"Truth seldom is pleasant; it is almost invariably bitter. A loss of courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days..." Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Commencement address at Harvard University , June 8, 1978
Saturday, 2 May 2009
FIRST IT WAS THE "JEDI" POLICE, NOW IT'S THE MEGAPHONES POLICE
Among the constabulary's hierarchy, faced with a spate of burglaries, it was probably seen as 'innovative policing'.
Officers were armed with megaphones and told to bark warnings at homeowners who left doors and windows open during warm weather.
Police community support officers and constables took to the streets of Northampton and began bellowing: 'This is the police. Shut your windows and lock your doors. Don't let burglars in.'
When crime figures began to drop, Northamptonshire police gave themselves a pat on the back.
Loud and clear: PC Julie Allington in action with her megaphone
But homeowners were less congratulatory. They are furious about the 'intrusive and patronising' policy, which even allowed officers to enter homes where doors had been left ajar.
Residents have a different view as to why crime figures have improved - because, for once, there are patrols in the area and not because of the amplified orders.
Anthony Whitehead, 59, described the idea as 'bizarre'. 'The sound of the megaphone scares old people and it will alert the burglars to where the police are so they can avoid them,' he said. 'They should do some proper police work.'
Grandmother Shirley Partridge, 75, said: 'I don't want police officers coming into my house and bellowing at me with a megaphone. All they are doing is setting my dog off barking.'
Police took action after 30 burglaries in the Thorplands and Lumbertubs areas of Northampton.
For the last fortnight, officers have been using the megaphones during daylight hours.
They are not allowed to test door handles and windows but may enter a house if they see a door open.
Once inside, they call out for the owner and may wake someone who has dozed off.
Inspector Mike Grady defended the scheme, saying: 'Sadly, a good proportion of burglaries in this county take place at homes that have been left unsecured.
A burglar can be in and out of your home with your wallet, mobile or keys in just seconds if your door is unlocked.
'It costs nothing to turn the key in the lock but it could cost you thousands to replace the items a burglar steals, before you even know he's been.'
He added: 'We have noticed a drop in burglaries in the Thorplands and Lumbertubs area since we launched this scheme on April.
'The tactic is designed to drive home the message that people should always make sure they lock up their homes.'
In February it emerged the force had recommended all town centre licensed premises to install CCTV. The Big Brother move, which had been adopted by several forces, was described by the Information Commissioner's office as raising 'serious privacy concerns'.
Last year a security van made a 120-mile round-trip to move a prisoner 200 yards between Northampton Crown Court and the magistrates court to avoid breaching his human rights.
The van was sent from Cambridge after police said it would have been degrading for the offender to be seen in public in handcuffs.( TAKEN FROM http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1176122/This-police--lock-doors-windows-Officers-shout-warnings-homeowners-megaphones-burglary-crackdown.html)