Britain’s emergency services have been stolen by a tiny and mindless minority - and it’s high time we took them back.
That’s the view of Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove who says the way to deliver resources to the areas that need them is to somehow free the time currently wasted on those that don’t.
He told a small group of Epworth Town Councillors: “We have allowed the emergency services to be stolen by a mindless minority, and I want them back,” he said.
And that means drawing attention to the word ‘emergency’, and making sure it’s applied. Some of the things the police are called about don’t need a police presence, he said, like those featured elsewhere on this page.
Others could have been prevented by the right security arrangements.
And there should also not be a need for such a time-consuming response to dealing with drunkenness, which at times threatened to simultaneously swamp police, the ambulance service, and A&E departments. He said stretching the police to the wrong sort of incident could put pressure on places like the Isle of Axholme, which he said was an “oasis of reasonable people in a sea of serious scallywags”. He said: “You are the shopping grounds for criminals just over the border in South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.”
His views about the response to drunkenness, seen first-hand on a night shift in Grimsby, have put him in the national spotlight. He used social media tool Twitter to talk about when he was doing through the night, and had 14,000 people following him by the end. “We’re changing the way we do things,” he said. His on-the-spot views were picked up by TV and radio stations, as well as mainstream national newspapers. His thoughts included the concept of “drunk tanks” where people could be held until they sobered up. “But it’s not that simple. There are huge consequences for everyone if people die in custody,” he said.
His view was that the country had drifted towards a dependency culture, with people ready to call police and councils about too-trivial things. “It’s less of an issue in rural areas than it is in the cities, though,” he added.