A COUPLE of weeks ago, an Essex Police officer and prolific tweeter, began his evening shift in Harlow, telling his 3,000 plus followers that he was the “only deployable police officer in Harlow” for that shift.
That will be one police officer for 80,000 people. We will say that again: one police officers for 80,000 people.
The full story on our sister paper is here
Fact is folks, the ratio is probably the same in Thurrock, which as a population of 160,000.
If you go by a lot of the comments on our Facebook and Twitter feeds, then there doesn’t seem to be a lot of sympathy for the plight of the police.
People appear to want results and not excuses. That may seem unfair. To many criticising the police for underperforming is a bit like criticising your football team for losing when it fields five men against eleven.
Perhaps one of the problems is that a lot of people don’t believe the police “spin” and you do sometimes wonder if the police are part of the problem and not part of the solution?
Here are a few factors that may influence people…
1. Road traffic initiatives. People will look at the one cop for 80,000 people and say: “Well how come the slip roads at Lakeside, A13, Lodge Lane etc is swarming with cops?”
2. People will look at their council tax bills and see there is a bit where they pay for the police. They may not care it is one of the lowest in the country. People want something for their money.
3. The use of social media by police makes it appear that there are more of them than you think. It could be that the social media strategy is part of the problem and not part of the solution.
So when you say there is only “one cop for 80,000 people” people are, to put it politely, a tad sceptical.
A day does not seem to go by on YT, when we hear someone say
1. Why aren’t the police doing anything about the Lakeside cruisers?
2. Why aren’t the police moving the unlawful traveller camps immediately?
3. Why aren’t the police doing more on Grays High Street?
4. Why aren’t the police closing the roads at remembrance services?
5. Why aren’t the police dealing with youths on their bikes?
6. Why aren’t the police dealing with youths at the shops in Stanford-le-Hope/Corringham?
7. Why aren’t the police dealing with………in Tilbury?
8. Why aren’t they re-opening Corringham/Tilbury/Ockendon police station?
9. Why isn’t there a bobby walking down Branksome Avenue/Blackshots Lane/Devonshire Road etc etc
After this article, I do not expect a flood of readers saying: “Ah, now I understand…” Thurrock residents are absolutely right to ask these questions.
If you want to bring politics into it, then the cuts to the police have been clearly written on the tin of Conservative policy since 2010. There are 20,000 less police staff in England and Wales since then. That is about 800 in Essex.
Arguably, 19,880 voters in Thurrock voted for that. The Conservatives also believe ( it is one of their key mantra statements) that the police in counties such as Essex are sitting on a lot of buildings that they could sell and with the proceeds, employ a lot of officers.
Whatever the arguments, policing in Thurrock is now at a crisis point. Apart from all the issues mentioned above there is the unique demands within Thurrock that come with DP World,Port of Tilbury, intu Lakeside, Dartford Crossing etc.
Here at YT, we have the greatest respect for the police. To be honest, we don’t know how they do it. From walking the beat to solving complex murder investigations to putting up with questions from uppity journalists. But something has to give here folks. Because British policing cannot go on like this…….