Sunday, 11 July 2010

Anti-Police? No. But Not As Pro-Police As I Should Be...

It seems that lately, my posts have taken a very anti-police slant. Well, it seems that way to some commenters, anyway. I'm sure, to those observers, it appears as though I’m another anti-police blogger, simply carping and criticising and always looking for the bad, and I can see why that would be galling.

So, rather than answer that wherever it crops up, I thought a post here might serve to explain why.

I'm sure it does seem, at the moment, as if all my current posts about cops show them in a bad light.

But, in common with a lot of bloggers, I mostly report what's in the news or what's being reported by other bloggers. If that's cops behaving badly, well, do the math, as the Yanks say...

Do the police get a rough ride from the media? Yes, undoubtedly they do. But they don’t help themselves by treating everyone as the enemy unless they are 100% supportive all the time.

And do they have to deal far too often with feral chavscum? Yes, undoubtedly they do. But they can’t then assume everyone they meet is feral chavscum, or complain about it too much when it pays the wages; a plumber would be stupid to complain of the smell of blocked drains if that’s how he earns his living...

Am I anti-police? No, far from it. I’ve defended the police on many occasions, where I’ve felt they had some unjustifiable bad press. And I link to, and comment at, many good police blogs.

But I SHOULD be (with my political leanings) one of the most enthusiastic defenders of the police. That I'm not, isn't entirely and solely all the fault of the politicians/top brass/target culture/media.

Sadly, it seems lately as if far too many police officers are rude and bullying, trigger-happy, or corrupt.

It seems as if, despite being told that what they are doing is wrong and they should stop, they can’t seem to do so, taking that as an excuse to ramp up the harassment of the law-abiding.

And when that is then pointed out to them as a failing, far too many fall back on the claim that the person being harassed ‘had it coming’, was ‘being annoying’, ‘wouldn’t listen to instructions’, oblivious to the fact that no, that’s not your job or your decision to make. You get to uphold the law as it stands, not make it up to suit yourselves, or bend it to get that target box ticked.

Rather than say 'Oh, that's wrong, but...' how about just saying 'That's wrong, and it shouldn't happen, full stop'?

In the wake of the Bird spree and the Moat shooting, many commenters at Gadgets and others blogs are calling for the routine arming of the police or – as a remedy to what they see as the media frenzy – a reporting blackout in such operations until they are resolved. Both those moves would be a disaster and would further blacken the name of the police force in the eyes of the general public. With the advent, in particular, of the internet, the latter is simply utterly unenforceable.

The ‘wolves and sheepdogs’ analogy is often quoted, and was the chosen name for a particularly good (sadly, now defunct) police blog. And yes, it’s a good one. But those who hold it up as an example need to remember what happens – and what SHOULD happen – to those sheepdogs that become unable to distinguish between a wolf and another sheepdog, or a sheep.

Or who simply start to think and behave far too much like the wolves, regarding the sheep as justifiable prey.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Look at the faces

pic

And the weapons.

This is the fucking SD not Peels constabulary.

Indyanhat said...

Could not agree more wih this posting AP, I am not anti police , there is a need for law and its proper implementation, voices must be raised in outrage when the arbiters of that law exceed their remit. To then be labelled anti-police is not the right attitude and only polarises society even more than it is already.
If I am doing something wrong I expect to be caught for it and punished, why does this not apply to them?

microdave said...

"Look at the faces" Then look at this site linked in RantinRabs comments:

http://freedomandwhisky.blogspot.com/2010/07/fauxtography.html

I agree with Julia's post, but it does seem, with this picture, as if someone is really stirring the s***.

Obsidian said...

The police frequently make a rod for their own back, and earn a certain amount of animosity.

Example - I was asked quite nicely to remove my top once, I matched the description of someone they were looking for and wanted to check I had no tattoos thus confirming I wasn't the guy they wanted. No problems. Top came off, I made a bit of a joke about my flab, we all had a chuckle and they went to off to find the real culprit.

Compare and contrast to that Constable Short Arse a few years earlier, who was an utter tosser with me. Got the attitude right back, and I spent no small amount of effort being as unhelpful and as belittling as possible.

Being a copper can be a hard and difficult job, being an utter prick with it is probably going to make it that bit harder.

Joe Public said...

If your neighbour's kid knocks his cricket ball into your garden, it might be wise to return it immediately.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/07/10/mum-locked-up-for-not-giving-ball-back-to-kids-115875-22402161/

Or, if you've been subject to a burglary the swiftest way to get 3 x cop-cars round is to pretend you've kidnapped a ball!

Anonymous said...

I have little doubt our cops are out of order. There's a free book by Harriet Sergeant at CIVITAS that gives the gist. AM is right that treating all critics as the enemy is a major part of the problem. My beef is incompetence, though I live in Greater Manchester and our force is probably the country's worst.

I want to get round to writing up my thesis that 80% or more of alleged police work is merely a ritual that attracts the higher level welfare benefits they confuse with earned pay. Many are parasitic on the criminal underclass and it is interesting to see where the money goes.

My interests in this are of the 'we won't put up NI, it's a tax on jobs', followed by stopping 700 plus school building projects that will slash jobs far quicker. That is economic modelling. I'd be first to assist a cop in trouble in the street and have done so.

Cops need saving from themselves and their own groupthink.

English Viking said...

There must be some good coppers, but I have yet to meet one.

I have actively encouraged my children to regard the Police as a criminal organisation that will hurt them if it gets the opportunity and to avoid them at all times.

English Viking said...

There must be some good coppers, but I have yet to meet one.

I have actively encouraged my children to regard the Police as a criminal organisation that will hurt them if it gets the opportunity and to avoid them at all times.

JuliaM said...

"...not Peels constabulary."

No. It certainly isn't.

Then again, we don't have Peel's society, either...

"...there is a need for law and its proper implementation, voices must be raised in outrage when the arbiters of that law exceed their remit. To then be labelled anti-police is not the right attitude and only polarises society even more than it is already."

It is a grave concern that so many of my friends and colleagues and - yes, even relatives - are now a little bit suspicious, wary or contemptuous of the police.

And they shouldn't be.

"...it does seem, with this picture, as if someone is really stirring the s***."

That shot is a gift to the photographer, it has to be said. 'Warface Man' has probably become the most-used avatar ever on the web...

"Being a copper can be a hard and difficult job, being an utter prick with it is probably going to make it that bit harder."

You can say that again. And about any job.

I used to use Tubes years ago, and I never once - not once - had a polite request for my ticket by a ticket inspector.

Yet when I moved jobs and got an overground, the reverse came true. Polite, smartly uniformed (and some in plainclothes!) men and women said 'please' and 'thank you'.

Guess who got a flash of the ticket ONLY after a lot of sarcasm or, if I was feeling particularly arsey, a formal written complaint?

Guess who gets a smile and a 'cheers!'? And who I'll happily assist should they need it?

JuliaM said...

"Or, if you've been subject to a burglary the swiftest way to get 3 x cop-cars round is to pretend you've kidnapped a ball!"

*sigh*

"I want to get round to writing up my thesis that 80% or more of alleged police work is merely a ritual that attracts the higher level welfare benefits they confuse with earned pay. Many are parasitic on the criminal underclass..."

Certainly, there seems to be a LOT of police work that seems as if it could be far better done by someone else, or indeed, not done at all.

So much of it seems to be more social worker tasks...

"There must be some good coppers, but I have yet to meet one."

I've met a few. And the police blogs I list at the side are the best of the bunch (that are still going).

They are only human, at the end of the day.
""

Chuckles said...

I find it interesting that they believe there is this group called 'The Police', set apart from the general populace, and deserving of special consideration, attention and privileges.
That they do, says a lot.

I disagree with their premise.

DerekP said...

And the police seem particularly keen to keep us sheep:

"when the police explained to her that even if you're at home alone and you have an intruder, you are not allowed to protect yourself, she was bemused."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jan/10/myleene-klass-knife-intruders

Over the years legislation has been introduced, with the support of police and politicians, that reduces the rights of people to defend themselves. Unsuprisingly violent crime has risen, because the success of one violent attack proves to the criminal the method works and so the method is re-used. The police can rarely be expected to be in position to deter violent crime (except for T.Bliar etc) so they can only follow up after an attack.

Yet they want so much that we should not defend ourselves that they will warn or prosecute those people who do. Is this likely to gain them the support of the majority, or are they more likely to be mocked by the criminals?

Trevor said...

I share your concerns, Julia. It should concern the reality-based wing of the constabulary that they're haemorrhaging support among those sectors of the public that should be their strongest allies; that they're so defensive is worrying. They should acknowledge that there's a serious problem which isn't simply a PR one.

The demographics of the police are changing fast. The bulk of the sensible coppers are probably nearer the end rather than the start of their careers. Anyone who comes into contact with them will know that many younger officers are simply not up to the job physically or temperamentally; where they're not just plain incompetent, many also seem to be ideologically-driven and politicised, instinctively sympathetic to (certain types of ) criminals, pro-black/muzzie/gay/tranny/(insert fashionable gobby minority). How they get through selection and training is bewildering.

I think the outlook is bleak.

Jiks said...

Agree with the sentiments of your OP Julia, bashing bad behaviour by the Police is NOT anti Police and it needs to be done, even if it upsets a few people.

It's doing them no favours to pretend everythings fine or the fault of others ... the individual copper is responsible for his or her actions no matter the target/ political correctness culture stuff going on in the background.

Like I've said here before I believe in law and order too but equally I don't believe one group is above the law just because they wear a uniform. I'd love to see the police protecting and serving the law abiding majority rather than treating the criminals as clients and the rest of us as an inconvience at best and a harvestable resource at worst.

I feel very sorry for the people who joined to police to help keep us safe but have no respect whatsoever for the PC Buttons of this world. How could anyone?

DerekP said...

Over the years:
- people prevented and prohibited from defending themselves;
- police get more comms, tools and weapons;
- violent crime goes up.

Amazingly, legislation disarming the law-abiding general public and restricting their use of force for defence has not had much effect on criminals, you know, the ones that don't obey the law.

Through sloppy laws, imposition of politically driven targets, and individual's political correctness we've had more police going for the easy (law-abiding) targets, hence widespread recognition of Nightjack's famous advice to the law-abiding.

And some on IG's blog say the public have moved away from the police?

AntiCitizenOne said...

I'm not anti-police (i.e. people that actually follow peels 9 principles). I'm anti the PC-force we've got that pretends to be police.

I do reckon Labour got the Police to retire early so they could hire a bunch of PC-force replacements.

AntiCitizenOne said...

Look at those guys holding weapons.

2 out of the 3 are not looking where they're pointing the weapon, even though they've got their finger on the trigger. the one at the top hasn't got the gun shouldered properly and the one at the bottom seems to have lost it.

Not good enough.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, a great deal of police time, which should be utilised in nicking criminals and getting them banged up is spent filing and trying to live up to Governments targets, justifying their existence by employing statistics, playing social workers and focusing their emphasis on what is described as 'Community Policing,' which is basically wandering about, talking to people and empathising with them. All of this is a drain on front line manpower and the police are likewise plagued by 'squaditis', where a new particular problem, like anti-social behaviour becomes the latest Government stick with which to beat the police, so emphasis is shifted there, with officers formed into teams to target the particular problem, to the detriment of policing as a whole. There are whole departments, manned by warranted and experienced police officers, which are dedicated to equal opportunities, deal specifically with racially aggravated crime and other things that no police force can operate without, following the last Labour Government. There are simply not enough police officers left on the front line giving 24 hour 365 days a year cover and too many squirrelled away in specialist roles. The police force is now hamstrung by this type of focus, without the other big drain on resources - officers being drafted off to attend diversity workshops and the like, in an attempt to show that the force is not biased/racist/homophobic etc. The trouble with this is, the police are recruited from society at large, so there will always be elements, within any organisation, that do espouse these incorrect and ignorant views, no matter how 'diversified' the rest are. Lastly, many forces will now have to stop recruiting, given the financial restrictions placed upon them by the new Government, so the problem will only get worse. Over the last fifteen years or so the police has had to become some sort of jack of all trades type organisation, which is a big mistake. They should go back to basics, that way, they may win back the respect of the public. I should know, I joined 20 years ago and it has changed out of all comprehension, and not for the better. Part of the problem I think is the rather odd way officers are promoted, not, you might think, by being competent at management - a natural leader and motivator. It is much more about political correctness, selling yourself, getting noticed, doing a 'project' and then clearing off, once you have sufficient 'evidence' in your portfolio and nothing whatsoever to do with making good arrests, sending bad villains to jail etc. Most officers over the rank of Sergeant rarely, if ever arrest anyone and spend the majority of their time selling themselves and doing in potential rivals behind their backs. Not edifying I assure you.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, a great deal of police time, which should be utilised in nicking criminals and getting them banged up is spent filing and trying to live up to Governments targets; justifying their existence by employing statistics, playing social workers and focusing their emphasis on what is described as 'Community Policing,' which is basically wandering about, talking to people and empathising with them. All of this is a drain on front line manpower and the police are likewise plagued by 'squaditis', where a new particular problem, like anti-social behaviour becomes the latest Government stick with which to beat the police, so emphasis is shifted there, with officers formed into teams to target the particular problem, to the detriment of policing as a whole. There are whole departments, manned by warranted and experienced police officers, which are dedicated to equal opportunities, deal specifically with racially aggravated crime and other things that no police force can operate without, following the last Labour Government. There are simply not enough police officers left on the front line giving 24 hour 365 days a year cover and too many squirrelled away in specialist roles. The police force is now hamstrung by this type of focus, without the other big drain on resources - officers being drafted off to attend diversity workshops and the like, in an attempt to show that the force is not biased/racist/homophobic etc. The trouble with this is, the police are recruited from society at large, so there will always be elements, within any organisation, that do espouse these incorrect and ignorant views, no matter how 'diversified' the rest are. Lastly, many forces will now have to stop recruiting, given the financial restrictions placed upon them by the new Government, so the problem will only get worse. Over the last fifteen years or so the police has had to become some sort of jack of all trades type organisation, which is a big mistake. They should go back to basics, that way, they may win back the respect of the public. I hope so, because I have been one for 26 years and I am all too aware that we took a wrong turn, somewhere back in the early 1990's.

blueknight said...

What Anonymous said.
Even pre Nulabor it was a difficult job and even when the Officers on the street and their bosses believed that the right course of action had been taken in any set of circumstances, they were not always the best at explaining the reasons why a particular course of action had been taken.
Nulabor has ruined the Police. Hardly surprising some would say since some of their members were the anti police left wingers of the 1980s.
Anonymous has explained this but I'm not sure if he mentioned that Nulabor have turned the Police into uniformed social engineers. Perhaps the Police need to be aware of diversity etc, but they should not be investigating complaints about Hoteliers not accepting gay guests, or Christians quoting passages from the bible.
What do WE want the Police to do?There needs to be a back to basics rethink.
Julia, I share some of your concerns..

Mrs Rigby said...

I don't think many people are 'anti-Police' as such, just anti the situation as it currently stands. For example, our local Police station is part time and we don't see Police unless they whizz past in a fast car with a blue light, when they've cordoned off part of the motorway to investigate an accident. Nobody turns up when things are stolen because it isn't valuable enough, and nobody's interested when you try to report a mugging.

The 'public image' they choose to show on the television is macho stuff - car chases and so on. Then we read how they refuse to go into water to rescue somebody who's drowning - because of health and safety. There was a time when all Police had to be able to swim, and had to know how to rescue people from water. There was also a time when all Police had to be big enough to be taller than most, so would be unlikely to be intimidated by somebody larger.

And did you notice how many pictures there were of armed Police in the media - these are the same sort of Police who tell photographers it's illegal to take photos in case they can be used by terrorists. But, that's probably why so many weren't wearing their collar numbers, even though the practice of being anonymous was banned last year.

They keep telling us that our streets are safe, then tell us that they need to be armed because criminals are so dangerous.

How much has changed since Peel was in charge? Can these stats tell us anything useful?

(London)1856:

it appears that in all 73,240 persons were taken into custody, of whom 45,941 were males, and 27,209 females; 18,000 of the apprehensions were on account of drunkenness, 8160 for unlawful possession of goods, 7021 for simple larceny, 6763 for common assaults, 2194 for assaults on the police; 4303 women were taken into custody as prostitutes. (qtd. in Jackson 63)

Taken from http://www.victorianweb.org/history/crime/banerjee1.html

(Ugh, that's a terribly disjointed comment. Sorry)

Mrs Rigby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs Rigby said...

Comments system is playing silly games, which is why the second one above was deleted - it was a duplicate.

Pavlov's Dalek said...

Worth copy pasting my comment from Angryteens blog post about police and firearms.

In short, anyone whining about how the police are crappy should wake up to the fact that the police are

a) Paid by taxes
b) Run as a single institution rather than competing in a voucher system

and therefore

c) A coercive monopoly (A business that you are forced to pay into).

Because of this, the police will Never be run efficiently because there's no downward pressure on costs, and there's no incentive to serve YOU - the victim recieving a down payment in the form of some badge-brandishing thug saying he'll "Keep yer safe, innit."

No amount of political dogooding or activism will stop economic law and mis-incentivised police being a group of abusive and borderline useless wankers who's only job is to make money for the state.

Copypasta from another comment by me:


Well, as the police are a state programme, they shouldn't be trusted with fucking water pistols as far as I'm concerned. Their first loyalty is to the state rather than us - the intended recipents of their "Service".

Giving these costumed idiots firearms in a society as irrational as ours will only lead to trouble. The police shouldn't even exist - I'm guessing here that "Police" means "Those who maintain Policy" - Policy that is by no means consentually agreed upon.

I honestly fail to see a distinction between the police as a public institution and a bunch of whip-brandishing, violence-addicted slave drivers. At least the latter don't bother with trying to dupe their stock.




- Anarchist with rabies

JuliaM said...

"I find it interesting that they believe there is this group called 'The Police', set apart from the general populace, and deserving of special consideration, attention and privileges."

Some of that is undoubtedly a factor in other groups - Armed Services, for instance.

"Is this likely to gain them the support of the majority, or are they more likely to be mocked by the criminals?"

I expect they'd say their hands are tied. Well, it's about time someone untied them!

Teresa May's statement on the policing pledge was a good start, but I see from comments that some are already beginning to hear from their bosses that that is likely to be ignored and/or subverted...

"The demographics of the police are changing fast. The bulk of the sensible coppers are probably nearer the end rather than the start of their careers. "

That's a pretty worrying thought..

"I feel very sorry for the people who joined to police to help keep us safe but have no respect whatsoever for the PC Buttons of this world. How could anyone?"

Indeed!

JuliaM said...

"Amazingly, legislation disarming the law-abiding general public and restricting their use of force for defence has not had much effect on criminals, you know, the ones that don't obey the law."

Indeed. Most of the last 20 years of law and order work seems to have been an increasing lack of results followed by a new law to try to 'get' the people evading prosecution under the old one.

ASBOs are a prime example - a way of hauling people before the courts for things that aren't against the law themselves.

Done with the best of intentions, I'm sure.

"I'm not anti-police (i.e. people that actually follow peels 9 principles). I'm anti the PC-force we've got that pretends to be police."

Spot on!

"The police force is now hamstrung by this type of focus, without the other big drain on resources - officers being drafted off to attend diversity workshops and the like, in an attempt to show that the force is not biased/racist/homophobic etc."

They needed to change, and to show that they had changed. Sadly, too many people are now invested in keeping that change going unnecessarily.

"Nulabor has ruined the Police. Hardly surprising some would say since some of their members were the anti police left wingers of the 1980s."

It's not just the politicians.

It's the people heading up the institutions, dug in like ticks and sucking the lifeblood out of their host...

JuliaM said...

"The 'public image' they choose to show on the television is macho stuff - car chases and so on. Then we read how they refuse to go into water to rescue somebody who's drowning - because of health and safety. "

And yet, some do. Some ignore the H&S.

Unfortunately, they aren't then honoured, but denigrated by their superiors for not blindly following the diktats of H&S. It's wrong, all wrong.

"Comments system is playing silly games..."

No worries. That's happened to me a few times this weekend!

"Because of this, the police will Never be run efficiently because there's no downward pressure on costs, and there's no incentive to serve YOU - the victim..."

Back to those Peelian principles, and the modern lack of same..?

David Gillies said...

If a Plastic gives you grief I reckon you should up the ante and do a citizen's arrest on them for impersonating a policeman. You could also nick them for Being a Waste of Skin (which is Against the Peace), Oxygen Theft, and Being a Mong In a Public Space, contrary to the Not Being a Mong In a Public Space Act of 1933(A).

RantinRab said...

I'm with Julia on this. I've been a reader of police blogs for a long time, Gadget is my favourite but recently I've noticed a change in attitude from the police officers who comment on the blogs.

The whole 'gimme a gun' debate surrounding the Moat saga was most concerning. I got shot down in flames, (pardon the pun), when I suggested that the public should also have the right to bear arms if the police are allowed. Is the police not the public?

I have dealt with the police countless times in my working life, they have always been fine. However, the times I have encountered them whilst out and about has always left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Perhaps we are not 'anti police'. It may be that the police are 'anti public'.

And don't get me started on ACPO....

Anonymous said...

RantinRab: the argument that the public should be armed because the police might be doesn't hold logical water, though, so maybe that's why you got shot down in flames.

By extension, you think you should also have handcuffs, a blue light on your car and a cell block where you can lock people up.

By all means, make a logical argument, though.

In my experience, most cops are fine, some are not. No different to any other profession (though they are held to higher standards than most of the rest of us).

Anonymous said...

Its not about being anti or pro police Julia its the attitude of the individual man or woman in a police uniform. We see it in 'elf n safety, local council decision making and public actions in respect of media hype. A complete disaffection with working towards a safer, happier, inclusive community. A desperate attempt by the individual to be promoted at any cost. Blatantly bonkers rules and regulations used to pacify the establishment and insurance companies rather than a common sense approach.

For every sensible, level headed copper there is a plethora of dumb twats unwilling and/or unable to tackle dangerous situations or clearing up the shite left by the dross of our society. This is why the fuckers that call themselves the police today deserve no respect as public servants or can claim that they protect us from crime.

As a Canadian copper once said to me if your going to tackle an armed intruder shoot to kill, the dead can't give a statement. But then knowing our police you'd be hard pressed to find that advice.

Completely unable to stop a taxi driver armed to the teeth. Hunt down and surround a clearly destroyed man to a river bank, again unable to take him without bloodshed. A bunch of useless, self-serving and corrupt individuals I have never met.

British Police - Shame on you!