Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cardboard Constables (Could Someone Explain This To Me?)

From The Telegraph: Police spend £20,000 on cardboard officers
West Midlands police said it had ordered 80 cardboard constables at a cost of just over £10,000. In Derbyshire, £6,650 was spent over the past two years on a "substantial number" of cut-outs.

"The theory is that it creates the impression at first glance of a capable guardian being on site, which hopefully also reduces the perception of fear of crime," said a Derbyshire police spokesman.

A survey using the Freedom of Information Act revealed that 13 forces in England and Wales have used cardboard officers.

Essex police said it spent £760 on eight cut-outs. They have been deployed in petrol stations, to deter drivers from speeding away without paying for their fuel, and also in shops to discourage shoplifting.

The force would not reveal precisely where the cut-outs have been placed because "to release locations is likely to jeopardise the success of the trials".

Can someone explain to me how these corrugated coppers are going to "reduce the perception of fear of crime"? Do they mean fear on the part of the police? If so, isn't it ironic that they're putting fake police on the beat in order to make the bad guys think they're not afraid of them?

Anyone who gives these decoys a second look isn't going to be fooled for very long. It's like leaving a police car in a parking lot. It doesn't take much looking to figure out there's not an actual police officer nearby. And what about those car alarms? Does anyone hear one of them go off and actually think "Oh no, someone is breaking into a car!" In reality, they're used far more often to locate a car in the parking lot than anything else.

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