Monday, 18 May 2009

Policing Sir Fred in Grange

The local paper has used a freedom of information request to prepare it's front page lead today. The item seeks to contrast the police resources spent on Sir Fred's broken windows with the poor solvency rate for vandalism in general. The line taken is that these police resources would have been better spent on more deserving people.

It is fair enough to ask the question - we do need to scrutinise the deployment of police resources. However when the Evening News reporter called me on Saturday, told me of the story and asked for a comment, I readily gave a comment - which clearly did not suit their story. I declined to criticise the police operation and noted there were good reasons why it seemed reasonable to me the police had devoted considerable resources to the incident.

  1. The breaking of the windows, which is a crime, predictably was swept up in a national media firestorm. For the police to have withdrawn would have been to invite an anarchic situation, with feeling running so high.
  2. From the email release on behalf of those responsible it appears they were part of an anarchy group. This or similar groups have a history of attacking property of public figures in Edinburgh. In an earlier incident the offices of Nigel Griffiths were trashed and similarly (outwith this ward) Alistair Darling's offices were damaged by an anarchic group. I may have little in common with Nigel politically but encouraging anarchists in their lawbreaking is not for me.
  3. For purely practical reasons the police would have looked stupid had they allowed this incident to escalate. There are many criticisms which can be made of the police priorities but this is not one of them. When will we see culprits for these crimes?

I have already posted on the need to get a proper balance in these situations.

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