WEST Yorkshire Police are on the hunt for ‘agents’ apparently, although I’m not sure they’d have been much use to me last Thursday, when I was chasing a bunch of masked teenage scrotes through Batley town centre.
They’d been up to no good on the roof of Batley Parish Church – in broad daylight – and were hovering round a churchyard bench with a couple of girl hangers-on when I turned up and asked them to smile for my camera.
Cue a fun few minutes of chase and abuse. Hey ho. A question – what kind of parents allow their kids to dress in the ASBO uniform of hoodies, baseball caps and scarves that cover all but their eyes? Daft question really – it was half term, so out of sight was out of mind and someone else’s (everyone else’s) problem.
Anyway, the police ‘agent’ would have been less than useless to me, because the force is recruiting ‘Customer Contact Centre Agents’ for their Wakefield HQ.
Key skills include being able to say “tut, tut” and “there, there” before giving out a crime reference number for your insurance claim.
The ability to post pithy comments on Twitter and Facebook is an advantage because that seems to be the new frontline of law enforcement. At 9.33pm on Sunday the police Facebooked: “We are working extremely hard to tackle issues surrounding Anti-Social Behaviour in Dewsbury Town centre (it should be lower case ‘t’). We will not tollerate (sic) this behaviour and are taking positive action.”
There’s an assurance that officers are patrolling and an appeal to call 101 with any information. It concludes: “Thank you and rest assured we are proactively dealing with all reported incidents.”
I think that’s most dispiriting of all, because it’s not reassuring and we know they’re not (although in fairness one FB post had three officers walking round the deserted town centre on Wednesday!)
I can only think the police don’t bother following other social media accounts, because one serial Batley criminal has been repeatedly identified on Facebook – including photos, caught in the act – and he’s still walking round, bold as brass.
That dangerous Birstall motorbike gang creating mayhem last week? One brave citizen followed a bunch of them to a property in Cambridge Road and reported it to police. Response? Need you ask?
I get the tight budgets thing. I just don’t accept that the police are being honest with us.
Someone reports seeing a gun in a vehicle, as happened a few weeks ago, and enough armed officers to stage a military coup appeared in Halifax Road in minutes, seemingly out of thin air.
So is this modern policing? Every fit, macho officer gets to play anti-terror cop while the wusses are given a hi-vis PCSO jacket and get to walk round in pairs, careful to avoid problem areas?
Because actually, that’s how it feels to a lot of people.
No one in their right mind wanders round Dewsbury town centre after dark – it’s bad enough in daytime – but a dedicated town centre officer, like we had for so long and so successfully with PC Colin Sykes, can’t exactly break the bank.
There’s what seems like an epidemic of crime against vehicles and property, many areas feel like they’ve been surrendered to all manner of despicables, and the best that Chief Supt Steve Cotter can manage is to tweet his congratulations to Det Chief Insp Fiona Gaffney.
Who’s she? The senior officer responsible for fighting crime in Kirklees since you ask.
Has she banged-up some master villains? Not quite. She and her hubby got silver medals in the World Indoor Rowing Championships in America (and I do hope it was on holiday time and not the public dollar).
Still, it should come in handy if a robber tries to make a getaway across Batley Park lake in a rowing boat…
IT’S BEEN a bit cold this week with all the ensuing banter.
Southerners stay home from work, northerners put on their big coat; footballers told not to travel unless absolutely necessary – rugby players, training as usual at 7pm.
It’s no use bemoaning the fact that Britain grinds to a pathetic halt every time the winter weather turns – shock horror – wintry! We’ve managed to breed hardship and coping mechanisms out of the modern generation.
What, put on wellies and a duffel coat and snowball fight your way the three miles to school? Are you having a giraffe? You’ll be telling fairy tales about shuffling through the snow down a cold ginnel and parking your arse on an outside toilet next (and that was still me, my mum and sister as recently as 1977!)
I was briefly angry at the headteacher threatening to exclude kids who so much as touched the snow, citing health and safety. But do you know what? In the event of a snowball giving a kid a black eye, the same parents moaning about draconian schools having no sense of fun, would be straight onto the phone to a lawyer to get a claim in – and goodbye headteacher.
The problem is top to bottom, back to front, the pathetic society we’ve created.
Our transport infrastructure simply isn’t built to cope, so make understanding front and rear wheel drive cars and dealing with skidding part of the driving test – and then hope for the best.
PS: I’m going sledging...
MY DAUGHTER is studying education at university and may or may not go into teaching when she graduates.
She’s keeping her options open. Smart girl.
Her degree involves a broad range of interesting modules and assignments, though none so far have involved stripping down an AK47, or using a 9mm Glock to blow a lunatic’s head off as he sprays the playground with machine gun fire. She’s a gentle soul. There was no debate between childcare or joining the SAS – but I guess teaching in the USA is out.
I never cease to be amazed at the monumental idiocy of Donald Trump. For a draft-dodging coward who got a doctor’s note for ‘bad feet’ to avoid military service in Vietnam, his assertion that he’d have run into the latest US high school massacre and taken on the gunman with his bare hands is beyond parody.
Really Donald? In that case you’ll find a large proportion of the civilised world wish you really had been the heroic Johnny on the spot.
(And I’m sure it would have been the biggest presidential funeral ever. The greatestest. The most cryingest. And the Mexicans or someone would have had to pay for it....)
Trump’s total blindspot to how ridiculous he looks and sounds is cringeingly worrying.
My fake news sensors are pretty well attuned to BS and they went off like an air raid siren when I read that Trump repealed an attempt by Barack Obama to prevent people with mental health problems from buying guns. Fake news if ever you saw it, surely?
Apparently not, but on this occasion it seems Fanta-man had no choice. The American Civil Liberties Union – their equivalent of our left-wing luvvies – intervened on the behalf of lunatics, saying it infringed their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Yup, the USA’s human rights snowflakes fighting for the right of the certifiably mentally unwell to possess the means to massacre children. And we wonder why they have a problem?
Trump must think matronly geography teachers relax after school not by baking an apple pie, but loosing off a few clips from an Uzi in the back yard.
But here’s the thing: if trained police and security officers panicked and froze in the horrific moment, what would be the prospects of a maths or history teacher suddenly trying to channel their inner Clint Eastwood? Lord help us.
At least when I went to Cardinal Hinsley Grammar School, resident tyrant Mr Canning only had a board rubber to launch at your head.
Imagine him with a Colt 45 under his academic gown in the middle of a bad day...