One of Inspector Gadget's main themes is that of the police under fire--not by the 'yobs' or 'trashy people' or even the extremist 'Londonistan'-type enclave close by--but by their own government. Truth to tell--it looks like Big Brother has already shown up in the British police precinct, leaving Animal Farm everywhere else. It scares me greatly. That's just what the Inspector intends.
Use and Abuse of Statistics
On January 29, 2009, Gadget reported that the police in his precinct were to clean up 'any outstanding crime reports'. Sounds constructive, but go to the next sentence:
- They must not, under any circumstances, get out on the street and find any more crime. Not until the next financial year anyway. All their accumulated leave (and there is lots of it being as we don’t pay overtime any more) is to be taken between now and April. It’s best to have them out-of-the-way, they just cant be trusted to stay indoors.
- You see, when a proactive team get outside, be it CID or uniform, they just will insist on executing warrants, finding stolen property, stopping known criminals on the road and discovering nicked motors. Each time this happens, they have to put on a crime report. Being as we don’t care about detecting crime any more, and its all about the amount of crime, this kind of behaviour is a nightmare for senior police officers and their annual cash bonus.
The bean-counter response to under-reported crime within a department (because this response is corrupt, after all) will be to hire a bunch of auditors. That's ten thousand more investigative statisticians in your police department. Not a one of them will be catching the street. Instead, they'll be pulling street officers in to answer questions. Do you think a game-playing precinct command will own up to this? Or will they shove the blame downward, to the beat cop who wanted to report the assault as a rape in the first place and therefore get some help?
Now attach the idea of bonuses to this. The fakery becomes cash fraud. In this scenario, the victim's rights are also forgotten, particularly a victim who is distressed or otherwise afraid to make a fuss. But there's a bureaucratic response to that, too:
On January 27, 2009, Inspector Gadget reported the UK government will start a National Victim Agency. Good luck paying for that.
Customer Satisfaction Ratio
On January 20, Inspector Gadget informed us that he must submit customer satisfaction statistics for every shift. I do think customer satisfaction counts. However, he got two complaints for the same call--one for responding too quickly, and one for not being there yet. As he informs us, he is supposed to have a 75% satisfaction rate on each shift. He's already 0-2 on one incident before his personnel even arrived.
Now let's say there's a bar fight, and Inspector Gadget's team wades in to keep the peace. That's thirty disgruntled customers, not to mention their spouses and aggrieved parents. One grateful bouncer, one grateful bartender, and one pissed-off bar owner who wonders why Gadget wasn't already in the bar when the first pint was thrown. They stopped a riot, but their approval rate is 6%. Johnny Law, good luck to you. I mean it.
As civilians, we can call in customer satisfaction all day to try to make our police officers look good. What will we say? "Dear Customer Service Officer, today I am happy with my police because nothing bad happened to me." Do they really want to hire the switchboard for that? Do you expect a crime victim, bashed up in the hospital, to call a Customer Satisfaction hotline? Who is thinking this up? Nothing bad has ever happened to them. That I can tell.
Sincerely, how do we use statistics as a tool instead of having them tool us? There's got to be a way to stomp this pre-Orwellian condition--we'd better figure it out. Quick.
And in the meantime, all of us should be thinking: What is customer satisfaction to us, as taxpayers and as people walking the street? Is our satisfaction so shallow that it cannot take in the deeper picture?