Star comment: Police talk tough, but lack action
The police often talk tough when it comes to so-called ‘low-level crime’ but seldom do their actions live up to the rhetoric.
Many businesses and victims of crime, such as theft and anti-social behaviour, don’t even bother to report incidents because they know the chances of seeing an officer doing something about it are remote.
Take a recent case in Wolverhampton. An 85-year-old pensioner had her purse, containing £85, stolen at the Oxfam charity shop in Victoria Street.
Simon Bowen was manning the cash register that day and immediately called 101 to report the crime, followed by another phone call to Wolverhampton’s Bilston Street Police Station to provide more information from CCTV.
But when the store called up the police station the following day, Mr Bowen said they were told the force had no record of the crime.
Last Monday, he said he called two police officers into the store to show the CCTV – but they were also unaware of the theft.
Mobile phone footage of the CCTV was sent to the force, yet this has been deemed as ‘insufficient quality’ and the store has been asked to send in the footage. This is symbolic of the struggle victims of crime are facing.
It should not be a battle to report a crime and get it investigated.
But too often victims’ experiences are less than satisfactory.
Where was the urgency when the theft was initially reported?
Why did West Midlands Police apparently lose all sight of this case? It simply is not good enough. It is no surprise people have given up.
We appreciate that £85 being stolen from a handbag is not on the same scale as the Hatton Garden jewellery raid – but it doesn’t make it any less distressing for the victim.
Regretfully, it is these so-called ‘low-level’ crimes which the public at large generally come into contact with.
But despite the nametag, having £85 stolen could have a major impact on the victim’s life if they have limited funds.
Likewise, someone who preys on an elderly pensioner and steals from them really is the lowest form of mankind.
The police use tough words to try and reassure the public.
But what really would restore faith in policing is if we started seeing some of these crimes being taken more seriously.