Police and Thieves in Downing Street!
Posted on April 23, 2022
Here’s a question. What are the police for, and who do they represent in a modern democracy?
This is how I see it. The police are funded by the British public. If you pay tax and council tax, you are, in effect, a customer of the police. You have paid out money for the police force to protect you and those around you. They are there to represent you if someone has committed a crime against you.
As part of the deal, you also have to respect the laws put forward by those who have been elected to govern. When new laws are brought forward, the public has voted to ensure they are debated before they are put into place. Although you then have to respect those laws, in a liberal democracy, it should be your right to demonstrate against them without fear of reprisal.
Those who have been elected to government, just like our police force, are paid for by our taxes. Once again, we are the customer, and the members of that government are there to serve us. They are not there to represent their own interests or to make and protect laws that suit themselves and party donors. So, when they create emergency laws (Covid) they should, as our representatives, stick to them rigidly. If they are uneasy about adhering to them, they shouldn’t set them. Don’t preach what you can’t practice.
Let Down by Those we Pay
This is where the police have let their customers (the public) down. They appear to have shown where their loyalties lie. I am not talking about Bobbies on the beat who might well try to be fair. I am talking about those at the very top. Senior officers who have been lobbied by the government to delay and hinder a legal process that applies to everyone else. By allowing them to do that, they have eroded public confidence in the police. The police should not be bullied by any government of any colour.
Let’s track back a little. To begin with, when Cressida Dick was still the Met chief, the police refused to investigate the Downing Street parties. This decision was only reversed after a legal challenge. Then came the decision to send out questionnaires to those involved, rather than administering the interview process a proletarian would face. Speaking to The Guardian newspaper, Covid Law specialist, Adam Wagner, QC, said, “Everything they have done (the police) makes it look like special treatment”.
What does he mean by this? Well, police guidance suggests that officers should avoid anything that may “affect or influence the outcome of an election”. Critically (with regards to the May 5th elections) it also states that “delaying an announcement could itself influence the political outcome”. The police could have gone either way. They chose to go the way that suited the government. They have represented the government, not the public that funds their wages.
A Bit of Unlikely Balance
To add balance, let’s look at it from another angle. Although unlikely, it could be that the police were not prepared for a situation where the government was the lawbreaker. So, when Johnson and those around him insisted no laws had been broken, the police chose to believe them. The cost of investigating laws that they had been assured were not broken, wasn’t worth the effort. They could easily argue it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money.
In summary, the police either knew the government were lawbreakers and tried to protect them, or the government lied to them. I will let the readers of this post decide for themselves what happened. Either option is not a good look. Not for the police, or the government that the taxpayer funds. There are honest policemen and women out there, the sheer number of them means there has to be. If I was one of them, I would be furious with the prime minister for playing a major role in eroding public confidence. It looks like he has lied to the police, the house of commons, and the public.
Representing the Public First
Anyone who believes that the police should represent the government first and the people second, then claims to want to live in a democracy, are part of the problem. If a government can influence the police to protect from the very laws it has set, we are not a democracy. A country that allows a police force to protect its government from lawbreaking is enabling a decline into being an authoritarian police state.
The taxpayer shouldn’t be funding the police to be metaphorical or even physical boot boys for a government that is funded by the taxpayer. Anyone who thinks the police should protect the government from prosecution might want to do some research on authoritarianism. The UK government didn’t just have a slice of cake and a glass of pop. They broke the law and are alleged to have misled parliament. The police stand accused by many of having the government’s back.
On the assumption we want to remain a democracy, that’s serious stuff.