Concentrate on the inessential

This is the motto of the British police, writes Dalrymple. (It is taken, he points out, from that of the psychiatric services.) Concentrating on the inessential gives the police

far less trouble

than, say, arresting and punishing the culprit of a crime.

Dalrymple observes that today the British police

repress everything except crime and disorder

while dressing up like

the paramilitary arm of some extremist political party.

Counselling

carried out by men or women in stab-proof vests

Counsellor’s uniform

appears now to be their chief rôle. After all, says Dalrymple,

it is far easier to identify the victims than the culprits, and therefore it is a far more efficient use of police time (in very short supply) to attend to the former rather than to the latter.

The police are determined to

improve the service to their customers

and they often regret that

in the past they have concentrated too exclusively on trying to catch the culprits and not enough on the pastoral care of victims.

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