Do we Get the Police Force we Deserve?

Posted on February 13, 2022

As Cressida Dick becomes the latest domino to fall in a city engulfed in corruption, it makes me question the purpose of the police force and what it stands for. Bear in mind that they are funded by the taxpayer, so we, in effect, are the customer.

There are aspects of the police force that do a great job for the public (the customer). They have to be on the scene at horrific murders and accidents and have been paramount in removing dangerous people from society, but isn’t this just part of the job description? Respect where respect is due, but no one is made to join the police force.

Government Boot Boys

What the police should not be in a democracy (no matter what Priti Patel thinks) are government boot boys. They have to be politically impartial and treat the British Government (also funded by the taxpayer) the same way they treat members of the public. I think we are all guilty of forgetting that the elected government and the police, are there to serve us.

For as long as I remember, there has been a general distrust in the police from the public. Impartiality issues with race and gender are ongoing issues. Almost unbelievable cover-ups at Hillsborough and during the Miners Strike in dark periods of the 1980s, still linger in the minds of those of us old enough to remember. Going back a decade further, there was the framing of the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four. Then of, course, there is the Stephen Lawrence debacle.

Sections of the media that supported the police tried to nudge us in the direction of believing the victims in these events were guilty. This rhetoric came so hard and fast, for decent people, it was hard to believe the police could be so awful. Were they as bent as a truncheon used to pummel a football supporter’s head? All these incidents led to decent people who want to make the streets better and safer, deciding not to join up. The result is customer service where bully boy tactics and corruption remain the dominant force. Many of the good guys became marginalised or were forced to leave.

Getting Framed

When I was a child, there was no hatred in my house for the police, more a subtle distrust. My dad, a civil servant, was generally ambivalent but I could feel a sense of unease about ‘The Rozzers’. My elder brother had a few scrapes with a bully boy local plod called PC Bone, but that was about it until I was 19. It was at this point where any trust I might have had, disappeared. The police tried to frame me and a good friend of mine, for criminal damage to a police car.

At that point in life, I was emotionally weak and certainly naïve. Two policemen barged their way into my parents’ house and told me I had committed the crime. They tried to convince me that there was no point in denying it, as they had footprints and witnesses. I thought I was going to prison. Then, my dad turned up and threw them out of the house. I think he told them to ‘bugger off’ in quite a forceful way. For those of you who don’t know my dad, he was no militant; he was a government scientist.

During the same period, I was travelling to a lot of football matches. Football was a violent and sinister sport to watch back then. It was a tough period for the working classes and a punch up at the football was an unjustifiable way of letting off steam. Rarely did I see police as peacemakers, more a bunch of thugs getting paid overtime to crack a few skulls. I am not defending the thugs on the terraces, but I saw, plenty of times, incitement to riot. Most chillingly, on a bloodstained day at Stamford Bridge, when Chelsea hosted Liverpool.

Avoiding the Police

As a result of these experiences and the publicised injustices in our major cities, I have kept well out of the way of the police. I don’t hate them because I am sure many of them are trying to be good. I just don’t want to have anything to do with them if I can help it. In effect, I am paying my taxes for a service I don’t trust. A bit like paying my web hosting server, unsure whether they are going to hack my account.

Whoever takes on the role as head of the Metropolitan Police, has a big job on their hands. It won’t be easy because it is so tied up in corruption and connections that protect the government. Some tenuous, some blatant. We have seen this with the parties at Number 10. No matter how trivial some people think these events were, they broke the laws put in place by the government. The police fined members of the public £10k whilst turning a blind eye to ministers breaking these same laws. What else have they turned a blind eye to?

The public get’s what the public wants, I suppose. What I think it deserves, is an impartial police force where, with no exceptions, the law of the land applies to all of its civilians. Then, and only then, can the police force be an institution we respect and can be proud of? As it stands, if one of my kids wanted to be a policeman, I would be utterly distraught.

This shouldn’t be how I feel, but it will be until things change.

1 Reply to "Do we Get the Police Force we Deserve?"

  • Norman House
    February 13, 2022 (1:28 pm)

    The most worrying trend recently has been snap decisions on what they will and won’t investigate. Their role should be to investigate if there is even a sniff of the law being broken, particularly in cases that are not trivial, or what ‘might’ be considered minor – e.g. doing 35 mph in a 30 mph zone. They then decide if there is any evidence, based on their investigation. If there is, they hand it over to the DPP, who consider the weight of the evidence and decide to prosecute, or not.

    More recently, this has not been the case. The Met Police saying they won’t investigate No 10 parties, then usurping the internal civil service review, when it was about to be concluded, and saying they will investigate.

    Clearly, the initial decision was based on government intervention and the latter was when Johnson realised that Sue Gray couldn’t be so easily ‘bought’ as the Met. Throughout he acted as though he was in control of what would be investigated and would be reported. Maybe the weight of public and back-bencher pressure has overtaken and challenged his confidence of being in control?

    I am guessing that they won’t announce whether fines have been given or not, or to who. One thing Cressida Dick said before she left was, if there was any wrongdoing, it would likely be a £100 fine. Yet for some breaking of Covid laws, people received £1,000-£10,000 fines. That seems like they have already decided what the fine would be, not reflecting on the evidence and the severity of the law infringement.

    I’ve not had any run-ins with the police personally that would make me distrust them. However, when I was about 17 or 18, one of my best friends was beaten up in a police van (in Harlow, Essex) and was told if he complained they would charge him with certain serious offences. His crime? Just had a few too many to drink; he hadn’t caused any harm to people or property. He wasn’t a big lad and never I knew him to be aggressive to anyone. His older brother was with him at the time, but they told him to pi$$ off as they took my friend into the police van, laid into him, and then threw him out about a mile away. Clearly, they were just a bad bunch, but it is little incidents like that. that can turn someone against them for life.

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