Chair calls for 'common sense' in setting police priorities

24 September 2018

PFEW Chair John Apter

Chair John Apter

Chair John Apter has called for more 'common sense' in setting police priorities.

He said rank and file members feel frustrated at being tasked with investigating trivial rows on social media, at the expense of attending burglaries and other serious crimes due to a lack of resources.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Apter said: "As a police officer on the street there is still that desperation to do the job they want to do and very often they can't because their hands are so tied. Where we get drawn into local disagreements, the argument over the remote control, the dispute in the playground, the row on Facebook it is frustrating.

"I certainly think police time can be better spent and it makes a mockery when we are so stretched. You can't treat society like that and you can't treat the police as political footballs. We need to have a sensible debate with politicians, with society with the public about exactly what they want their police to do.

"People join the police to keep people safe and to lock up bad people, not to sort out petty squabbles over a remote control."

Recently South Yorkshire Police asked people to report insults on social media, even if they are not considered to be a hate crime. The Federation has questioned the wisdom of this in light of pressures on police resources.

John added: "Burglary is one of the most intrusive, horrible crimes that a householder can go through. It makes you feel incredibly vulnerable, but people can sometimes wait days for a police response. Even if there is little chance of catching the person responsible, police officers know the value of spending a little bit of time with the victim, talking through their concerns and offering them some reassurance.

"That half an hour you spend with someone gives so much back to society. It is about understanding the value of something over the cost, which the bean-counters do not seem to get," he conluded.