They say that things happen in threes. Perhaps if you break something and then something else breakdown then you will expect the third to arrive very soon. Any good speech writer will tell you to use “threes” for sound bites (“Education. Education. Education.”) Any good photographer will tell you to try and break a landscape picture into thirds. Ready, Steady, Go! Red, Amber, Green. Stop, look, listen – yes, there are many things which come in threes.
There are threes in policing and the two which concern me most in my role are “High, Medium, Low” and “Immediate, Priority, Scheduled”.
One of the main things I have noticed over the past 5 years or so is the increasing reliance on the police to perform functions for which they were never intended. Often, these functions are usually within the remit of other organisations who now simply have either no will or no resources to perform them.
Usually there is a phonecall from another organisation during which a crisis or situation is described and there is an attempt to seemingly transfer the risk and responsibility to the police.
Three very simple questions which can make navigating your way through a problem a little bit easier. Three simple questions we probably don’t ask enough:
What is the problem? What is happening? What isn’t happening?
So what? Who cares? Does it matter? What are the consequences? To whom? Who is affected by this and how? What’s the worst that will happen if I do nothing? Does something need to be done? Does something need to be stopped?
Now what? So what are we going to do about it? Why? When? Who else needs to be involved?
In the last blog I talked generally about risk and how so much of police work is about the management of risk.
I discussed how easy it can be to achieve a target but miss the point – even in cases of high risk. I touched upon how risk has been ignored for too long as focus has been on types of crime rather than a crime’s individual effect on a victim.