Arts cuts, police cuts, nursing, crime and tangents . .

Isn’t it strange how the news regarding police cuts doesn’t seem to get the left as animated as they get towards other cuts.  I know the police have not won many public hearts lately due to their public displays of aggression and intimidation at recent protest rallies and suchlike – and quite right too.  We’ve seen some appalling police behaviour and the lack of accountability is downright criminal but I guess they’re not all our enemy.  Just as there are good and bad nurses and good and bad teachers, the same surely applies to the police.

I had three police officers at my house this morning.  Two officers came and went followed by a crime scene investigator.  They were here, in short, because my eldest daughter’s car was broken into.  The poor girl has only had the car for one week.  She was chuffed to bits about it.  What with the sky-scrapingly high insurance costs for new, young drivers, she thought she would never be able to afford a car.  But to her credit,  she somehow made it happen.  She chose the smallest, cheapest, cutest little car available – one with low economical running costs and not so harsh on the environment.

Being a student nurse,  she receives a little bursary each month which just about pays for said car.  But crucially, being a student nurse, she has to go on placements far and wide and at all times of the day and night so a car is really quite essential.  I was very tempted, incidentally, to talk her out of nursing.  She was all set up for university.  Had a guaranteed place at Liverpool and everything.  She couldn’t wait to start.  Why she changed her mind, I’ll never know.  And why she chose to go into nursing befuddles me even more but I suspect her boyfriend, and the reluctance to leave him, had something to with the decision. Ho hum.

Anyway (tangents dear girl, tangents), her shiny, new little car was violated right outside our house the other night and she was gutted.  The perpetrator just popped the lock right out of the door.  Nothing was taken because there was nothing to take.  The police officer said he was probably looking for spare change or hoping to find an ipod because the car came with an ipod thingy where you can plug in your ipod and listen to your playlist.

The first two officers who attended were very nice and helpful.  They showed care and concern towards my daughter and were very attentive.  After they’d completed their bit they left and told me a crime scene investigator would come along later to take fingerprints and stuff.  They asked my daughter if she would need to use the car today and she said yes – she had to go into uni at 12 o clock so they said they’d try to get the forensic guy to come before then.  I didn’t expect this to happen but lo and behold, the lovely lady turned up at about 10.30 with her little black bag of forensics tools.  I was impressed.  She too was very caring and concerned but she couldn’t do any dusting on the car door because it was raining.

I had been listening to the news all morning and there was much talk about the police cuts and cuts to the Arts.  Objections to the Arts cuts, by the way, are easy to dismiss but I don’t mind admitting that I object to these cuts almost as much as other cuts, not least because Art enriches all our lives but more importantly,  there will be many-a knock-on effect by way of employment, education and suchlike and will result in only the well-off being able to afford to study an Arts degree or pursue a particular ‘Arts’ talent.  And youth theatre groups, sports groups . . . what about all those youngsters who are committing time and energy to something fulfilling that they enjoy . . . something that helps to keep them fit and healthy.  We already know that too many unfit teenagers spend their time hanging around streets with nothing to do and nowhere to go.  Tell me what’s beneficial about taking away their facilities when those things give them a focus, where they can learn about commitment, self-respect and teamwork.  The Arts have the power to transform and vastly improve lives.  I’ve seen it working.  Dance teachers are creating community dance-groups everywhere.  It’s classless, genderless and available across the scale.  The kids who attend such groups are growing daily in self-esteem and self-confidence.  And they’re active for god’s sake!  Off the streets.  Not being thugs!  Not being a nuisance!  Not committing crimes!  Isn’t that the goal?  You need look no further than the absolutely fantastic Dance United to realise just how effective and empowering such groups can be.

Basically, Arts funding is there to provide equal opportunities for everybody to have their lives enriched and improved. The Arts cuts are regressive and will make Art and Culture elite and inaccessible to all but a privileged few.   Osborne’s few.

Anyway, where was I? (More tangents.  Focus girl!) My police experience, although brought about by a nasty and annoying crime, was an altogether positive one but it got me thinking about the cuts and how it might affect the three nice officers who dealt with our case.  I don’t know anything about the structure of police forces.  I know that like nurses, doctors, paramedics etc. police officers take a lot of crap from the public.  They deal with aggressive and abusive people on an almost daily basis and are always the first in line for a bashing and being blamed for everyone’s problems.  I do stand by my belief that a lot of officers join the police force for the wrong reasons (ie: power, means to bully etc) but generally speaking, I like to think that, like nurses, teachers etc., most of them are decent with a genuine desire to help others and like most of us, they face worrying times and insecurities.

There’s more to a police force than the images we see of police thuggery on our TV screens and the government’s promises not to cut front line jobs is meaningless given that front-liners depend on non-front-line staff to do their jobs properly so no matter how they spin it, the cuts will detrimentally affect the police and how they protect the public and no matter how bitter the relationship between activist and policeman is, it’s surely in our interest to support them at this time.

Gosh!  It’s all or or nothing with me.


2 responses to this post.

  1. If I am not wrong police everywhere are needed today more than they were decades ago. When a public service is badly needed no cuts should be applicable to it, on the contrary those services should be strengthened. The same thing happens with medical, cleaning and other essential roles in our society. To me all of them are indispensable.

    It is not of cuts we should be speaking, it is of whom must be really affected by this crisis. There are billions of Pounds or Euros that have been extracted from people’s pockets by builders’ and other corporations and invested in India, China, Brazil, etc, to our detriment. Heavy taxes should have been imposed on those exported capitals.

    The problem lies on globalisation.


  2. Very true indeed Jose. Globalisation, for all it’s wonderful promises, has failed to rid the world of poverty. In fact, it’s grossly widened the rich country/poor country gap. Globalisation has failed, miserably, on many levels.


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