Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Policing in the UK.

My post about the EDL had me thinking about the state of policing in this country. Just where has it gone wrong?

I believe it lies in the compartmentalisation of government departments and the ability to say "its not my responsibility" when dealing with difficult subjects. We've all come across it: I've experienced it in local councils many times and even managers in the private sector spend too much time arse-covering rather than developing business. No-one takes risks any more. Our risk-averse culture has neutered any sense of responsibility in business and the public sector.

So, how does that work with regard to policing? Well, it means the police will do everything their political masters request of them. To do otherwise may damage careers, or reduce budgets. So, when whoever is in charge says "arrest a mob of protestors", they get arrested. Whether its within the law or not (and thanks to the 4000 new laws created by Labour, there will always be a law to suit the facilitation of arrest and search) the political will is done and the police will then say its for the CPS to sort out. The problem there is the fact the CPS will always have a political fop in charge, placed by the government, who does everything he's told by his bosses in government. So, although there is no overt politicisation of the police and they will always deny such, by abrogating reponsibility the police allow the system to be politicised.

That, I'm afraid is the wrong way to go about it. IF the police are saying all we do is scoop up whoever we are told to and then we let the CPS deal with them, then the police are acting unlawfully and it has to stop. The police only have a mandate to act if they have the consent of the people. If they continue to act unlawfully or as I believe widen the unlawful activity, then they will only bring themselves into disrepute, losing the will of the people to respect and co-operate with them. No amount of government stautes give the police legitimacy without the consent of the public.

What should have happened at the weekend is that the police should have stepped back a bit and looked at the motivation behind the arrests. As far as I can see, the main reason was political and at that point, the police should have recognised the fact and refused to comply.

The police should have dealt with any trouble at the demonstration itself, but should not have got involved with the denial of democratic process. Thats where they stepped over the line in a very overt manner. Its not the first time of course, but unless all of us start to shout about it, it most certainly won't be the last.

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