Sunday, 4 March 2012

IN WHICH PICKWICK ENTERS THE ALICE-IN-WONDERLAND WORLD OF CRIME STATISTICS and reaches no firm conclusion. Blogger Ellee Seymour made the news recently when her request to Cambs Police, using a Freedom Of Information request, to provide details of how much local crime was migrant related, was turned down. There is a get-out clause, apparently, which says that if the request is going to take too many hours to complete, then it needn't be fulfilled. It is rather odd that the assessment of how long a request would take appears to be a purely subjective one by, in this case, Cambs Police.

Shortly after Ellee Seymour made it known that she had been blanked by Cambs Police, Inspector Robin Sissons, who is in charge of the Fenland sector, had his own moment of fame by appearing in the paper saying how hurt he and his fellow bobbies were at any assertion that they weren't doing their jobs properly, and he was certain that citizens would not want his staff hunched over a computer all day when they should be out catching criminals.

Pickwick unearthed another instance of Cambs Police blanking a FOI request, when they adopted much the same approach to a request for information on translation services. Their reply to the request contained the wonderful paragraph,

"For the purposes of subsection (1), information which is held by a public authority and does not fall within subsection (2) (b) is not regarded as reasonably accessible to the applicant merely because the information is available from the public authority itself on request, unless the information is made available in accordance with the authority's publication scheme and any payment required is specified in, or determined in accordance with, the scheme."

ALL CLEAR, THEN…? Excellent, I'm glad we could help.

In 2011, someone had the temerity to ask Cambs Police if they could provide information about motoring offences committed by foreign drivers. Ever eager to help, this was the reply...

STILL, THERE ARE ALWAYS THE POLICE CRIME MAPS to keep us informed. These can be accessed here:,%20Cambridgeshire,%20UK#crimetypes/2011-12

Here a few screenshots of the Wisbech data for January 2012. Firstly, two maps showing where most of the VIOLENT CRIME happened.

THEFT .....


FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH, Pickwick does not believe in The Baltic Mafia, nor in the 'Streets Of Fear' scenario. Being a large and grumpy-looking male who rarely ventures out after curfew, he does not feel threatened. It was plain to anyone who could read the court reports from the late and much lamented Wisbech Magistrates, that Eastern Europeans were over-represented in cases of drink driving, licensing and insurance defaults. That did not, and does not make Wisbech into a town threatened by sinister Baltic Crime Lords and their shaven-headed hit men. Why, oh why Cambs Police are doing such a brilliant job of making it appear that they have something to hide, I cannot imagine. A little transparency might go a long, long way ......