04 August 2006

Police prefer public to do their own policing

Yesterday's Daily Telegraph reported that Lincolnshire Police officers are launching a Prayer Watch scheme, asking churchgoers to focus their prayers on particular crimes affecting their communities. Under the proposals, churches and Christian groups will receive e-mails from the police alerting them to specific crimes, which they can then use to focus their prayers.

Most initiatives coming out of the police these days, such as this one, suggest a certain squeamishness about directly targeting thieves and hoodlums. (E.g. telling the public it's their responsibility to prevent crime.) It's as if the police have a problem with doing what is traditionally considered to be their job.

I wonder if this could have anything to do with the ethic conveyed by contemporary academic philosophy, sociology etc, that perpetrators are “victims of capitalist oppression”. We know that police staff nowadays - like everyone else - spend more time attending training courses than they used to. It would be interesting to know what they are being taught there about the causes of crime.

To the extent their training courses are influenced by current "research", they are likely to be told that crime is linked to "deprivation". Even if they aren't actively discouraged from taking a firm hand with criminals who come from poor backgrounds, or from "oppressed" minorities, isn't this theory likely to make them feel uncomfortable about pursuing their traditional role?