Po­lice force cut means pa­trol cars stand idle while ci­ti­zens vol­un­teer

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - REGULARS -

Many years ago I worked as a ju­nior re­porter in Hartle­pool, a ship­build­ing town of some 80,000-plus work­ing class peo­ple in the north­east of Eng­land. Three times a week I cov­ered the mag­is­trates' court with its pre­dictable of­fences: rid­ing a bi­cy­cle with­out a red rear light, drunk and dis­or­derly, break­ing and en­ter­ing and the oc­ca­sional Satur­day night dance hall punch-up.

Po­lice­men walked the streets in pairs, kept the peace at the town's foot­ball ground and manned desks at the po­lice sta­tion. All very nice and or­derly.

To­day, you will be very lucky to see a po­lice­man on the street or driv­ing a pa­trol car in that small town. Dras­tic cuts in force num­bers mean that Hartle­pool has just ten of­fi­cers on duty at any one time. It can take one to two hours to an­swer a 999 call and on one oc­ca­sion it took 45 min­utes to at­tend a bur­glary just around the cor­ner from po­lice HQ.

One night re­cently there were six po­lice vans and seven po­lice cars parked out­side the po­lice sta­tion with­out a sin­gle of­fi­cer in any of them.

Seek­ing to con­trol pub­lic spend­ing, the gov­ern­ment has cut the po­lice force na­tion­ally by 22,000 front-line of­fi­cers.

The Cleve­land force, which cov­ers Hartle­pool, has lost 500 uni­formed men. The re­sult has been an in­crease in crime in the town of 19 per cent.

The lo­cal news­pa­per re­ported that fewer than nine per cent of rob­beries, bur­glar­ies, ar­son and crim­i­nal dam­age were be­ing solved.

Cleve­land Chief Con­sta­ble Mike Veale said, “The cuts caused by aus­ter­ity are too deep and have gone on too long. It is about time that trend was re­versed.”

One re­sult of the paucity of po­lice in Hartle­pool has been that some ci­ti­zens pa­trol the streets them­selves. Terry Hughes, a for­mer store de­tec­tive, told a na­tional news­pa­per that his team in­cluded a taxi driver, a fac­tory worker, an IT spe­cial­ist and a night­club singer. Ev­ery night they drive through the sub­urbs, keep­ing an eye on homes, busi­nesses and ve­hi­cles.

Terry de­nies they are vig­i­lantes. “We are con­cerned ci­ti­zens, who want our chil­dren, and grand­chil­dren and neigh­bours to feel safe.” He wears a body cam­era and has a dash­board cam­era in his car and is equipped with a panic alarm.

The vol­un­teers post re­ports of un­to­ward in­ci­dents and any in­crim­i­nat­ing CCTV footage on Face­book. It some­times has a de­ter­rent ef­fect in a close-knit com­mu­nity.

* * *

Pro­fes­sional foot­ballers are of­ten seen as pam­pered mil­lion­aires with their flash cars, celebrity girl­friends and lux­ury homes. How­ever, at least one player, an African, has proved an ex­cep­tion.

New­cas­tle United for­ward Chris­tian Atsu has do­nated

£7,000 to help poor peo­ple in his home coun­try, Ghana. They in­cluded a mother and her two daugh­ters who were locked up for steal­ing corn val­ued at just over one pound ster­ling. Atsu paid their £50 fine and they were re­leased.

The char­ity Crime Check Foun­da­tion set up a Petty Of­fend­ers Fund to help Ghana­ians jailed be­cause they could not pay fines for mis­de­meanours. A spokesman said Atsu's gifts would help 30 pris­on­ers, nine of whom had al­ready been re­leased.

Atsu also paid for surgery on a gravely ill woman pris­oner, aged 62, but she died dur­ing the op­er­a­tion.

* * *

Talk­ing foot­ball, back in 2005, Martin Mccarthy placed a £100 bet with book­maker Wil­liam Hill that his son, Alex, then aged 15 and a goal­keeper for the small club Wim­ble­don, would one day play for Eng­land. The odds he was given were 100-1.

Last month, Alex made his in­ter­na­tional de­but for his coun­try against the United States at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium, and his dad col­lected win­nings of £10,000.

* * *

How would you like to earn

£787 per minute? That's what Bri­tain's for­mer For­eign Sec­re­tary Boris John­son re­ceived when he de­liv­ered a two-hour speech to an Amer­i­can hedge fund, Gold­en­tree As­set Man­age­ment in New York on Novem­ber 2.

The to­tal, £94,508, was de­scribed by op­po­si­tion Labour MP Karl Turner as “grotesque.”

John­son's an­nual par­lia­men­tary salary is £77,000.

* * *

The mo­bile phone is truly king. A friend re­turn­ing to the UK from Kenya re­ports that in the tran­sit lounge dur­ing his stopover two peo­ple were read­ing news­pa­pers, him­self and one other. The re­main­ing pas­sen­gers, about 150 of them, were con­sult­ing screens of vary­ing sizes.

But as for that …

Brian adored his wife Betty and for their first wed­ding an­niver­sary, he bought her the lat­est model mo­bile phone. Betty was de­lighted. She loved its gleam­ing sur­faces, its mu­si­cal ring­ing tone, its many apps and its space-age de­sign.

The next day Betty popped the phone into her hand­bag and went shop­ping in the lo­cal supermarket. Very soon, the cell phone rang. It was her lov­ing hus­band ask­ing how she liked her phone.

“It's won­der­ful, dar­ling,” she replied, “I like ev­ery­thing about it. There's just one thing that puz­zles me. How did you know I was in Tesco's?”

Many coun­tries are fast adopt­ing tech­nolo­gies and en­act­ing poli­cies that pro­mote har­ness­ing of wind en­ergy on a util­ity scale. The first known use was in 5000BC when peo­ple used sails to nav­i­gate River Nile. Per­sians had al­ready been us­ing wind­mills for

400 years by 900AD to pump wa­ter and grind grain.

The Dutch were re­spon­si­ble for many re­fine­ments of the wind­mill, pri­mar­ily for pump­ing ex­cess wa­ter off land that was flooded. As early as 1390, they had con­nected the mill to a multi-storey tower, with sep­a­rate floors de­voted to grind­ing grain, re­mov­ing chaff, stor­ing grain and liv­ing quar­ters for the wind smith and his fam­ily.

Its pop­u­lar­ity spread to the point that there were 10,000 wind­mills in Eng­land. But per­fect­ing the wind­mill's ef­fi­ciency took al­most 500 years. By then, applications ranged from sawmilling tim­ber to pro­cess­ing spices, to­bacco, co­coa, paints and dyes. The wind­mill was fur­ther re­fined in the late 19th cen­tury in the US; some designs from that pe­riod are still in use to­day. Heavy, in­ef­fi­cient wooden blades were re­placed by lighter, faster steel blades around 1870. Over the next cen­tury, more than six mil­lion small wind­mills were erected in the US to aid in wa­ter­ing live­stock and sup­ply­ing homes with wa­ter dur­ing the de­vel­op­ment of the West.

To­day, peo­ple are re­al­is­ing that wind power can serve as an al­ter­na­tive to fos­sil fuel-gen­er­ated elec­tric­ity. Wind power is now the world's fastest grow­ing en­ergy source and has also be­come one of the most rapidly ex­pand­ing in­dus­tries. Off­shore wind has the po­ten­tial to de­liver sub­stan­tial quan­ti­ties of en­ergy at a price that is cheaper than most of the other re­new­able en­er­gies, as wind speeds are gen­er­ally higher off­shore than on land. As of 1999, global wind en­ergy ca­pac­ity topped 10,000 megawatts, which is ap­prox­i­mately 16 bil­lion kilo­watt-hours of elec­tric­ity. If the pre­dicted strides are made in the near fu­ture, wind power could be one of our main sources of elec­tric­ity.

While we've been har­vest­ing en­ergy from wind for sev­eral decades, it is only in the last few years — as the world has be­come more con­cerned about global cli­mate change — that we've wit­nessed in­creased in­stal­la­tion of wind tur­bines. In 2010, in­stalled global wind ca­pac­ity reached 197 gi­gawatts (GW) and pro­duced about 2.5% of the world's elec­tric­ity.

The tech­nol­ogy ad­vance­ment to har­ness power from wind en­ergy would help in cost re­duc­tions in gen­er­a­tion. Wind en­ergy poses a unique op­por­tu­nity for Kenya to di­rectly leapfrog the path taken by in­dus­tri­alised coun­tries, to re­new­able sources of en­ergy. In Kenya, there is an in­stalled ca­pac­ity of 5.1MW wind farm op­er­ated by Ken­gen at the Ngong site near Nairobi.

In spite of high wind po­ten­tial as­sessed by

Wind force in a study, for var­i­ous rea­sons such as in­suf­fi­cient wind re­source data, lack of fi­nan­cial re­sources, in­ad­e­quate in­fra­struc­ture and ex­tent of grid, wind en­ergy de­vel­op­ment on a util­ity scale could not take place. Un­like other forms of elec­tri­cal gen­er­a­tion where fuel is shipped to a pro­cess­ing plant, wind en­ergy gen­er­ates elec­tric­ity at the source of fuel, which is free.

Wind is a na­tive fuel that does not need to be mined or trans­ported, tak­ing two ex­pen­sive costs out of long-term en­ergy ex­penses.

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