I tend to see complaints systems as about creating and maintaining quality. I would. I’m an organisation theorist; but don’t expect me to drone on about TQM, ISO 9001, Baldridge Awards and such. This stuff is part of the problem, though I suspect policing and the public sector generally is so bad managerially that any implementation would be counterproductive. They are across all sectors. The stuff is a disease. IiP stoops low, but this is an area where, thinking you have hit rock bottom, you find you are just falling off a series of cliffs.
Cops hate the complaints system. One can discover this across a myriad of police blogs, potentially part of putting things right. They hated it when I was a cop 30 years ago, though my memory has it that bullying managers and a sadistic internal culture preyed more on our minds than members of the public. I lied once to protect a colleague from a perverse public complaint. He had ‘stuck the nut’ on someone and was a bit prone to fight in this manner, but it was justified in the near riot circumstances. We were heavily outnumbered amongst a scrote drinking party that that exploded into the street. His action was brave and clinical. I lied to tell the truth, because I thought no one would understand. He was a mate, but also a rival for a lady’s attentions at the time. Shame, in retrospect, he didn’t win that one! He retired as an inspector a few years back and was well-respected by most who served with him. I was put under no external pressure to do what I did. Other colleagues took a ‘blind eye perspective’, though I know they saw what I did. If I had told the ‘truth’ there is little doubt he would have been sacked.
When I say ‘no external pressure’, this isn’t quite true. The culture and loyalty exert their own pressures. Looking back, I did the right thing, even though I detest ‘dirty hands’ excuses for action in the moral maze. I can only wish for a simpler, cleaner world. If I could have trusted the bosses and magistrates and wider public opinion, I would have told the truth. The guy should have been commended, not racked with months of stress. My job was on the line too. Generally, we lied fairly routinely to keep supervision off each others’ backs. In teaching management, we often ask classes to name great leaders. Lists including Churchill, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Christ, Alexander and others always emerge (internationally, this just changes with culture). My own has charge office and patrol sergeants in it, not these hopeless, paranoid types. Much above this rank (which equates to maybe Chief Inspector now) one can only say ‘everything solid melts into air’. You were very lucky to get a decent inspector. Moral capacity seem in inverse proportion to rank, something that remains a general rule across the population.
Just before writing this, Inspector Gadget rolled out a classic police story of two complaints. One complaining about a speeding police car, the other about the poor response time to an incident. Very droll, and part of the information we need if we are to get anywhere. Very much only part of the problem though. The IPCC (Incompetent Poodles of Constabulary Corruption) uses the same story in wider remit to justify its quite pathetic failings. We’d be better off with Gadget running this organisation. Elsewhere across the blogs, down the pub and talking with people generally, reading academic reports and books, the dire reality is more shocking than I can say. I’m just looking at transcripts of some of the public statements of the IPCC Chair. These are beneath contempt, but he seems to be getting away with it. I’ll return to this in deeper analysis. IPCC investigators say he was dragged into the Home Office and warned off doing investigations that would show the police in a bad light. Our own personal experience is that this is the case. In another blog (complaining about the police), the woman concerned is talking of three and a half years of suffering with nowhere to turn. We had more than seven, and our case (fortunately with us not in it as the scum have moved), continues down the road. I suffered intense character assassination. A decent mate and his family now have similar problems in an adjoining police division. A taxi driver says she has just had to move. Round the corner there has been a spate of racially motivated attacks, with the creeps involved assaulting and bullying our lad not to play with the ‘dirty Paki bastards’. A decent response officer turns up and tells us it might be better not to pursue the assault complaint, independently witnessed, because the scrote-family will not be moved and will cause further trouble. We were already getting this anyway, and could really only tell her not to patronise us any further. She knew all the names, including those of our former neighbours. I could go on, but the drift is there to see. A decent cop by the way. She doesn’t want to be working under these conditions.
In our case, cops have not only bungled on a regular basis, but lied and even tried to set me up with a false prosecution of ‘conspiracy to pervert the course of justice’ to protect their own sorry arses. Fortunately, they were as crap as this as they were with our former scum next door. About 200 visits, mostly not at our behest, seem to have produced almost squat all convictions there. There was a drug-bust and a two year sentence, but they even cocked that up. This said, and there is much more, I don’t think complaining against the police is the answer, and not just because the system is chronic. Wider agencies and lying politicians are involved. It’s hard to believe we would have had so trauma if Gadget had been our local inspector, rather than the lying piecan we had. Our chief constable through much of this will now be known forever as ‘Shagger’ and we now have another.
The above may seem anecdotal. I can say as a university researcher, that a sound, general, even statistical case can be made. There are even statistical issues in what I have said. Levels of understanding of this across the agencies and political expense fiddlers are dismal. Sadly, the jumped-up votaries are in control of the resources and access to do the proper work. They will try to dismiss all we have to say as some kind of juvenile ‘piss-taking’. This is a standard managerial and political practice. In fact, the votaries just operate from a paranoid-schizoid position and can take no real criticism. They try to hide the real information we need to get a proper understanding of what is going on and put it right, knowing the real need is to get rid of them. They act a bit like the royalty and advisors of the Emperor’s New Clothes; they either know jack-all or couldn’t say boo to a goose. And we should remember they would slaughter any child pronouncing on nakedness. Only the fairy-story has a sweet ending.