This new gizmo has only been public for half a day and already the denials are flooding in behind the initial wave of enquiries. "Not realistic", "Not a true reflection of the reality", "It also includes retail crime so doesn't necessarily portray the real picture", "This street isn't really a no-go area"...... are no doubt some of the responses we shall read about in the coming days as this `research tool` gets a good going over by the media and others.
From my perspective, all I can say is that I spotted one of the top whatever-the-number-was notorious `streets of fear` that I used to patrol in my days on the streets. My first taste of what life would be like for me, after I'd transferred from the Metropolitan Police, is easy to recall now. As the guy showing me the ground drove slowly down the `naughty road` in the van, he said, "This pub on the left can get a bit lively" and as if on cue as the words left his lips a chair came through the plate glass window and almost landed in my lap. Out we jumped and emerged a few minutes later with two struggling, kicking, scratching, biting, spitting whores. Nice. That's the way it was then and thats the way it was when I took the pension and ran, 25 years later. Twas ever thus.
So after reading all the smoothing, soothing sound bites from the senior officers and local councils crime and disorder spokespersons (who also appear to be wearing the Emporers New Clothes) I forgave myself for my cynicism and disparaging thoughts and the odd, sad out-loud comment. One of the quotes was from a guy I used to teach when he was a probationer and I know for a fact he copped a few beatings down that street when he was drawing a coppers pay. He knows its always been like that, but he sure as hell wasn't saying it now he was in the upper ranks of the tin gods.
I read his platitudinous quote and quietly chuckled to myself. I wished him a healthy retirement, somewhere that he doesn't have to bullshit anymore. By my reckoning he must be due in about 2 years, unless he's been done over by the tinkering with the retirement age and has a few more years of truth manipulation ahead of him.