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.