In light of this past weeks events in Woolwich I find myself wondering what the public actually want from the police.
I’m questioning my faith. Not the religious kind, the kind that comes with my vocation. Or job as I’m calling it at the moment.
The reason for this is due, in the most part from seeing and hearing some great work from the officers who took down those two terrorists – who had just brutally murdered a young squaddie named Lee Rigby.
So why am I upset ?
It took less than two days for the first anti police story to emerge. It’s like a competition with these journalists, I really wonder if the last three years of the government led ‘run down the police with negative stories’ has undermined us so much that we have lost the ability to police with consent.
Others have blogged about this more eloquently than me, but Keith Vaz has been slated for asking why the first police officers at the scene didn’t immediately intervene, leaving a few women in the area with the murderers. Vaz has, on the whole, been a moderate supporter of the police, and in fact he was one of a rare few who bothered to turn up to debate the issue of our pension theft. I hesitate to have a go at him over his comments in the press.
The gradual breaking down of the police from a force into a service, while at the same time society has changed from (mostly) respecting each other and the law, to one where even those with a reasonable position in society regularly refuse to accept authority, has led to widespread abuse towards regular officers and the undermining of the rule of law.
Now there’s always someone who thinks they can do better. I am sick and tired of being blamed for Hillsborough, or Orgreave. I was a teenager then, so blame it on those who actually dealt with it.
So how did I come to be a police officer? Apart from wanting a better life for my family, I thought I could walk the walk – not talk the talk. I have mostly been proved right. I make mistakes but none have been fatal and to err is human.
I have even had students, the same age as my own kids, tell me they pay my wages while making unreasonable demands. They are unreasonable because it’s the law you idiots. And while I’m on, if you are a student you don’t pay anyone’s wages.
So we have seen society become an aggressive, vocal, selfish reflection of itself without consequence. At the risk of being profound, the police are the conscience of that society.
Dozens of armchair experts pick over everything we do and think they could do better.
So, we now live in a world where it could sometimes be rightly assumed that the police have become risk averse. For fear of being sued, castigated, disciplined, named in the press, sacked and above all jailed, we are now frightened to jump in and deal with some things. But when you arrive at an incident such as woolwich, it is simply common sense to stay alive- we can’t help anyone dead. I also feel sure that had these crazed madmen started on the public then the officers would have stepped in, risk or not.
As it was the incident was subjective- they had time to watch, listen, and call for what assistance was required.
I saw the CCTV – it took around 1-2 seconds for that guy to close down the ARV that moved in. An unarmed officer would be dead.
So – I think it’s time for a choice.
Do you want a hard hitting old fashioned police force that get stuck in, and to hell with the consequences ?
Or we continue down the road with the ‘touchy feely’ approach that in my view some people (and most criminals) take the piss out of..
So what do you want from me?