Nightjack raised a very interesting issue in his blog. He said:
The comment so often thrown at Police as we haul the latest public order / minor assault arrestee away from their loved ones is “Why don’t you go out and arrest some proper criminals like murderers and rapists.”
Nightjack then went on to make a very interesting entry on the National Crime Recording Standard and it is worth reading (and can be read here). I want to take the above quote and look at it from a different angle – be warned this is going to be a rant. I nearly went into this in the comment I left on NJ’s blog, but decided it was going to be rather long and that I wanted to post about it on my blog.
The question “Why don’t you go out and arrest some proper criminals like murderers and rapists?” really bugs me. It is essentially the criminal trying to ditch their responsibility (in my opinion). Anyone who breaks a law is a real criminal whether that be a breach of the peace, a minor traffic offence or something more serious such as murder or rape. If you get caught then you should just accept that you broke a law of the land and as such that has consequences for you. When you drank 4 pints of beer putting you over the drink drive limit and got into your car to drive home from the pub you knew that it was against the law to drink and drive when you started drinking in the pub and when you got into the car. Why are you then so shocked when the police pull you over and arrest you when you fail the breath test? Why is it you only think about your job when the Sheriff is about to ban you from driving? Yes, there are some stupid laws in the books, but that doe snot detract from the fact that while they are still law there are consequences for you should you break that law. Ignoring a “bad” law (whether that be your own opinion or an opinion shared by many) is not the way to go about changing it!
It’s the motorists who annoy me most, especially when on the subject of Speed Cameras. Yes, Speed cameras are annoying, but if you don’t break the speed limit then YOU DON’T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT THEM. They only generate a large revenue for the government because people break the speed limit and therefore break the law. As a driver, i don’t particulalry like speed cameras, but I don’t worry about them because I drive within the speed limit at all times! When I was learning to drive my driving instructor (who was a recently retired police driving instructor at the Scottish Police College) it was drilled into me that driving within the speed limit means you still get to your destination – often just as quick (or sometimes quicker) than those who speed. Also, there is less of a chance of me being killed or killing someone else (the risk isn’t wiped out, but is greatly reduced).
That’s a tangent for another day I think. So, back to the original point. Regardless of what crime you comit, you are a criminal and all criminals are real criminals. The police don’t necessarily target motorists because they are easy targets (in fact given the massive reductions in spending on Roads Policing in many areas around the country I’d suggest that the police are doing anything but targeting motorists) and the same goes for the drunks at the weekend fighting, breaking windows and destroying other parts of the centre of town. If you commit a crime you should expect the police to deal with you appropriately, not to let you off just in case someone decides to break into a strangers house and rape them before knifing them to death!
I did warn you that it would be a bit of a rant, if you’ve managed to get the point of the blog entry then good for you. I tend to go off on tangents and loose my point when I start ranting.