Via Whiteboard Technician, this story:
Smith and his colleagues at Shirley Street Watch have become the scourge of low-level criminals in their little corner of Solihull in the West Midlands since they started patrols in January. Police credit them with effectively forcing drug dealers away from parts of the suburb and significantly reducing antisocial behaviour.
While Smith bristles at the term “vigilante”, the volunteers are one of a rising number of groups springing up across Britain as crime surges and police officer numbers hit a record low. Added into the mix is the very low and falling detection rate – 75% of thefts unsolved. Victims of crime are willing to take matters into their own hands.
Regular readers of my blog won’t be tremendously surprised by this. As I’ve said before, the role of the police is to protect suspected criminals from the mob by helping to dispense justice; if the police opt out of that role, the mob will take its place. Now this bunch in yellow jackets in Solihull thankfully don’t look like an African mob who suspect a young woman of being a witch, but we’re heading in that direction. And these groups are sprouting up everywhere:
This week Hartlepool was called the town “where the police don’t come out” in reports about a neighbourhood group formed to try to fill the void left by police. On one recent Saturday not a single officer was on duty in the town of 92,000 as all were called to another job.
Perhaps the police were checking Twitter for racism? Or were they busy putting LGBTQ decals on their patrol cars?
A new Midlands-based group, We Stand Determined, has amassed nearly 3,000 members on Facebook in the past week, with splinter groups already forming in Manchester and elsewhere.
I rather like this development, mainly because it’s focusing minds. Unsurprisingly, Plod doesn’t:
The emergence of these unofficial groups, formed on social media, has led to fears among the police that a new breed of “have-a-go heroes” are putting themselves at risk and jeopardising investigations.
I rather think it’s the lack of investigations which are the problem.
Insp Iftekhar Ahmed, of West Midlands police, told the Guardian he was concerned that well-meaning citizens were “hindering the situation” by taking matters into their own hands.
Ah yes, mustn’t do that now, must we Inspector Iftekhar Ahmed? Far better the British people just meekly tolerate criminals running rampage while the police do nothing. What they’re really afraid of is their own irrelevance.
Ahmed runs the force’s Street Watch scheme of 350 volunteers who patrol neighbourhoods under the supervision of the police, who pay for their insurance and provide a basic training course on safety.
I know nothing about these groups, but if they’re subject to the same SJW doctrines as the regular police, they’ll be useless.
He said: “Citizenship is what they’re doing: look, see, report, don’t have a go – that’s the ethos. They’re a vigilant group, not a vigilante group.”
Spy, snitch, tell…but don’t do anything. Ah, modern policing.
Smith said residents were “majorly disappointed” when Shirley police station shut down two years ago – one of 27 West Midlands police buildings closed as a cost-cutting measure.
“We have had a couple of people say: ‘You’re just policing on the cheap.’ But things aren’t going to change any time soon. If you want to make a difference you’ve got to get boots on the ground, you’ve got to get off your arse and do something for your community.”
The fact these groups are being given a sympathetic hearing in The Guardian of all places is illuminating.