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article imageOp-Ed: England and Wales police chiefs spend £660,000 on music licences

By Eileen Kersey     Sep 7, 2013 in Crime
Manchester - Under the Freedom of Information Act in the UK it has been revealed that police forces in England and Wales have wasted a huge amount of money on music -- £660,000.
BBC News reports "Police chiefs in England and Wales paid £660,952 for licences so staff could listen to music in offices in the past year."
In a week when Manchester police force admitted that it only investigates about one in four, crimes that news is a shocker. Police bosses have justified their lack of investigation as down to the fact that there were no clues or witnesses, in many cases. Perhaps if they investigated they would find both? A cut in resources will have also played a part which means the cost of music licenses becomes obscene.
Criminal investigations are now likened by Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy to the NHS treating the most poorly patients first. The difference of course is that the others do receive treatment in time.
The news has been widely condemned and as the Mail Online reports: However, MPs and crime experts last night accused Sir Peter of failing victims of crime and talking ‘bureaucratic gobbledegook’.
Defending his force’s approach, Sir Peter said: ‘Most crime is committed by a group of active, persistent offenders who go in and out of the criminal justice system. ‘So in continuing to reduce crime, we balance between investigating offences after they have happened and targeting those who we know are out there every day, looking for criminal opportunities. Some of these we visit twice a day to keep them on their toes. ‘In the same way that the Health Service concentrates on the most serious illnesses and the treatments likely to have most effect, the police have to concentrate on the most serious crimes and those where there are lines of investigation likely to produce evidence of the offender.
We imagine that if Sir Peter's house was burgled or his mobile phone stolen that would be investigated. News that there is a selection process as to which crimes get investigated and another postcode lottery will not sit well with the British public. It is not for our police forces, as public servants, to decide who should receive justice.
It also sends out the wrong message to criminals who now know they have a good chance of "getting away with it."
Perhaps if police stopped wasting money on music licenses and turned police stations back into tough places of work more crimes would be solved. Perhaps also they would be able to balance their budgets without cutting front-line services.
Note: The Freedom of Information Act in the UK enables the public to challenge government authorities. It highlights matters such as wrongdoing and money wasted, rather than keeping the public ill-informed. As informed citizens we should then be able to lobby MPs and vote accordingly. It may not be perfect but we should protect the Freedom of Information Act and our right to speak out.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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