Have any of you ever heard of targets being praised by those people that have to meet them? I haven't, and today it's the police's turn to complain about them. Alan Gordon, vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales describes how targets are distorting the recording of crime: "One officer told us that he was actually investigating a paedophile ring which he considered to be still active, but at that time the force were under considerable pressure to reduce crime in a particular area such as burglary. "If he'd arrested the paedophiles it would still have only been one tick in the box, and therefore no more importance was attached to that than actually investigating burglaries. "I think that was a very harsh indication of how policing activity has been skewed and directed in the wrong way by the target regime which has been imposed on us."
Detective Will Whale, from Southampton CID, said: "The administration in the police is huge. Life from Mars is great, the Sweeney's great, the Bill is great - you never see them filling out a form. "I think the police service has to look at itself sometimes and should say at some stage - enough. "Stop looking at the police officers' performance levels in such a way that it doesn't allow them to do their job."
With stories of massive shortages in experienced detectives (2,000), and only one detective being on duty at night in a city the size of Sheffield, you've got to wonder how any crime gets solved at all. Of course Police Minister Tony McNulty is having none of it, he said of the federation: "I respect their views. I just think they over-egg and exaggerate to make a point, sometimes to the detriment of the members and that's not in their own interests."
Labour - Tough on crime - tough on manipulating the figures of crime.