What on earth is happening to our police forces ?
Most of the police officers I know are decent, sensible people who work hard, often in very difficult circumstances, and are doing their best to do a good job. The police force here in Cumbria is generally very effective, though like all human organisations it makes the occasional slip up.
However, there are some events which make you wonder what on earth is going on. One example came this week, assuming that the press have accurately reported it, when a man came into a police station to confess to the truly horrific murder of two French students.
Now I am not pre-judging whether the person concerned actually did carry out this terrible crime. But any reasonable person ought to regard the apprehension of the person or persons who did commit this atrocity as the absolute number one priority for every policeman in Britain. Anyone who walked into a police station claiming to know anything about it should have been given a very high priority.
If the press reports are correct, and the person who was trying to confess to this crime was told he would have to wait his turn, and left unsupervised for several minutes during which time he could have changed his mind and walked out of the police station, something is very wrong.
I don't think we should blame junior police officers for the fact that the police appear to have been affected by the "tick-in-the-box" jobsworth mentality which pervades too much of the rest of society. Books by "David Copperfield" (Wasting Police Time) and WPC "E.E. Bloggs" (Diary of an on-call girl) give an idea of the barmy situations which ordinary coppers too often have to deal with.
But I hope there is an inquiry into how the attempt to confess to the murders of the French students could have been treated in this way. There appear to be some serious lessons to learn.