Kent Police have purchased some software from California which is supposed to predict crime hotspots thereby enabling them to direct their officers better. This was tried in London some years ago where historic crimes were entered into the system and red blips appeared in postcode/zipcode areas. Despite great fanfares this did not improve crime rates nor will the new Kent initiative.
Local uniformed bobbies on the beat generally know the crime hotspots, hospital car parks, late night drinking establishments and the locality, poor housing estates etc. and most of all juvenile criminals. The bobbies are directed when they go out on shift but they generally buzz around in cars chatting to each other, this can be seen. They don’t seem to notice anything when walking around. I normally watch the eyes of an officer I am near, the don’t dart around looking for information, the culture seems to be totally reactive. I blame this on supervision. A lot of crime reduction rests on the shoulders of the Sergeant on duty, these Officers need to ‘wind up’ the beat patrol, arrive early for work, research the crime books, speak to the CID and the Collator/Beat Crimes desk and prepare a thorough briefing. The Sergeant should then be out there checking everyone is in place and looking ‘ready eyes’ we called it. Thoughts of promotion and how to get into different departments should be put aside while out on the streets.
Most Officers have an idea of their career path so those who fancy for example Child Protection will not be looking out for burglars, frankly they won’t really care, budding traffic patrol officers will be concentrating on cars and motorbikes, others will be drifting along thinking of their stomachs. While such stuff is very important it should not detract from basic street duties, the staff are paid to do a directed job and the Sergeant should be pushing them all the way.
This is the same with the CID, they should be briefing their uniformed colleagues and making ‘street arrests’ themselves not just reacting to reports. Everyone seems to be ‘reacting’ it’s the lazy way of doing the job. I know some senior officers who have never made an arrest unless forced upon them, they have never been to Court and faced hostile cross examination, never seen a body cut up in a post mortem and here they are ‘supervising’ junior staff to go out there and cut down crime.
A piece of software will not help but ‘ready eyes’ will