News reaches Vitriol Towers that your friendly neighbourhood
Lovely. So you're walking down the street, minding your own business, when a burly stormtrooper in a stab vest grabs you and sticks a swab up your first available orifice, all in the name of 'Building Safer Communities'/'Tough on Crime in YOUR Community'/'Working For Safer Communities'/'Insert Pointless Marketing-esque Strapline Here'.
It's hardly Dixon of Dock Green, is it?
The oft-wailed cry of those caught speeding or committing some other egregious offence against 'the community' is, "why don't you go and catch real criminals?". And while I'm not normally one for cliche, that phrase sounds particularly apposite in this case.
This action by the police is not about lowering crime at all, not about catching criminals. It's about laziness.
To catch, say, a serial burglar requires expensive Scenes of Crime examinations, costly detectives and, perhaps, even (whisper it softly) overtime. None of these are acceptable, because they take the focus of the police away from the important goals of filling their 'Report on the Incidence of Reporting of Reported Crime (in YOUR Community)' forms in triplicate. Add in the fact that their all-black uniforms and Toys'R'Us Batman Utility Belts weigh so much they can't go running after felons as it's a Health & Safety risk, and you see the truth.
Collaring anyone within 500 yards of a parking-ticket and sticking a cotton-bud up their bottom means the Stasi don't have to go running after fleet-footed drug dealers, or enduring the rigmarole of following up clues to a real crime. Their arrest statistics look great, the DNA Database bulges with millions of 'suspects' - and we're so disillusioned with the whole thing that when we're stabbed in the face for our mobile phones we don't even bother ringing up for a 'crime number'*. So the 'reported crime' statistics look good too.
And if it turns out, one day in the future, that somebody on the database is wanted for a serious crime - non-payment of Council Tax or something - well, that proves why we must have a Database of Everyone. For the good of the Community, innit.
Oi, Z-Cars. Stop being the paramilitary wing of the Office of National Statistics, and go and catch some real criminals.
*which is another rant.