The public no longer have the police service they deserve

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From: Ralph Lindley, Vice President, Ripon Museum Trust, Ripon.

HAVING read about Jayne Dowle’s criminal damage to her leaded window (The Yorkshire Post, October 16), I can sympathise with her over the lack of action from the police but this seems to be par for the course these days. There are a number of reasons for this and I speak as a former police officer who retired 25 years ago.

I spent the last 20 years of my service in CID. Before I could be classed as a detective of any rank, I had to attend and pass an intensive course on criminal law and procedure at the Detective Training School at Bishopgarth in Wakefield.

This ensured that I had a thorough knowledge and understanding of the subject including the powers I possessed as a member of the Police Force as we were called in those days. Before being designated as a detective, I had to serve a period in CID as a CID aide to show 
that I had the aptitude for serving in CID.

When I initially joined the police, I had to attend a course lasting three months at a Police District Training Centre to ensure that I knew the law and more importantly what my basic powers were. Like all others on the course I had to learn relevant definitions of offences by rote and these stayed with me throughout my service. Today all these centres have closed and I have no intention of making any comment on the poor standard of training given today. I had to serve a period of two years on probation before having my appointment as a constable confirmed.

I had to live in the area in which I served, thus ensuring that I gained local knowledge of the area. This included getting to know residents, both those who were law-abiding and those who were known criminals. As important, the residents got to know their local police officers. This no longer applies.

I was also barred from having any other employment than the police and could be severely punished if I did follow any other employment, paid or otherwise.

Today’s police officers are allowed to have a second job and, to my mind, this causes nothing less than a conflict of interest.

I have no intention of making any comments on reported crime figures as I wish to keep these to myself, thus allowing me to retain my sanity. The public today do not have the police service they deserve. As mentioned earlier, I served in the police when we gave good service to the public. Trust in the police is at an all time low and I hope and pray that this can and will be improved for everyone’s sake.