MEET THEO... THE NOT SO STRONG ARM OF THE LAW

Hobbies, Off Duty, Holidays anything like that!
User avatar
falkor
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 268
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:19 am
Class: 'Undead Hunter'
Alignment: 'Lightning'
Sacred: 'Priest'

MEET THEO... THE NOT SO STRONG ARM OF THE LAW

Post by falkor » Sun Nov 29, 2009 11:06 am

Sunday November 29,2009
By Ted Jeory, Whitehall Editor
OVER the past month, commuters travelling on the Tube through London’s East End have been greeted by posters plastered on station walls. In bold letters above a picture of two uniformed officers patrolling the capital’s streets, the billboards invite the public to “Meet the THEOs”.
Image
The posters go on to explain that the Theos are here to tackle antisocial behaviour and inner-city grime.

The less observant could be forgiven for thinking these men and women are a new and curiously named breed of Metropolitan Police officer in their dark blue uniforms, epaulettes, badges, stab vests and radios.

They can also demand your name and address, issue fines and confiscate alcohol.

If they look like a policeman, talk like a policeman and walk like a policeman, then surely they are? The reality is different. Although paid £35,000 a year, £12,000 more than a new Metropolitan Police constable, they are neither police officers nor the controversial police community support officers, the so-called “plastic bobbies”.

In fact, they work for Tower Hamlets Council. Theo stands for Tower Hamlets Enforce­ment Officer. But just days into their duties these sub-plastic bobbies – who have one week’s training with real police – are already being dubbed Keystone Kops.

However, they are no joke. They represent a largely unnoticed but growing trend by councils to assemble their own mini-police forces, accountable to politicians rather than the public.

They are so popular in the corridors of Whitehall that the Government’s “crime tzar” Louise Casey has told councils she is impressed.

Paid for by council taxpayers, this “third tier” of policing raises money for town hall budgets by fining people at least £50 for dropping litter, offensive behaviour or allowing dogs to foul the pavement.

Some see this as a good thing but others fear there is a danger of blurring the boundaries between the roles of the council and police with the increasing number of similarly uniformed enforcers patrolling the country’s towns and cities