You’ve heard the expression “it’s like herding cats”? Well, it isn’t. Working for the police is like shepherding a million or so unpredictable human beings through a world where anything can and will happen.Errrr….that’s what the expression ‘herding cats’ is meant to represent. It’s a simile. It’s not meant literally…
My main duties are supposed to be focused on low-level crime, antisocial behaviour, community engagement and public reassurance. I have to remind myself of this on a daily basis, because what usually dominates my time is dealing with a load of old claptrap.Welcome to the world of work! Few of us get to do what we think we are employed to do. Why should it be different for you?
As a PCSO you probably assume I get regular abuse. This isn’t true. Yes, I am a walking target in a yellow coat and a silly hat, but in my community the last thing the local youths want to do is to draw attention to themselves. Occasionally some youngling of around 13 – who hasn’t yet graduated into crime from low-level antisocial behaviour – will shout “plastic” from about half a mile away, encouraged by the anonymity of being part of a larger group of sniggering mates. I’ve never been bothered by this. Besides, I have a lot of empathy with kids growing up in this community. Getting to know them over the years has convinced me to see them as victims too – of a system that consistently lets them down.Ah, ‘the system’. Not ‘parents’? Not ‘peers’?
And aren’t the real victims the people who have to put up with the behaviour of these anti-social little scumbags? The elderly lady whose garden is trashed, the mechanic who has to get graffiti and gang signs removed from his premises, for example?
What really bothers me are people wasting my time, which more often than not involves disputes between neighbours. People phone the police just to get the upper hand in an argument, and it becomes a ludicrous battle over who can get the most complaints logged against the other. I desperately want to tell each party to grow up and stop messing about, but my hands are tied.Finally, you’ve said something we all can agree with! But this attitude that the police are the arbiters of all kinds of petty disputes amongst the underclass arose out of the same government that brought you in. It created your job, in effect.
And I bet you voted enthusiastically for it.
I’ve seen kids move through the various stages of criminality and have little chance to stop them. It’s heartbreaking. When the eight-year-old boy causing problems in school starts smoking cannabis and stealing cars, it is hard not to trace the blame back to one source: a lack of government funding across the board.Not ‘parental responsibility’ then? Not personal responsibility, to rise above the circumstances of your birth, like so many others manage to do?
No, clearly, everything is the government’s fault. If only it threw enough money at a problem, it’d be solved, wouldn’t it?
The other day I sat with an elderly victim of a bogus caller. A man had entered her house pretending to be from the water company and had stolen her jewellery. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the investigation had been closed because of a lack of evidence, and that detectives were swamped with other things. So I just sat with her and held her hand, and tried not to think about the fact that someone, somewhere was out celebrating their banker’s bonus – ironically with a whole lot of alcohol and drugs. Probably.And that has what to do with ….well, anything? The banker didn’t steal her jewellery, did they? It was most likely the father of one of the little scallywags you express sympathy for.