Pizza danger!

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Last month I was astounded when a local man became the victim of robbery, not that a robbery is uncommon these days (despite the somewhat engineered decline suggested by crime statistics) however, the circumstances of this particular offence were.

The victim, a bloke in his 30’s, was walking home across a park when he was set about by a group of four youths, they verbally abused him and knocked him to the ground then stole his pizza. I had to wonder; were the poor kids from the nearby social housing so starving they had to attack a man for food or, were the offenders simply peckish after all the exercise and fun of kicking hell out of the victim?

This week a murder investigation was started by North Yorkshire Police after the death of a 17-year-old boy who was attacked outside College Pizzas in Stokesley. Friends said the teenager, named locally as Daniel Crowther, was attacked after refusing to let a group of youths push into the queue at the pizza takeaway in a North Yorkshire market town… (Read more)

Even though full details of both incidents are not (yet) in the public domain, surely we should be asking; what is happening to our society when a man can be attacked and a boy can actually lose his life over something so trivial as a bloody pizza? (My heartfelt sympathies and condolences go out to Daniel’s family and friends – A youth has subsequently been charged and is due to appear at court – see here)

Irrespective of apparent declining social standards, any perceived neighborhood deprivation, or indeed the inherent intolerance and anger displayed by many when interacting with others; a major impact upon the prevalence of anti-social behaviour and violence in our society must be laid at the feet of our police force. They and the remainder of the Criminal Justice System as a whole. The areas of officialdom we have in place (and entrust on our behalf) to influence and/or enforce our boundaries of socially acceptable behaviour. Public entities that I suggest are, in many respects (and unfortunately), failing in their duty to the society they are put in place to serve. A worrying situation that is actually set to get worse not better, at least in the short-term.

Despite all the government assurances issued in recent months, and subsequent platitudes about “doing more with less” offered up by many chief police officers the fact remains; our police service is not effectively delivering what the public demand and society requires. The decline in service to our communities is set to worsen in reality, especially in rural areas like North Yorkshire. Areas where, despite increases in establishment over recent years, the actual geography of the area has almost as much impact upon resource availability as do officer numbers. Resources that are required and available to respond to increasing public demand, usually at times of dire need. Resources that in real terms are often at a level 50% lower than they actually were more than twenty years ago.

This worrying factor is acknowledged by those who actually serve and protect us however; many of them are also just as concerned as the people who live and work in the communities they police. They are frustrated that, despite offering much evidence to support their calls to limit frontline cuts, their comments and observations born out of expertise and experience, are falling on deaf ears and they are unable to do anything to reverse the problem…  

Mark Botham, Chair of North Yorkshire Police Federation warns: “The message from police officers in North Yorkshire is loud and clear. They feel they are being hit from all sides by this government who, in addition to attacking their terms and conditions, are imposing a 20 percent cut on the service which will undoubtedly lead to increased levels of crime and a poorer service for the public in North Yorkshire… (Read more)

In most parts of the public sector, currently subjected to government austerity measures, there are many proposals having a negative impact upon service delivery. Despite all the assurances given by organisational leaders and the politicians, most of them also appear destined to be greater than expected. The police service is not alone in experiencing this negativity, the underlying cause actually has a common denominator.

In many respects, the perpetrators of all these problems are actually the self-preserving management (and bureaucratic structures) which the measures were designed to remove. They are what makes buying a pizza dangerous!

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2 thoughts on “Pizza danger!

  1. The local media are rightly asking questions about limited police resources and how this factor can impact upon public safety…

    Thin Blue Line: “As the disciplined chief constable continues in his job, we hope he will apply his mind to increasing the numbers of officers deployed in town centre flashpoints late at night”


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