Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Stargazy pie and commonsense policing

I think that I have said before that occasionally I will watch 'The One Show' on BBC1 and tonight by chance happened to be one of those times. It was really pleasing to see a feature on 'Stargazy Pie', one of those dishes I would love to try sometime. For the uninitiated it is a Cornish Dish, a pastry topped fish pie with five different types of seafish in it plus, and this makes it so different, pilchards with their heads and tails sticking up out of the top of the pie. It is traditionally eaten on Tom Bawcock's Eve in Mousehole down in the far west of the county. The day of the celebration is December 23rd when the story goes Tom Bawcock came back to the village with his boat laden with fish at a time of great hardship and famine in Mousehole. I think they did a pretty good job on the show telling the story and some nice shots inside 'The Ship Inn' there and of the village's spectacular Christmas lights around the harbour.

Another piece on the programme that interested me was about the fact that a few police forces (four I think they said) are trialling what was described as 'commonsense policing'. In a nutshell rather than automatically charging someone for a low level crime with the associated ridiculous amount of bureaucracy police on the street were able to use their discretion. An example was the case of a young lad pinching a bottle of perfume from a shop as a present for his girlfriend. He was caught and the store concerned were happy not to press charges as the bottle was returned and the young thief wrote a letter of apology for what he had done. At long last a bit of commonsense had been applied! Rather than being totally target driven the idea is to let those at the sharp end use their own judgement and by so doing free up an enormous amount of otherwise unproductive police time. This chasing of targets in the public services is something I get very steamed up about: I know just how creative certain people can be in doing things just to get the boxes ticked and with the police it's stupid to be driven entirely by meeting your clear up quota and number of arrests. When the government talk about crime levels falling I'm totally sceptical - I think that it's a known fact for instance that some people won't report a crime to the police, particularly if it's relatively minor, because they don't have any confidence in them turning up.

Going back to the rest of the programme actress Kate Winslet was the star on the sofa and she was talking about her recent films and there was some film footage too of reindeer stags rutting in The Cairngorms. All in all some interesting viewing.


Andrew said...

is there any chance of this item being put on youtube because i live in france and missed the episode, i cannot watch bbciplayer coz it is only available in the uk.

two friends were in the pub and i would like to see them

thanks in anticipation


brian in the tamar valley said...

Hi Andrew
Thanks for reading the blog and commenting! The programme is on BBCi player until tomorrow (Wednesday) I think but I'm not sufficiently computer literate to know what I'm doing to put a video on YouTube. Sorry about that! Can you email anyone else in UK to do it for you?