A tricky force...
I’m not a massive fan of the police. This is probably because I see the worst side of them . I see the obnoxious side. The lawless side. The ones who think that statistically a conviction is preferred as opposed to ensuring that the right person is brought to justice. Of course I see a lot of good officers as well. Like with everything however they are not always the ones that stick in your mind. Its the ones that wrong you who do. I don’t propose to turn this into a critique of the police force based on my personal experiences. It would take too long.
I feel however that I need to comment on the recent criticisms levied at officers in the wake of the recent riots. There appear to be two issues in relation to the conduct of the police.
Some of the rioters indicated that they were looting shops and smashing windows as a result of their perception of police brutality. It appeared to stem from a protest being held at Tottenham police station by the family of a man shot dead by police. The wider community then took this up a notch and the result was the first night of rioting. (I do not in anyway suggest that this was due to the relatively quiet protest carried out by the grieving family).
I think that this was however used as an excuse by those who wanted to cause trouble and felt that in some way they would be exonerated if they claimed “its all about police brutality innit”.
There was then an tricky stop and search incident and again the rioters flared up sighting this as there basis.
This formed the basis of the first criticism laid at the door of the police.
This was not helped by the BBC. They seemed to be intent on stirring up the feelings of the rioters. Why broadcast that the IPCC found that the man had not shot at police before being shot dead? Why not focus on the fact that he is a known drug dealer. He was armed. That means that he was carrying an illegal loaded gun. Innocent men in my experience, do not feel the need to tote illegal firearms. They don’t need protection. They don’t need it as a persuader.
In the picture broadcast into millions of homes, he is gesturing the well known gun symbol with his hand. Despite not being employed he is clearly ‘blinged out’. This is plain to see.
So yes its sad. A man lost his life and that of course should be properly investigated. Just don’t paint him as an angel because he is dead and don’t use his death as an excuse to display ridiculously poor and unnecessary behaviour. Youre doing t because you want to not because you feel you have to.
Secondly the police were criticised more widely about their perceived lack of action in the riots. They didn’t charge in there knocking people out of their way. They didn’t beat them with batons. They didn’t spray everyone around them with CS spray and they didn’t taser people on sight. Some people think that they should have.
They think that the police weren’t tough enough. That they should have quite literally stamped it out.
You see the dilemma. The rioters use police brutality as an excuse for their unruly lawless conduct. The general public want police brutality to put an end to the riots. Its a catch 22 situation.
I’ve even heard politicians put there two pennies worth into the mix. They agree the police weren’t tough enough. They blame the police for the escalation of violence and disorder. Its their fault it got so our of hand.
They neglect to tell you of course that they make the law. They are the decision making body who has decided that the police must act in a certain way.
For instance in order to use a water cannon, this would need to be authorised by parliament. The riots occurred during parliaments summer break. The first night of rioting was Saturday. Parliament convened an ‘emergency; sitting on....Thursday. why the wait? Because the politicians, the law makers, were on holiday. They didn’t want to come back. They were quite prepared to leave the country they run in a state of disarray.
So why blame the police? Because they think that it will win them voters. That they can score political points by jumping on the bandwagon of public confusion.
What they should do of course is explain to the public that it is they who make the law. It is up to them to authorise further action on behalf of the police. That they are the ones who caused the problem by allowing society to fall so far into the gutter....
Of course they are just trying to take some of the heat away from themselves. They know that they are not coming across well in all of this. If they can blame someone else then they will. They don’t care that it makes a mockery of the bravery displayed by the police who took to the streets to defend the public from a potential civil war. They did a great job. They should be praised not put down. They were injured. But still they went out.
Had they acted with brutal force would they not have proved to the rioters that they were right? That there cause had some merit? Would they not have demonstrated in someway that there was truth in the notion of police brutality....