Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Stamp out crime – stamp out the causes of crime

One rather interesting facet of the modern plod's approach to policing is their idea of defining crime in two broad categories. The first is "real crime", i.e. those they can be bothered to investigate – like "bat crime", speeding, slagging off Moslem terrorists, not paying your Council Tax and other such heinous offences.

The other is just "crime" – i.e., all those silly things like burglaries, which could so easily be avoided if otherwise careless citizens invested a fortune in burglar alarms and turned their homes into fortresses, and mugging, which could be completely prevented if people were sensible enough to stay at home in their fortresses and confined themselves to watching television.

To deal with the unfortunate rash of "crime", it has been suggested to me that reporting this to the police should itself be made a crime – after all, how dare these people waste police time with such trivia. This would have the additional benefit of turning it into the police ideal – the first "self reporting" crime in the world.

Crime reporters could be invited to use a dedicated phone line, leaving their names and addresses on the special answer phone. Then a team of community service officers could drive a bus round the patch once a week, pick up the offenders and cart them off to court.

To save the likes of Mr Brian Venables – the magistrate of little brain – from expending their limited resources, the offenders could be presented to a "go to jail free" robot, which could also be combined with a "speak your weight" machine. If the length of prison sentences were matched with the weight of the offender, this might help solve the obesity problem as well.

But the greatest advantage of all of this new type of system is that West Yorkshire Police could have a hundred-percent clear-up rate. It could award itself an "investors in people" medal for being the most efficient force (sorry, service) in the world. It would then be free to send all its constables on gender and racial awareness courses, to say nothing of its advanced "bat crime awareness courses" – and then double the Council Tax to pay for it all.

It's all so simple really that I can't imagine why I didn't think of it.


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