As a trainee police officer some 20 years ago I learned stuff about criminal law and how keeping the peace works in practice on the street. That’s not to say that I and my colleagues still do not have much to learn but that training has got me this far without ever having had to draw my baton so I am happy with my progress thus far. The single element of policing that would have helped most however was regrettably omitted from my training and indeed the schooling of every other Police Officer. It is omnipresence. An attribute that is impossible. However many people think we already have it. Some think we don’t have it but should and others that we should never have this ability. It matters not. We can’t be all places at once. There are 2200 pairs of eyes on Scilly as a minimum with only 5 (0.23%) if these pairs bolted into the head of a Police Officer, PCSO or Special Constable. We can use our savvy to hunt down wrong doing and witnesses it for ourselves but there exists a bubble effect in that quite often our presence means the legal wrong is just not done in our presence. The ability to witness every misdemeanour is simply not possible. We rely heavily on members of the public reporting them to us direct so we can either venture out and witness the harm for ourselves or secure evidence from that witness in the form of a statement.
The internet and social media has brought a new dimension to this in that it is now possible for a law breaking to be photographed and posted online for friends and followers to comment on and share. Whilst this unarguably increased the number of people who are spectators to the misdemeanour it still does not ensure that the matter is brought to the attention of the police nor is it generally evidential in any event. The sphere of our expected omnipresence has increased dramatically.
The tried and tested method of simply contacting the police if you witness a wrong doing is the thing to do. Dial 101 or 999 depending on the immediacy and severity and we will try our best to be omnipresent at the incident you are bringing to our attention.