UK Peace Index
Latest results from the UK Peace Index, which is compiled by the Institute for Economics and Peace, shows that violent crime in the UK is falling. An interesting point in the data is that these falls in crime are set against a back drop of a fall in Police Officer numbers, I’ve long thought that Police numbers have little impact on levels of crime and that other factors, like rising wages, the way people spend their leisure time etc, have a much greater impact than boots on the street.
So with that in mind, here in Scotland our Government has bucked the trend set by the Westminster Government and has actually increased the numbers of Constables, the much vaunted “Thousand extra police” so why has First Minister Salmond done this?
The cynics among us might say, it’s another populist policy from the SNP designed to capture Yes votes in the upcoming Referendum, an to be honest I’d have to say that’s the camp I fall into, more cash being spent unwisely on policies that sound great but actually achieve little.
The new Police Scotland has just come into being, one of the reasons for this happening was a wish to be more efficient and save money , this is being partly achieved by cutting civilian posts, sadly this is causing higher paid Constables having to back fill some of these posts, hardly a good use of resources, but another example of the actual number of Police on the street having little correlation with crime levels.
So just think what might be achieved with regard crime levels if the money spent on extra constables wages was spent more wisely, it’s not as sexy saying you’ve spent the cash on better technology, improving working practices, or even more radical, not spending it on the Police at all and putting the cash into education or youth job creation, but a forward thinking radical government who were not focused on a date in 2014 might just be able to grasp that.