported crime by simply not answering their phone. If you can't speak to them you can't report a crime. Ergo, reported crime falls. This new system, typically New Labour, simply centralises the Shepherd's Bush tactic so that a small specialist team can ignore all attempts to report crime, and resources are released. The public can then be ignored locally in new, ingenious and freshly irritating ways.

The Head Hitter said...

You're being stabbed to death - call 999. You've been stabbed to death - call 0... never mind.

lurker said...

If they're serious about keeping valid-but-not-actual-emergency calls away from 999, they'll need a short code service, i.e. three digits. If it's a Non-Emergency Number, why not 636? Almost everyone had a mobile, so if you can't remember the number look for the letters and dial NEN.
Next step would be to roll it out nationally, which has me thinking "are they just testing it in London & other areas with a view to eventually having a national standard like 636 if the Met finds it's worth the effort?"

graybo said...

I've heard much talk of a national non-emergency number, but it doesn't seem to have been introduced yet. It should be brought in forthwith. As others have noted, local non-emergency numbers vary from force to force and this doesn't help a very mobile public report crime and, therefore, deter crime and help to catch offenders.

I've called 999 a couple of times for things which might not be considered emergency matters (both times it was for a dangerous obstruction in a busy road - once a metal sign, once a loose tarpaulin). In both instances, the Sussex Police operator was helpful, polite, courteous and efficient and didn't hector me for using 999 instead of whatever their non-emergency number is. In general, I don't think anyone would complain too much if you used 999. It's the idiots who call 999 to ask the time or for directions to the loo who need to be brought to book.

Roger Thornhill said...

Maybe the main parties should now say

"Have you not voted? we are listening/Have you voted? click:brrrrrrrr"

crime is down said...

A work colleague was keeping an eye on his neighbour's house while they were away on holiday. He thought that the house was being burgled and phoned the police to report it. He was told - "it's not your house so you can't report it".

37 said...

That reminded me of an advert in Viz that went something like:

"Raped?
Burgled?
Run over?

Why not call the Police?

The Police- tel. 999"

brian in the tamar valley said...

lurker 9.13 - you might like to read my comment at 7.45 yesterday. The three digit number 101 is already being trialled in one or two places - hopefully that will get rolled out countrywide. As 999 is a national number it does seem sensible to also have a national number for non emergencies. I think in Hampshire the 101 number is the police switchboard (might be wrong on this) whereas 999 can be farmed out to any emergency service once the operator answers. Greater Manchester Fire Service had a brilliant idea in dealing with hoax calls - you can hear some of them on their website and this enables maybe someone listening to identify the perpetrator of the hoax. What is desperately needed is for the various police authorities and other emergency services to talk to each other in an attempt to establish best practice so that when someone gets a good idea then the others can take it on board.

Anonymous said...

Ian, you are being terribly unfair. It's actually all about responsibility.

When you dial 999 you speak to a human being whose job is to manage incidents and emergencies. If you then tell them about a crime there is generally a transfer of responsibility onto them to do something about it. So the operators will often play safe and send a patrol to the incident even if the force p[rotocol strictly says they shouldnt. Many officers really want to help the public, so once they are sent they may do somthing about it even if it's not what the Police Commanders might see as a priority.

If you use the 0300 number you are accepting from the start that your call isn't urgent. You may get a human operator but they are there just to record, not to dispatch officers. So police never attend and you never get to speak to them. So nobody is responsible for the actual crime and the police 'make the most efficient use of resources' ie dont do anything unless the culprits fall into their hands.

In many areas local people have caught onto this. If you dial 999 to report that you have been assaulted, for example, the operator may ask, 'are the culprits still there?'

Answer, no and there's no need for an immediate response. We will log it and may/may not get back to you. Answer yes and it's a priority 1 call so police rush to your aid. So guess what peoplem learn to say thwn they are asked the question?

Man in a Shed said...

Maybe govt stats only cover the 999 cases and this is how they've fiddle the crime figures ?

Unsworth said...

@ Chris Paul

So let's hope for your sake that you don't have to talk to the answering machine at the other end.

Ian Thorpe said...

Well if they can't even record serious crimes corerectly there isn't much chance of catching the perpetrators.

Ben said...

My cousin, hearing intruders on his property, called 999. The police told him it wasn't worth their while to come out, because 'by then, the burglars will be gone'.

Later, the same man went to help my mother after she had a break-in. It took two days to get through on the police non-emergency number. They sent a victim support liaison volunteer.

Is the time coming when (more of) the rich will employ their own protection staff, and more of the poor will protect themselves with what weapons they can equip themselves with?

Most of my own experience of the police over recent years (not all) has shown them to be stupid, ignorant and lazy. What a good job, though, that under New Labour there are now 'more of them on the beat'.

Anonymous said...

I caught a glimpse of it on the tube, and thought it was an ad for house insurance !!!