Friday, August 04, 2006

Lincs Police, God and the silly season

Lincolnshire Police are not amused with media reports flashed around the world over the past 24 hours to the effect that they are resorting to prayer to catch criminals.

It all started with this report in the Lincolnshire Echo newspaper two nights ago (click on my blog headline to see the report).

As you can (hopefully) see, the Echo splashed the story with a banner headline: Police ask God for help

The story began: Christian police officers want to harness the power of God to fight crime.

The Echo even ran a reader's poll, illustrated with a crucifix - posing the question: Does crime pray?


Within hours of the Echo appearing, the regional, national and even international media were having a field day.

First I knew about it was a rather bizarre telephone call from the London-based free commuter's paper, the Metro. A rather over-excited scribbler said he was contacting me as a member of Lincolnshire Police Authority and wanted to know what I thought to the "plan to use God to catch criminals"

Sounded like one of those strange wind-up calls to me, so I duly referred the gentleman to Lincolnshire Police press office!

By yesterday afternoon, the story was growing legs of its own and getting bigger and bigger.

Lincolnshire Police thought it wise to put out a statement in an attempt to calm things down. The police claimed the original Echo headline was both misleading and unhelpful.

So what's the truth?

Lincolnshire Police are looking at how to better engage all sections of the increasingly diverse community within the county. And Prayerwatch, as it's been dubbed, is just one idea to improve links with different religious faiths across the county.

The idea is to pass information through church congregations, with the aim of giving crime prevention advice and preventing people and organisations from becoming victims.

Sounds reasonable to me...but is it using God to catch criminals? Er, no.

"At no time have we called on the population of Lincolnshire to pray for a reduction in crime or anti-social behaviour," says the police statement.

August is known as the media "silly season" due to lack of real news with half the country away on holiday.

Now Lincolnshire Police knows why!


Brynley said...

Thank God, it's much ado about nothing.

fairdealphil said...

Hi brynley. hope you are well.

Clangnuts said...
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