Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Books You Should Be Reading Number 40 Of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

Wasting Police Time by PC David Copperfield

The most predictable thing about being involved in violent incidents is that they are completely unpredictable.
If I respond to a report of thirty youths fighting in the street with baseball bats, I can be fairly certain that on my arrival they will have dispersed and that a subsequent area search will prove negative.
On the other hand, if the local library assistant rings up to report a problem customer returning a book late, you just know that you’re going to end up rolling around on the floor somewhere between Late Medieval History and Local Walks.


This book is an edited and tidied up version of coppersblog (see above link), which is just what it sounds like. The pseudonymous David Copperfield is a bit older than me, but out-curmudgeons me and makes it look easy: he is an old fashioned conservative, who believes the main problem with the justice system is that the prisons insist on releasing people after set lengths of time, instead of throwing away the key and letting them rot. Of course, given that my one major swing to the right is on the issue of crime, I pretty much agree with him. (That having been said; he does suffer from that particular myopia common to the middle classes of a certain age, of seeing crime committed by the young and/or poor as more serious than, you know, “small” crime; for example, he thinks that drunk and disorderly behaviour - more often than not committed by young morons - should be punished not with community service or periodic detention, rather with a jail sentence of no less than a year, but he also thinks that the punishment for drunk driving – essentially demerit points – is overly harsh on people who need their cars to go to work or to ferry their kids around...)

Wasting Police Time has a bunch of opinions I don’t agree with (cocooning those few that I do), but is a funny read, and does highlight many problems with policing in England – in fact, after the first edition of the book was released, questions were raised in Parliament by Opposition MPs who mentioned the book by name. And if nothing else, it possesses the following piece of wisdom:
Drugs are fun and they make you feel good, and that’s the extent of it. They do not ‘cause’ crime, though, any more than the existence of DVD players causes burglary, or the existence of short, ginger children causes bullying.

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