Black Belt Grading Project 2013 – Paula Clarke
The following is a questionnaire that was sent to a former Police Chief of Basingstoke who lived and worked in Basingstoke and Hampshire Constabulary from 1974 onwards.
The aim of it was to gain an insider’s knowledge (albeit a historical one) of crime in and around Basingstoke and hopefully to get an idea of how the police view the way we as individuals deal with self defence issues and whether the police see it as a vital skill for all to have or an annoyance that hinders their efforts.
I have to say that it didn’t really go to plan……………
To follow this you will find my questions in black type and the response I received in blacktype, because I didn’t necessarily receive the kind of information I wanted, I have then added my own conclusion in red to the end of the questionnaire.
Questions on Crime in Basingstoke
Would you consider Basingstoke a safe place to live?
Yes – Generally
Which parts of Basingstoke are safer? Does it follow that the more affluent areas are safer?
If you mean less crime – yes
How safe do you consider Basingstoke in relation to other nearby towns such as Southampton or Farnborough?
Probably safer but they have very different problems
Would you say there is a north / south divide when it comes to crime and which is worse?
Different types of crime – impossible to answer
What would you say given your years on the force are the most common crimes in Basingstoke?
Who would you consider to be the most at risk group in Basingstoke for crimes to be committed against? Men, women, teenagers (boys or girls) O.A.P’s?
If you mean personal physical crime then young men
Why does this particular group face the most risk?
Combination of “macho” behaviour and drink
What are the most common crimes / HAOV (habitual acts of violence) committed against;
Men – Assault
Women – Assault
Teenagers – Assault
OAPS – Minimal with the odd exception
Not much of a sexual nature often in a domestic situation
In terms of self-defence would the police consider a little knowledge a dangerous thing or do you think all women should possess some basic self-defence skills
It’s a Personal view, some basic skills
When interviewing victims of crime (particularly women) was there ever a common link between their self-preservation in the moment of the crime and their healing process i.e if the victim fought back, even if they eventually were overcome, did this aid in their healing process
No Idea ! only they can say
Or was giving in preferable? (i.e was the ordeal over quicker therefore quicker to recover ?)
Is there anything over the years that you have seen work successfully in terms of self defence and does it work repeatedly?
From your years on the force is there any invaluable tips/advice you could give to women to ensure their safety i.e, Plan Trips, Inform people of their whereabouts, Always go out in pairs etc
This is common sense especially not walking home alone late at night after drinking / clubbing
Where are women more likely to be attacked? at home ? Out in the open?
At home in domestic situation (violent partner)
Roughly what proportion of crime reported is solved / concluded
Too vague – obviously at home a high proportion
Is it a myth that you face more danger at night?
No – (outside the home)
Can you give me some information regarding your time on the force, i.e
Number of years’ service 32 ½ years
Ranks held all ranks up to and including Supt.
A general overview of the types of crimes you faced daily
How the police view the perpetrators of these crimes / and the victims Too Vague
Any other information you feel relevant
I retired nearly 20 years ago and can only comment on my experience then – times have definitely changed especially with the licensing laws and their effect, I cannot in fairness make assumptions about the present day, Basingstoke has changed!
It is not easy to compare Basingstoke with any other town as here are so many variables, i) type of population, race, age, students, unemployed. ii) Number of licensed premises and late night venues iii) types of accommodation, private, local authority, bed sit etc. iv) drug and vice problems.
Having received the written response to my questionnaire I had to sit and think what I felt about the vagueness of all the answers and the lack of any real detail, most of the answers we could of guessed at without any ‘special’ help. I think the real answer to why it is so vague is perhaps because that is typical of policing back then, a time when it was very ‘closed shop’ information was on a need to know basis only and dare I say it a lot of information was not in the public’s interest and maybe a bit hush hush. It’s a very different affair to today with most things declared and available for public knowledge.
Which is the better way to live? Would we still want to live in a society policed that way? No, otherwise things would not have moved on, but do you feel safer knowing there were 450 burglaries in your area or with someone telling you “It’s not too bad round here mate”.
Knowledge is Power?
Maybe there is something to be said for both…………………….