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Dead Cert - the Poem

Met police on the beat
Should the police concentrate on "repeat victims?"

Listener Rawdon Crozier was inspired to creative heights by the "Dead Cert" edition of Analysis.

Former civil servant Gloria Laycock described an encounter with an unnamed minister in the Home Office:

"The example I'm particularly thinking of is a great deal of work we did many years ago on repeat victimisation. It's an incredibly important element of crime control, so the British Crime Survey tells us that something like 4% of victims account for 44% of all crime, and if you concentrate on protecting victims you can reduce crime and it's been shown across a whole range of offences - burglary, car crime and so on. And I in the early days was trying to persuade a minister that this was a really important public policy and he said, "Do you know what? Repeat victimisation's got too many syllables. Can't you think of something with fewer syllables? Could we call it repeat offending?" And I said, "Well do you know what? No, we can't because it isn't and you've kind of missed the point." And he said, "Well I don't mind you doing it. Carry on doing it." But it didn't ever happen with the great policy push that I was always hoping it would because it's got too many syllables."

Here is Mr. Crozier's response:

"The Clauses of Crime"

Four per cent of all victims

Account for more than forty per cent of all crime

Which means that a small group of people

Must be victims most of the time.

They must leave the house to get burgled

And get beaten up on the street

And they must have their identities stolen

By most of the people they meet.

Now, this amazing statistic

Suggested a plan which seemed sound

Instead of just waiting for some crime to happen

The Police could follow these victims around

And some bright civil servant

Told the Home Sec. just what he could do

(Civil Servants aren't all that poetic, so for the next line I cannot be too):

"Home Secretary, if you could devise a policy to solve this Repeat Victimisation you could actually significantly reduce the overall level of crime."

I hope and trust you'll believe me

There's no way of making that scan,

But the sad part of this story

Is how it troubled that truly great man

Who applied the best of his wisdom

And exposed the flaw in the plan:

"This policy can't be adopted -

It's all the syllables, you see,

They'll ruin the flow of the soundbite,

So it won't be adopted by me"

And as a poet, I must applaud him:

No scansion and that should be that

But a Home Secretary shouldn't be guided by metre:

You should be reducing the crime rate, you TW*T!

(Copyright Rawdon Crozier - Reproduced with Permission)





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