Perhaps that pleasant man from the Lib Dem’s will call again offering to assist us with our postal vote. Now that we have the ballot papers for this one his help might be useful. It is for the local Police Commissioner whose job will not be a happy one but duties to be done.
What he does is ensure we have put our birth dates in correctly and signed in black ink fully in the box, as required. Then he takes the ballot papers away to finish them because, as he says, it is important to get it right and he has all the information to hand.
Often, we try to do them ourselves, but not without error. Once we put the papers in showing our own address through the clear envelope window only to get them back when the election was over. Usually, we manage to get the Registration Officer’s name in there but if you are in a hurry to go to the post office it is easy to make a mistake.
The trouble with this one is that we, along with many others, have not the faintest idea who the candidates are, what they might be doing, why and whether they have the slightest qualifications to run our local police service. We have a real fear than none of them could run a whelk stall let along a cop shop.
There has been some desultory coverage in the local press, but our newspaper of choice has made no mention of any of it. From what we gather those offering themselves are saying more or less all the same thing. These are promises in vague language going on about more police on the ground and catching more criminals.
Quite why the person who smashes a number of car windows most weekends cannot be caught when so many people know him is a puzzle. The preferred day and time of activity and direction of movement is well known, but when he arrives in the area the police response is always, “It’s Saturday night so we can’t come until Tuesday”.
Similarly, the group of men who routinely do out care homes, blocks of flats, alms houses and the like are also well known. But they are impossible to apprehend. They like to stick together and the police are unable to deal with groups, especially when they are tooled up with weaponry.
But the police now have other priorities. In the last decade or so the town has become a centre for extensive money laundering and the premises have to be protected. Also, as the associated informal drugs retailing has boomed a lot of people need helping.
The night time economy has become our staple town centre activity now that so few shops are open and the police have to ensure that all the drunks are picked up by ambulances and not by some taxi drivers from far afield who remove not just the people but everything in their pockets.
The sex trade has also boomed. Trying to book a room for someone recently I was surprised that the cheap town centre basic hotels were charging top price at the weekends and had no rooms to spare. Then someone advised me that they were full of ladies offering personal services to chaps who needed active therapies.
Our police need to ensure that these ladies can go to and fro and enjoy themselves without untoward or unwelcome attentions. Some of them wear heels so high they cannot walk more than a few yards so the police often have to instruct taxi drivers that they are under a duty to carry them, even if it is only four or five hundred paces.
Another location where the police are certainly in evidence is the local A&E at the hospital. At weekends the police have to ensure all the many and various casualties from the clubs and bars are properly catered for and are not obstructed by those inconsiderate enough to have had cardiac arrests, strokes, broken bones and such like.
Because of the importance of the booze and bonk culture to our economic well being it is critical that the medical statistics do not show up many deaths or severe problems from these causes. If the other people can be delayed a few days or packed off to some distant place their deaths etc. are excluded from the relevant mortality and other figures.
There has been a good deal of comment recently in the national press about illegal migration and human trafficking. As this has economic benefits, notably to the activities listed above, the local police take due care. One of the main transit exchange points in the county is located at a retail park close to the rear of the county police HQ.
This enables it to go on with undue interruption or being too obvious to passers by. In the past people were simply dropped off on the hard shoulder of the local motorway to nip across the fields to a stopping place on a local road. The levels of movement proved intrusive to those enjoying out of door encounters.
The confusion was very inconvenient when some of them found themselves ordered into vans with people from another and unsympathetic culture heading for the
Midlands and the North.
Indeed when they tried to protest to police forces at the other end they
were given scant attention.
Quite which of our candidates for the post of Police Commissioner is best to handle these complex and demanding issues is beyond my limited understanding.
But I am sure the Lib Dem’ man will know all about it.