The big yellow ‘witness appeal’ sign boards have long been an accepted and sensible way of helping the police to solve crime by appealing for public help, trying to jog memories.
So, no wonder they are now being virtually banned in London as the police move away from the traditional crime solving to concentrate on political correctness and the harrassment of the non-criminal element of society.
The signs were placed at the very scenes of crimes, asking if people were in the area at the time in question and appealing for witnesses to come forward. But no more, except in exceptional circumstances.
Apparently, a small survey carried out last year led to the conclusion that the placing of the big yellow signs raised a ‘fear of crime’ amongst members of the public. If two signs appeared in the same spot, this led to the police being shown in a bad light and suggesting that crime was out of control.
Therefore, rather than be viewed in a bad light, the powers-that-be seem to think it would be better if a valuable aid to crime-solving is removed. According to some sources, violent crimes are mostly solved by members of the public volunteering information to the police, often as a result of the boards.
Incidentally, a study carried out in one London borough last year indicated that the presence of the yellow sign boards actually helped to reduce crime in the area. Obviously all the more reason to ban them.
Police officers themselves generally seem to be opposed to this virtual ban but this does not appear to matter in this era of political correctness.