2 Dec 2007

Working in Partnership???

Have you noticed how every bit of paper you pick up in the office these days has some fancy buzz word logo about 'Partnerships'. Police Bosses continually bang on about 'Working in Partnership', especially when a media opportunity arises and, how every local newspaper or the evening regional TV news includes a headline on the same topic.
Ashfordly Bugle: Local Residents Up In Arms... "we have made great strides in dealing with the issues" said Col. Blympton-Smythe TD JP, leader of the local council... "our partnership approach is making a great difference to the quality of life within our communities" blah blah blah! So why, when it really comes down to it, are the cops often the only 'partners' pulling their weight?
Local News: Council wardens in York will patrol on an evening to catch out revellers dropping litter on the streets. It is part of a campaign which focuses on stamping out fast food rubbish on the city's streets. York Council in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy will spearhead the message in the run-up to Christmas.
Alf Says: What's the betting the Council Wardens end up calling the police when they identify a litter dropping drunken oik. The youth will have just dumped his kebab wrapper on the street, clearly observed by the wardens but they can't approach him "due to Health & Safety guidelines" ! But the police are expected to make a 20 mile round trip, leaving the job they were already attending to protect the warden and deal with the offence.
New Drugs Policy: North Yorkshire Police will no longer be called to reports of a drug overdose - in an attempt to save more lives. The new approach has been introduced to make sure people who need help call medical services without fearing a criminal investigation.
Alf Says: Previously the ambulance service would call the police to most drug related incidents. Despite the new policy, it would appear they still are as Ambulance crews 'stand off' outside the address awaiting police attendance.
Uncommitted 'Partners':
  • Social Services - Consistently expect the police to 'hold the fort' out of office hours and at weekends due to 'limited staffing'. Expect the police to provide a 'duty of care' to people they have 'misplaced' when they were in their care.
  • Environmental Health - Provide absolutely no out of hours services in relation to noise complaints.
  • Highways Depts - Have answer machines that instruct the public to contact the police.
  • Health Service - Fail to provide sufficient resources for patients with mental health issues, expecting the police to provide 'places of safety'.
  • HM Coroners - No out of hours service do deal with those 'administrative' sudden deaths that are due to natural causes.

These are but a few examples of those agencies that, despite a 24hr responsibility, often only provide a service during office hours. The longer they are able to get away with it, especially during the current climate of budgetary constraint, the longer it will continue. The police service is no longer able to provide a 24/7 fix everything service, even if we would like to. We have neither the resources, the money or the time. At the end of the day, building better communities is all about 'WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP' isn't it?

We're never likely to manage it whilst the police are carrying shirkers!

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