Tribute to the effectiveness of the police

First published in Jack Straw column Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , MP for Blackburn

WASTING police time is quite a serious criminal offence.

The maximum penalty is six months in jail.

Last Friday I thought I came close to being charged with this.

The particulars of the charge would have been these: that I had inveigled a police constable, a PCSO, along with the commander of our large police division, Chief Superintendent Bob Eastwood, to waste two hours at a public meeting for no particular purpose.

There were witnesses, too – at least 80 were present, so an alibi would have proved impossible.

The meeting was a regular residents’ meeting – this time for the Brownhill and Roe Lee area of town, held in Holy Souls’ Church Hall on Whalley New Road.

Now in their ninth year, these meetings follow a familiar pattern.

There’s a detailed printed report on the area, prepared jointly by council officers and police staff, put round before the start.

Brief oral presentations are made by the council leader, the chief executive or deputy, Mr Eastwood the police chief, the senior officer responsible for bins, litter, blocked gullies and similar delights, and by me.

That’s followed by an open session with questions or comments from the residents.

A full note is kept, and an action report subsequently sent to everyone who attended.

For some years after this cycle of meetings began in 2003 they were dominated by complaints about crime or anti-social behaviour.

These days – as at the Holy Souls’ meeting – such complaints are a rarity.

Indeed, at this lively meeting there wasn’t a single comment about crime.

There’s an easy explanation for this: the kind of crimes which really worry people, like house burglary, have fallen dramatically.

When, some years ago, Mr Eastwood was the inspector for the east side of Blackburn there might be fifty burglaries in a month.

In contrast, in one month last year there were just twenty-five for the whole of his Division – Blackburn, Darwen, Hyndburn, Ribble Valley.

Joking aside, the police at the meeting were not wasting their time because they had no complaints to answer.

Rather, that was a tribute to their effectiveness.

Comments (7)

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8:53pm Thu 1 Mar 12

Graham Hartley says...

If indeed Jack Straw wasn't wasting police time and so was at no risk of that charge, why waste our time in reading about it?

However, it is pleasing to read that the police are at last effective, given the investment in the service.
If indeed Jack Straw wasn't wasting police time and so was at no risk of that charge, why waste our time in reading about it? However, it is pleasing to read that the police are at last effective, given the investment in the service. Graham Hartley
  • Score: 0

3:46pm Fri 2 Mar 12

jimpy0 says...

you kept your appearance here quiet - am a resident of that area and had no idea your were coming - i would have made my voice heard had i done so.
you kept your appearance here quiet - am a resident of that area and had no idea your were coming - i would have made my voice heard had i done so. jimpy0
  • Score: 0

10:27am Sat 3 Mar 12

karolgadge says...

I fail to see the point of this article. Why bother setting pen to paper or tapping on a keyboard to state what used to be called 'the bloomin' obvious'.

If the moral of the story recounted here is to say that the police are effective, it could all have been done in one sentence.
I fail to see the point of this article. Why bother setting pen to paper or tapping on a keyboard to state what used to be called 'the bloomin' obvious'. If the moral of the story recounted here is to say that the police are effective, it could all have been done in one sentence. karolgadge
  • Score: 0

6:58pm Sat 3 Mar 12

Mill62 says...

I think you have been partaking of too much subsidised alchohol at the Commons, Jack.
I think you have been partaking of too much subsidised alchohol at the Commons, Jack. Mill62
  • Score: 0

1:16am Mon 5 Mar 12

woolywords says...

Any commentary made by the former Justice/Foreign Secretary
is well worth the paper it's printed on.
In these austere times, we all have to stick together and the plethora of acrimony given, serves no purpose, whatsoever!
I am one of the few that actually like Jack Straw, even if he changed his name at Uni.
His printed words have a special place for me..
Not in my library, but in the toilet, with string through them,
on a nail, threaded with broken boot lace...
I like to read each considered word that he writes..
The Romans used to have vinegar dipped sponges, for doing this job, civilisation has moved on a lot since then..
I have the words of Jack Straw.

Honi soit qui mal y pense, as they say in France, as I give the salute of the English bowman.

And to think, Condalesa Rice gave up her bed for you..
Any commentary made by the former Justice/Foreign Secretary is well worth the paper it's printed on. In these austere times, we all have to stick together and the plethora of acrimony given, serves no purpose, whatsoever! I am one of the few that actually like Jack Straw, even if he changed his name at Uni. His printed words have a special place for me.. Not in my library, but in the toilet, with string through them, on a nail, threaded with broken boot lace... I like to read each considered word that he writes.. The Romans used to have vinegar dipped sponges, for doing this job, civilisation has moved on a lot since then.. I have the words of Jack Straw. Honi soit qui mal y pense, as they say in France, as I give the salute of the English bowman. And to think, Condalesa Rice gave up her bed for you.. woolywords
  • Score: 0

1:38am Mon 5 Mar 12

woolywords says...

I wish to go on record as being a Jack Straw fan..
He is, by far and away better than my former MP, namely
Eric Martlew.
At least when you poke Jack with a stick, he does something.
And not just make a flatulent noise..

Am considering that we should raise something to his praise.
Vikki has a memorial to her..
Barbara Castle has her way..
The Jack Straw toilets..

Unused on the Boulevard,
what finer tribute to the man?
Each splash and dash,
a vote winner!
Of course there will need to be a charge, to stop our incontinent cousins from rigging the ballot.

Have no idea why someone has not thought of this before.
They have Ghandi on the railway station...
Jack Straw urinals..
and ploppers for squatters!
Even the Queen goes..
I wish to go on record as being a Jack Straw fan.. He is, by far and away better than my former MP, namely Eric Martlew. At least when you poke Jack with a stick, he does something. And not just make a flatulent noise.. Am considering that we should raise something to his praise. Vikki has a memorial to her.. Barbara Castle has her way.. The Jack Straw toilets.. Unused on the Boulevard, what finer tribute to the man? Each splash and dash, a vote winner! Of course there will need to be a charge, to stop our incontinent cousins from rigging the ballot. Have no idea why someone has not thought of this before. They have Ghandi on the railway station... Jack Straw urinals.. and ploppers for squatters! Even the Queen goes.. woolywords
  • Score: 0

4:50pm Mon 5 Mar 12

manyarecalled says...

Next time Jack you may have to pay for a private security firm to do the honours.
seriously , from what I've seen of these doormen etc , privatisation is a licence to break the law , not uphold it. the police are not motivated by profit , these firms will be.
we may at times be irritated by the police , but privatising
them would be a disaster .
the police in general have their pension to consider , which keeps them on the straight and narrow .these firms don't.
Next time Jack you may have to pay for a private security firm to do the honours. seriously , from what I've seen of these doormen etc , privatisation is a licence to break the law , not uphold it. the police are not motivated by profit , these firms will be. we may at times be irritated by the police , but privatising them would be a disaster . the police in general have their pension to consider , which keeps them on the straight and narrow .these firms don't. manyarecalled
  • Score: 0

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