Friday, 26 February 2010

Daylight Robbery

Reports submitted to councillors for meetings are often long and complicated; and it takes a lot of work by staff to prepare them, often under pressure. Sometimes, some unfortunate wordings end up appearing in reports, where the author knows exactly what he or she means, but…

Take Carmarthenshire's budget report, in which Appendix C lists all the proposed savings under the various headings, and explains how they are to be achieved. Under Fair Trading, they are planning to save £15,000 next year. How? Well, "Proceeds of crime used to offset costs" is the method quoted.

It doesn't mean quite what it seems to say at first sight – the council is not proposing (as far as I'm aware) to set up a team to go out and commit robberies to finance its activities. (Although I'm sure that there are many who would argue that the Council Tax is a form of daylight robbery anyway, which would mean that a large proportion of the council's funds are already the 'proceeds of crime'.)

But what happens if Dyfed Powys Police were to succeed in eliminating crime? I don't think I'd like to be the senior officer who had to explain that the particular budget heading was overspent due to 'an inadequate level of crime' in the county.

No comments: