A government survey reveals that less than half of the public have confidence in the police to deal with crime and loutish behaviour. In some force areas, the approval rating is an alarmingly low 38 per cent, while nationwide it is only 46 per cent, the Home Office said.
A dreadful situation, you'll agree. Home Secretary JacWii Smiff certainly thinks so - she's appalled.
So what's her solution?
With immediate effect she is scrapping all the targets currently imposed on police forces by her department, such as asset recovery, monitoring prolific young offenders and race equality employment. Chief Constables are jumping with joy, we imagine - they won't have to get stolen goods back, they can leave the hoodies to roam the streets unmolested, and they won't have to take on any more Paki PCs; not much change, really (now look, before you start, "Paki" is no more offensive than "Brit", right? They're both just contractions, right? Or is there some new rule I haven't heard of, that it's OK to call a person of British origin "British" but it's not OK to call someone of Pakistani origin "Pakistani"?).
But before our laughing policemen get too jolly, there's a down side. JacWii may be scrapping all the other targets, but she's only doing it so she can put in their place one bloody great big one: to hit a public confidence rating of 60 per cent by 2012.
Nu-Labour love their targets, don't they? Targets are virtually the only solution they have to any problem, and a very useful one to politicians because it enables them to shift the blame onto someone else. Hospitals falling down and filthy? Give the Health Trusts another target! No, not shedloads of cash, just a target. Patients dying on the corridors? Give 'em a target!
Schools failing? Children leaving unable to read, write or spit straight? Give those idle teachers a few targets, that'll sort 'em out!
Banks going bust? Credit collapsed? Homes being repossessed by the thousand? Businesses failing? GDP falling? Pound worth less than the Zimbabwe dollar? Give the bastards a few targets! What? Why won't it work? Oh, I see. Right, let's give them shedloads of money instead.
What we at GOS would dearly love to see is the government applying their beliefs to themselves. They aren't too popular at present, are they? What they need is a target or two ... say, forty percent of the vote by 2010? That should be do-able.
They can have our votes right away. We wouldn't ask much, we're not proud. And with the nation in such a spot at the moment, one shouldn't be greedy. All it'll take is a tiny weeny pension of about ... oo, let's see ... say, £700,000 a year?
For life, that is, if that's OK?
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