I've been reading the comments on the BBC website on the subject of "What the police do?". I come away convinced that we are a nation of unthinking fools who expect far more than any public organisation can be expected to provide. Here's a few things I'd suggest police shouldn't be called upon to deal with. One, it's not our job to raise your children, so if you'd be so kind as to do that bit yourself I'd appreciate it. Two, just because somebody calls you a name on Facebook perhaps you could just be an adult rather than an overgrown child incapable of resolving minor issues. Three, if you could park your cars sensibly that would save us a lot of time, and if you do have a disagreement with another member of the great British public then you could try some polite conversation. Four, on a Saturday do you really want us to be knocking on your neighbours door asking them to turn down their music or would you rather we were tackling violent disorder and drug use in the city centre? Five, don't call us about dog shit. Call the council or find a shovel. Six, perhaps recognise that you, the public, are our eyes and our ears, and that together we both solve and prevent crime. The police cannot work in isolation given our dearth of psychic powers, so that means we need you on board.
Seven, we are not relationship advisors and cannot provide ultimate solutions between you and your partner. And if you insist on remaining in a destructive relationship then understand that there's only so much we can do.
There's a theme developing here. Have you seen it? There would be no crime or disorder if people chose not to perpetrate it, so recognise that you, as a public citizen, have a responsibility to be decent and law abiding. The police spend so much time dealing with people's poor life choices, and so often if you would apply just a bit of common sense you'd see less crime and disorder quicker than you could say jack flash.
Now lastly, to the real victims of crime. To those burgled, assaulted, raped, defrauded, robbed; we want to walk with you and support you and do what we reasonably can to catch those responsible. On a personal level, most days my heart goes out to people who've been on the wrong end of other peoples malice and violence and greed. I genuinely want to help and I genuinely care, and the purpose of this blog is to plead that the public have realistic expectations of what the police, your police, can do to make your bad days better.