The world is waking up. Waking up to its own power. Technology has given us what we want, when we want it. As we look around at the world, we hear a lot of the ‘powers that be’ promising a great deal, and delivering very little. If the government were Netflix, we would be cancelling our subscription.
What is the Function of the Police?
Government exists, first and foremost to keep public order; to protect us and our private property from others, something which ironically seems to be at the very bottom of their list of priorities. It’s far easier to extort money from law abiding citizens through victimless crimes like speeding, than tackling organised criminal gangs. Whether the police are too busy filling in paperwork, or going for the soft targets they need to meet their crime fighting quotas, the number of members of the public who feel that the police are not doing their job effectively grows bigger by the day.
Anti-social behaviour? Blah blah blah. How’s about tackling crime. Fraud, theft, burglary, assault. These things are significant and should not be overlooked in an advanced economy. Speeding, smoking weed and mouthing off on twitter may be easier to ‘police’ but we didn’t commission you to inhibit our freedoms, we ask you to protect them.
I once had a motorcycle stolen. It was a traumatic experience. It was like losing a friend. I’m not sure that I’ve fully recovered, even 4 years later. It was a big deal. I loved that bike. It was stolen in broad daylight in The Cut, outside Southwark tube station in central London. The bike was alarmed, and yet nobody saw it or said anything.
The policeman and policewoman who attended were friendly. They wore smart uniforms. They offered me a travel warrant so I could get home to Oxford. Really, all I wanted was my bike back. They had no information, no CCTV footage, nothing. In a city where everybody is being watched, with a camera positioned directly above the very bike parking bay where the theft occurred, they had nothing. Nada.
When the police are no longer operating effectively, we start to see indications of this fact manifest. It is very simple; members of the public start to take the law into their own hands.
Spate of Motorcycle Thefts
This has been happening in London. The recent surge in motorcycle theft and scooter theft, and the sclerotic response from our representatives at the metropolitan police has mobilised ‘private sector’ law enforcement.
There are very simple ways for those in power to gauge the level of effectiveness of their actions. If people feel the need to step in and do the job themselves, that is a clear sign the state had failed.
Nowhere is this more evident when it comes to private property. The sad thing is that a vigilante group, finding and beating up a thief, would be dealt with far more severely by the law than the original perpetrator would. And this is the big issue. If things go this far, the law, which was designed to serve the public, can actually cause them harm. The law exists to protect the people. The police are supposed to be the servants of the people; we commission the police to act on our behalf to uphold laws that we consider to be the boundaries between moral and immoral behaviour. And yet somehow, this essential point seems to be lost on the establishment. I don’t blame the police. Just as is the case with the military, they do what they are told. They are acting out some higher orders, nowadays largely political. The police become like pawns in a political game. When it comes to things that really matter, like preservation of our private property, they seem to be absent.
I’d rather that people didn’t take law into their own hands, but if the the police are not doing their job, and providing adequate deterrents to individuals breaking the law, whether British or European, I can see why they feel the need to do it. This is the reason that the police was formed in the first place, and the police should take note and start to pull their socks up.