Monday, 18 May 2009

'Non-Political'...? Don't Make Me Laugh!

Greater Manchester Police is flying the flag for an international event to raise awareness of prejudice against gay and transgender people.

The force is flying a rainbow flag above its Chester House headquarters.
And what about all the other political single-issue organisations? If they have flags, will you fly them too?

You are pretty much going to have to now, aren't you? You've opened the door:
Mr Fahy said: "This shows Greater Manchester Police's commitment to ensuring people, whatever their individuality, can feel safe in the city.

"Every day a number of hate crimes are reported to us, which I always find alarming.

"Whether people are gay, disabled, black, Muslim or Jewish, we find that there is a level of abuse directed at them.

"This tells us that there is still a great deal of prejudice and hatred out there, but we are determined to show our support for anyone who feels they have been targeted because of their individuality."
Good for you, but you are the police. You do that by arresting people who have broken the law.

Not by gesture politics...

8 comments:

ranter said...

You may do THAT by arresting people but you don't tick the right boxes on the right forms to establish your commitment, real or not, as laid down in the National Competency Framework for selection to particular roles or promotion.

Somewhere in the Met was flying the Gay police flag last month and it was removed on the orders of 'Rusty' - obviouslky not as committed as Fahy, but then check out the entrance to New Sctoland Yard (once you get inside) now there's real commitment.

Macheath said...

JuliaM: one of the rare occasions where I find myself in disagreement with you.

I'm all in favour of the police publicly acknowledging their support - abuse and violence against LGBT people is, sadly, all too common, and it is important for them (and their agressors) to know the police are unbiassed.

In the US and Canada, law enforcement officers (of all orientations) play an active part in Pride marches for the same reason.

Though it's probably rather British of me to hope that they are flying the flag the right way up.

JuliaM said...

"...but you don't tick the right boxes on the right forms to establish your commitment, real or not, as laid down in the National Competency Framework..."

Precisely!

"I'm all in favour of the police publicly acknowledging their support..."

But they should do that by remaining strictly neutral, and not favouring one group (particularly an identity politics group) over any other.

"...it is important for them (and their agressors) to know the police are unbiassed..."

Which they will do by applying the law without fear or favour, and dismissing anyone who can be proven to have displayed prejudice in the workplace.

Not by ordering the gesture of flying a flag.

That tells you nothing about the mindset of the average bobby on the beat. But plenty about the men at the top with an eye on spurious measurements like the National Competency Framework mentioned by Ranter.

Angry Exile said...

I'm with JuliaM. Personally I find the local Pride march bloody irritating as it involves the needless closure of a main road, and slightly irritating as Christine Nixon, the Chief Commissioner of the Victoria Police (recently retired), used to go along on the march in full uniform. I understand that she was sending the message that Victoria Police are all right on these days and would take seriously crimes committed against LGBT people, but frankly if she wasn't her force wasn't going to do that anyway she shouldn't have been in the job.

Wandering slightly away from the police/Pride thing, I think my main problem is that Pride seems outdated these days. I don't care either way about sexual preferences among consenting adults, I don't care if they're in the closet or open, and in any case finding out someone was gay/bi/whatever wouldn't change how I'd deal them before I knew. I don't personally know anyone who doesn't feel the same. I'd be all for Pride marches 20-30 years ago but these days I believe that part of the community have got about as far as they can - the casual discrimination that still remains among bigoted twats and knuckle draggers is probably impossible to shift without seriously compromising freedom of speech (which I value just as highly as the freedom to go to bed with any other consenting adult regardless of the design of their underpants). Besides, expressing dislike of LGBT people is verging on becoming thought crime already so I reckon as a supposedly tolerant society we've pretty much hit the buffers, if not crashed into them.

That being the case the LGBT folks should chalk up the acceptance of the majority as a win and get on with their lives. I have far more respect for LGBT people who can't be bothered with the whole Pride thing these days, often because they're too busy with daily life like the rest of us. Pride says "we're different and should be respected" and shuts down a road to do it. LGBT people just getting on with their lives says "we're really not that different at all, what's the problem?" and causes no disruption whatsoever. The latter get all my support.

Macheath said...

JuliaM, I agree with you that gesture politics can be a sop to police performance targets and directives - David Hare's play Murmuring Judges offers an interesting angle on this - but we live in a culture where, whether or not you agree with it, gestures are significant.

Piles of flowers at crime scenes, party political colours, issue-led ribbons, wristbands and bumper stickers; you may not like it (and personally I don't), but it's out there and a large proportion of the public is primed to respond.

JuliaM said...

"..Piles of flowers at crime scenes, ...issue-led ribbons, wristbands..."

Argh! You just named three of my pet hates! ;)

All part of the 'Dianafication' of the UK: 'never mind reality, observe how I display my feelings'.

Stan said...

"I'm all in favour of the police publicly acknowledging their support"

Sorry, but this is not the purpose of the police.

Peelian Principle #5

"Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law."

Note the word "impartial" - the flying of the rainbow flag and appearance at Gay Pride marches contravenes that impartiality.

Word verification = "fightsty" - is this a call to take on Parliament?

Anonymous said...

Well I'm a Mancunian and frankly I'm amazed that Greater Manchester Police Farce was able to find a damn flagpole at all. GMP could not detect water if I threw the entire useless shower into the River Mersey. Useless gesture politics are used by this clueless shower as proof of their "effectiveness" as a victim of violent crime (and a racist assault but because I am white I was told it must have been my fault) I would rather we had a police force and judiciary devoted to keeping the streets safe. Based on my experiences to date I am less than optimistic.