Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Not about teaching II

Book review number 2 - Wasting Police Time' by PC David Copperfield is another good blog-based read. It is slightly more acerbic than 'Blood, Sweat and Tea' and it has a much more specific argument - that modern policing is in a mess because of government policy. Specifically, the damage is caused by bureaucracy (such as the five separate pieces of paper work that David has to fill out after he triggers a speed camera on the way to an emergency) and the need to keep the statistics favorable. If you read this blog regularly you will know that I believe that league tables are the root of all evil, so I was both smug and shocked to read about how statistics have twisted the way the Police Service (sic) is run. I won't attempt to explain it, but believe me, the 'Administrative Detection' is responsible not just for some misleading statistics, but also for a skewing of how people like PC Copperfield prioritise their time. (Here's a review which explains the issue in part.) Read the book.

But like Tom Reynolds in BS&T, David obviously enjoys aspects of his job as well, and you can feel the humanity and warmth in his writing - the kind of copper you'd like to encounter in a dire situation.

Both these two books have been a delight to get lost in. I haven't managed to get as enthused about Frank Chalk's 'It's your time your wasting.' It's extremely well written but whereas the other two allowed me to escape into the fascinating world of a different job, this book simply reminds me of things I already know. I've picked it up and put it down four or five times. Sorry, Frank, no offence... Maybe policemen love it...

For interest, here are some other books which take you into a different world...
'Kitchen Confidential' by Anthony Bourdain - about the life of a chef
'Hotel Babylon' and 'Air Babylon' by Imogen Edwards-Jones and Anonymous
about a day in the life of a hotel manager and airline manager respectively.

If anyone knows of any others please let me know - I love them.

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