In a stark message, deputy chief constable of Northumbria Police, Sue Sim, told MPs the controversial impact of the laws is in danger of making officers too "risk averse".Well, as deputy chief constable, you’re in charge of interpreting how they act within those guidelines. If things are going wrong, either you’re not up to your job, or they aren’t. Which is it?
Last year it was claimed two community support officers stood by, citing health and safety, as a 10-year-old boy drowned in a pond.And in both of those cases, the actions they refused to perform were those that they were paid for, or (in the case of the drowning boy) that normal human beings did without hesitation or a thumb through the ‘is this allowed?’ book of rules.
In 2004, armed police cited health and safety for refusing to enter a house where a woman had been shot and wounded even though it was empty and neighbours had already entered.
This isn’t a ‘tricky’ or ‘borderline’ issue at all.
The same act was used last year to prosecute the Metropolitan Police over the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes.And it was the wrong Act to use. The police involved in that bungled operation should have stood trial for, at the least, gross negligence and manslaughter.
Ms Sim, who speaks for the Association of Chief Police Officers on public order events, also told the Commons Joint Committee on Human Rights of concerns over the Human Rights Act and its impact on policing.Ha ha ha ha…oh! She was, apparently, serious.
"It (the Act) is an issue that's currently an ongoing question around risk aversion," she said.
"I don't think the human rights aspect is any different from the health and safety aspect if I'm being perfectly blunt.
"I think they're all things that I think, if we're not careful, can lead to officers being risk averse.
"But that's why we have the commanders in place to make sure they are carrying out their duties required of them."
Do you mean the commanders who are currently fighting like weasels over huge payoffs to keep their mouths shut, Susie? Or the one who’s escaped any punishment at all for employing his pals in flagrant disregard for commercial contracting rules?
With ‘leaders’ like these, is it any wonder the police ‘service’ is in such a mess?
Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve said: "Under Labour, police officers are weighed down by form-filling, box-ticking and bureaucracy.Sounds good. But will you..?
"This Government's regulatory zeal has driven a health and safety culture, which risks paralysing officers tasked with protecting the public.
"We will reverse the health and safety culture that is making our police risk-averse and exposing the public to unnecessary risk."
Earlier this month, bosses at the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) warned Britain's most prolific criminal masterminds cannot be named publicly by police because it could infringe their human rights.That’s the thing about advice. You don’t have to take it…
They were "deeply frustrated'' after lawyers advised them not to name 39 convicted criminals because it would breach the convicts' right to a family and private life and could amount to an "unfair'' punishment.
But, while there are no significant punishments for dereliction of duty, of course they will be ‘risk averse’! Start sacking a few for encouraging or tolerating this attitude among their officers, and it’ll concentrate the minds of the remainder quite satisfactorily.