Hitting the target but missing the point

The original purpose of the police was to prevent crime. The very presence of the imposing uniformed figures was often enough to make likely miscreants think twice. Officers in peaceful locations could spend entire careers without arresting anyone. A ticking-off here, a clipped ear there, was all it took to keep the peace.

The modern argument is that if there is no crime in an area, there is no need for a police presence. The counter-argument that the reason there is no crime is because of the police presence cuts no ice with the barely-used minds of the bean-counters. If that officer is not arresting someone every day, he cannot be doing his job.

In Labour’s target culture, not only did each officer need to make a certain number of arrests to keep his or her job, but the force as a whole had to make a certain number of arrests for each type of crime. Theresa May claims to have scrapped these targets but those Labour-appointed chief constables still use them anyway.

The purpose of the police is now to make a certain number of arrests within a set time frame. So rather than deterring crime, the police are now dependent on its existence. They cannot prevent crime. If there is no crime they cannot meet their targets.

The application of targets also means that if a force has met its target for arresting burglars for that month, they will be instructed to concentrate on another crime, one which is behind target. So if a criminal can find out when the burglary target has been met, he can then go out burgling, knowing the police won’t have time to chase him.

Incidentally, burglars can now break into homes fully confident that the homeowner does not have a gun. I’ve never owned a gun, but the burglars didn’t know that before the gun ban. Now they do.

When you set a target that states anyone making an appointment with a doctor must be seen within a certain time, it means that anyone wanting to see a doctor has to phone for an appointment that morning. Too late, the day’s appointments are filled, try again tomorrow morning. No, you can’t be put on a waiting list. Waiting lists spoil the targets.

Set a target for social services so they have to place a certain number of adoptions every month. It proves they are doing their job, but the job they are now doing isn’t the one they did before the targets. The child’s interests no longer come first. The targets come first. They’ll have to child-snatch to meet the targets but if they don’t, they are sacked.

But wait. Don’t the dedicated professionals in these jobs object to turning the whole point of the job on its head? Yes, they do. They object. They are told to shut up. They resign, or they fail to meet the targets and are sacked.

They are replaced by the sort of people who put targets above the control of crime, above the treatment of the sick and above the welfare of children.

So we end up with police officers who will caution a 15-year-old on a charge of criminal damage when he kicks a ball through a window. We have nurses who will let elderly patients starve and dehydrate while lying on soiled beds. We have social workers who will pursue parents with no history of child abuse and steal their child. We have doctors’ receptionists who don’t care what’s wrong with you, only whether there is a slot available to put you into. We have teachers who insist that their classes contain the right collection of ethnic groups but don’t see a reason to teach them anything/

This is not the case for all police, doctors, nurses, teachers. There are still good ones but every day, the target culture wears down the good ones and anyone who would have made a good nurse, teacher or policeman is deterred from applying for the job. Only the target drones flourish in a target culture. They have ways of dealing with whistleblowers too.

In time, the remaining dedicated nurses will quit or be forced out. Those police officers who took the job to serve the public will be replaced with those who took the job to meet the targets. The chief constables will see to that. The teachers who believe that a good education grounded in knowledge is more important than teaching five-year-olds about gay sex will be elbowed aside.

The target-driven system will only employ those who are target-driven too. Try to do the actual job, try to ignore the targets and you won’t get promoted. You’ll more likely get fired.

All we will have left will be targets and people who see the sole purpose of their job as meeting those targets. The public? We will become no more than the means of meeting targets. Every encounter with the police will be an arrest, every child will leave school unable to read or write but filled with socialist doctrine, if you complain to the school then social services will take your child away, and whatever you do, don’t get sick unless you are in perfect health.

People no longer matter. Only the targets matter. Simply stating that the targets aren’t being used any more is no good. Labour’s placemen are making sure they remain. What is the Coagulation doing about it?

They are doing what they always do when faced with something difficult to achieve. Pretending it isn’t happening. They will do nothing about it at all.

It’s not one of their targets, you see.

30 comments for “Hitting the target but missing the point

  1. microdave
    June 1, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Not so very different from my experiences as a service engineer for a major company years ago. When we had our own “patch” it made sense to try and fill any slack periods with some maintenance work. Preferable to having a fault thrown up when things were stretched. At one point some new management bod came up with bright idea of us being “Proactive”, rather than “Reactive”, which amounts to the same thing.

    However when computer aided despatch was introduced we found ourselves travelling far & wide, and being given “standard” job times, so this approach went out the window. Being honest (even outspoken) wasn’t well liked, so when the opportunity arose I took the money and ran.

    Now the company seems to be staffed with a new generation of young, compliant staff, with little or none of the old fashioned skills I prided myself on.

    It’s “the way of the world”, you see…

    • June 2, 2011 at 5:45 am

      Sadly true… 🙁

  2. June 1, 2011 at 7:53 pm


  3. June 1, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    If you are paid to do anything on a repeat basis, then you need those repeats to keep coming – so they do. It’s the logic of repeat business where we all conspire to keep it going from catching criminals to devising new laws to curing illness to selling newspapers.

  4. nisakiman
    June 1, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Yes, we seem to have lost sight of the larger picture. It’s all about micro-management now. Common sense is a concept, not a reality any more.

  5. Sackerson
    June 1, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    “…rather than deterring crime, the police are now dependent on its existence.” Well put.

  6. June 1, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Desperately sad, but oh so true. And let’s not forget two of the worst culprits of the target culture. From Tom Bower’s biography of the most destructive politician of our times: –

    “Both Brown and Blair believed that anything measurable could be improved. By setting targets for each department and each public service, and creating a delivery unit in Downing Street to enforce those targets, they hoped that human inadequacies would be overcome and Britain’s public servies would be improved….. [Brown] did not seem to wonder why, if targets worked, the Soviet Union had failed to become the world’s richest power…..”

    • June 2, 2011 at 3:01 am

      The Blur and the Gorgon tried to measure things that couldn’t be numerically measured. They imposed their systems anyway.

      It’s a pity that with all that forehead, Dave has nothing within that can understand the problem.

  7. June 2, 2011 at 12:30 am

    ‘Targets’ only matter to ‘Professional’ Managers, because that is nowadays their sole job justification. Likewise Politicians.

  8. Voice of Reason
    June 2, 2011 at 1:44 am

    It’s the ‘B’ Ark syndrome. One way to deal with these people is to force them to actually make a decision, after the consequences are explained and made public.

    • June 2, 2011 at 3:03 am

      A better way is to drop them on a desert island and let them committee themselves to death.

      New reality-TV show, perhaps? I’d watch it.

      • June 2, 2011 at 5:46 am

        Me too, and I loathe those things!

      • Voice of Reason
        June 2, 2011 at 2:01 pm

        I had a few similar ideas:

        a) Put a bunch of the very rich on an island, with loads of cash, but no food, water, or way off.
        b) Put a group of the super-religious somewhere, and judge them on how well they obey their own beliefs.

      • Jax
        June 3, 2011 at 1:07 am

        Would that be a form of Committee-ing suicide?? Geddit? Geddit? Committee-ing? Committing? Sui ……

        I’ll get my coat ……..

  9. Maaarrghk!
    June 2, 2011 at 6:51 am

    A clipped ear Leg Iron. But, but, but that’s child abuse!!!!!!

    Of course, social services taking Mrs M!’s friends new born son away from her within hours of a difficult birth is NOT child abuse.
    And the fact that they recently told her they would not is NOT an abuse of her human rights.

    Also, the fact that when they took the baby they told her it would be only for a 24 hour “assessment”, when in fact they placed the baby with foster parents indefinitely is also NOT an abuse of her human rights and is NOT child abuse.

    Funny old world……..

  10. June 2, 2011 at 6:56 am

    The purpose of the police is now to make a certain number of arrests within a set time frame. So rather than deterring crime, the police are now dependent on its existence. They cannot prevent crime. If there is no crime they cannot meet their targets.

    Quotas for arrests – a very slippery slide.

  11. ivan
    June 2, 2011 at 8:59 am

    I remember the days when the local bobby lived in the village police house. He knew all the kids and their preferred meeting places as well as who was likely to be a problem. Cause trouble and he took you home to face your parents but he also acted as impromptu referee to a football match on the village sports field.

    Those were the days, now long gone. I was away working when the village bobby was removed from the village and the police house sold. I am told it is very seldom that a plod is seen in the village now and it’s usually when they drive through to get somewhere else and crime has been on the way up ever since.

    Some of the boxes that need ticking need headings like, ‘walked round beat twice today’ and ‘checked old Mrs. Blogs is OK on return from hospital’ and ‘had conversation with local teens’ and … The list does have an end but it all requires the LOCAL plod to know his/her people and patch – something I can’t see happening any time in the near future.

  12. June 2, 2011 at 10:03 am

    “”So if a criminal can find out when the burglary target has been met, he can then go out burgling, knowing the police won’t have time to chase him.””

    I’m surprised some numpty hasn’t proposed showing this information in real time on the internet. One of those ‘look how good we are’ exercises.

  13. Ed P
    June 2, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Blair & Brown did more to destroy the culture of this island than anyone in the preceeding two centuries. Heaven help us if Red Ed & Balls, following the same moronic path, ever come to power.

  14. vervet
    June 2, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    “Incidentally, burglars can now break into homes fully confident that the homeowner does not have a gun.”

    Are you quite sure about that LI ? I believe that there are a number of people around who would give a burglar a very nasty surprise if he/she had made that erroneous assumption! 🙂

    • Brenda
      June 2, 2011 at 9:02 pm

      Oh yes !! There are still a good few old fashioned bank robbers that own the odd ‘sawn-off’ or two. I doubt that they have licenses for them and would most certainly use them on slimy burglars.
      Good job these burglars don’t know exactly whose house they are robbing.

  15. Maaarrghk!
    June 2, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Sadly Vervet, it’s a very small number and getting smaller all the time thanks to the efforts of the rabid anti-gun lobby.

    Most criminals are well aware that they have far more risk of being shot by other criminals than by their intended victims.

    • Paul
      June 2, 2011 at 5:05 pm

      Want to be a bit careful with an assumption like that though – there are non-projectile weapons that can be used…

      • Maaarrghk!
        June 3, 2011 at 6:46 am

        Such as Paul?

        Electric stun guns? Almost as serious as possession of an unlicensed fire arm.

        Catapults? Not practical in the confines of most homes.

        Baseball bat/club? Ditto.

        Carving knife? Well, maybe, but many stabbing victims are stabbed with their own knife after having it taken from them by an attacker.

        On balance, I’d go for the gun if only the stoopid law would let me.

  16. elaine
    June 2, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I live in a small village, hardly ever see our local plod, he is usually called to town on busy nights, yet we have a brand spanking new police station (with blacked out windows), an exercise yard (for all those prisoners we haven’t got) and a brand spanking new CCTV van!

  17. Matt
    June 2, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I read somewhere–I always believe everything I read– that the Japanese word for policeman translates as “Honourable gentleman who walks around”.

    If true I really like that.

    • Fortyfold
      June 3, 2011 at 1:28 am

      The Japanese word is ‘警官’, which I make out to be ‘the official who warns’ – or more literally ‘government guard’

  18. Junican
    June 3, 2011 at 4:21 am

    Weird, isn’t it, how we used to regard policemen as protectors. How did the powers-that-be change that to persecutors? Very strange. And how did Local Authorities become persecutors? You know, misplaced bins, etc. The only thing that I can think of is the creation of local authority ‘parking officers’ (or whatever). If there was/is a question of law-breaking, why were these people not police officers, even if minor police officers?

    What we have seen over the last several years is a sort of distribution of authority. It will not be long before intelligent people stop accepting this idea. I mean, at what point do I say, “I am going about my personal business. I refuse to accept that you have any right to speak to me. Buzz off!” Why not?

  19. Bollixed
    June 4, 2011 at 4:26 am

    Policing is now nothing more than a business. Why do you think it is that all police stations, departments, personnel are all corporate entities now? Check this for yourself on Dunn & Bradstreet. The truth is that the new policy officers of this corporate state (EU controlled) have no interest in solving crime? There is no money or bonuses to be made if they reduce or eradicate crime. Just look at the private prisons in the USA and see where ACPO are getting their ideas from. 🙄 Follow the money trail. Always follow the money trail.

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