What Do We Want From Our Police?

The Home Office is conducting a review – details on thinblueline.  I’m struck, that thinking in detail about policing, much that I want done should not be in the remit of police officers in the first place.

The first thing I want is for kids not to grow up under the influence of ‘evil poor crime’.  Much of this is to do with schools, the broad remit of social work and an economy that broadly fails those we once may have termed ‘factory fodder’.  The massive missing gap in our society on this means police often turn up to put sticking plaster on these very problems.

The next thing that springs to mind is the lack of a financial model that shows us where the money goes.  In outline,my belief is we waste most of what we spend on bureaucrats.  I don’t mean this in the usual efficiency, ‘get everyone on the front line’ manner.  We need a radical assessment of the way we organise our society.  I’ve seen utterly stupid things going on and am convinced incompetence is the major problem.  Huge fees are extracted dealing with people who commit low-level crime, much committed by people with severe problems that are not addressed, either for them or the people they are foisted on.  Nothing is done to prevent more and more of these people becoming ‘evil poor’ and much of it is to do with mental illness and an inability to provide employment.  In principle, I see little difference between the ‘evil poor’ and those making good livings on their backs.

We need police to be able to come and stop the criminal element.  We know that these people need to be removed from the communities they blight to do this.  We know civil rights issues are involved.  I want cops to be able to seize noise-making equipment and ensure no one has to suffer the bullying that happens on complaint.  In civil rights terms this means bringing the rights of all communities up to a level similar to the environs of well-off people and recognising standards of peace and quiet, non-violence and decency that clearly cause the need to rethink ‘freedom’ issues.  There can be no freedom for an idiot druggie to blare music, aggressive foul language and domestic violence in all directions around him or her.  Yet we might want a Caribbean Steel Band and a carnival atmosphere from time to time.  We don’t want this kind of decision and law made by ‘Liberty lawyers’ and clowns who know they will never suffer the problems.  The issues run very deep, but we don’t have public debate on them.

I see kids around who are being developed into the next generation of ‘evil poor’.  I see the effects of violent, mad, totally recidivist clowns and know nothing much can be done – just as politicians lie it is being, a matter supported by senior cops and Town Hall worthies.  Something could and should be done, but current ideas and practice cannot.

We pay into various pots of money such as Legal Aid that the vast majority of us can never draw on.  Huge fees are extracted to do what?  I suspect the history of our legal system as secretive is to blame here.  Utter scrote get lawyers and can even threaten decent people because they get this ‘power’ when the rest of us would face financial ruin and cannot get our case to court.  This is a policing problem, if not one directly about police action.  Decent cops will warn you not to take action on bulling evil poor families because they will still be there making more problems for you even if they can be got to court.

I’d go for decriminalising drugs for a lot of good reasons – yet often it is only because cops can lock of people for this that means they can do anything about the real problems of noise, violence, thieving and the rest associated with a lot of druggies.

There are pretty decent, ordinary people these days who make a lot of noise and cause problems.  There are far more frightened to get involved.

On human rights, we want some poor sod like Nico Bento to get a fair trial and a fair investigation – he got neither and it was only the review processes that saved him.  So the human-civil rights stuff is important.  I could suffer a lot more on this if ordinary decent people in trouble by ‘accident’ or because of the dumping of scrote around them could expect proper action.  They can’t.

We need to delayer much of our society and stop the abuse of obscene ‘salaries’ and ‘fees’ across the board.  We need to recognise motivational issues in this – and not the obvious ones of needing to pay good people to keep them.  Many of us are demotivated by ‘money’ and relating to people through it.  I’ve seen very little evidence as an academic that people are paid fairly, and there is a lot that we do appalling things to make bonuses.

Round here, the average cop take-home is three times the average.  I’d get that down.  Yet one lawyer can make vast amounts more for doing nothing other than making ‘my’ problems worse.  A soccer player – good god!  And for a game I used to pay to play!

Lots of hard work needs to be done.  These are not simple issues.  A good cop (like our local Bobby) is worth far more to me than any sports ‘personality’, auto-cue reader (why isn’t this a reserved occupation for the disabled?) and so on.

Every time I find myself agreeing with PC Coppefield or Inspector Gadget or the deeper analysis of thinblueline, I also know the issues are deeper and we have to do something about the unfairness.  One can sympathise with IT forms wanting skilled people from abroad (as a university teacher I despair at trying to teach innumerate people complex numeracy, people who can’t do much critical reasoning to think fairly) – but I know at the same time immigration hits our own disadvantaged hard and wonder why we have destabilised a lot of routine jobs so that every taxi driver face is not white (however much I may like some of these lads).

I know stuff like ‘trickle down’ theory doesn’t work,that ripping our public sector apart won’t lead to a private sector revival here.  I know I don’t want cops breaking my door down to find medicinal cannabis (I don’t use it) or because I write something in support of the Taliban (I don’t).  Most cops would be equally appalled at the thought.  I do want them smashing more front doors in round here (with someone round the back lads!).  This is not an arena for the chronic politically correct or what we so regularly mistake as ‘rational argument’. These have failed.

We won’t change economics overnight.  So we should focus on a few of the very real problems.  I’d like to see a new police force set up to work with a new summary court (very open, very quick) with checks on the recidivists to ensure they get the message and stop.  I’d look to disestablish much of the rest as this began to work, reforming what we do need around real problems.

We might be better off with a ‘no lawyer no fee’ system.  If no one gets a lawyer we are on an ‘equal’ footing – though this seems immediately unfair on the less bright and inarticulate.  But think a moment – no lawyers means no one can use one, and thus eliminates rich privilege – we could have representation through a lot.  There is a great deal not being expressing in forming debate about policing that may actually be the problem.


7 thoughts on “What Do We Want From Our Police?

  1. Interesting.
    I think that before anything is done we have got to establish just what sort of society we want, is it a liberal, anything goes or the other extreme where there is no personal freedom. I doubt that few people would when given the choice opt for either and most would gravitate to a centre line, in other words pretty much what we have now.
    Change can happen but it can take a long time to alter attitudes for example drink drive, that took a long time to become socially unacceptable and slowly regardless of what some people may say we are getting there with racism. I think perhaps the attitude to controlled drugs will one day lead to a more liberal approach as prohibition has clearly failed but we will see.
    It is absolutely vital to clearly define the role of the police service, personally I favour that laid down by Peel in the 1830’s. Those expectations were clear and easy to understand, by everyone. What happened is that slowly over the years the police were expected to take on much more of a social role which drained energy and resources away from their core responsibility. Perhaps this is best shown in the change from ‘Force’ to ‘Service’.
    This also had an effect on the quality of the recruit who failed to grasp the primary function or perhaps in some cases simply didn’t want to. This has over a period of time led to a cadre of senior officers who in many cases have little real ‘policing’ experience.
    A clear role for the police in society would be a good start and then let them sort out their corner of society’s problems.
    Social services the education departments should then take full responsibility for their areas.
    An example. Child protection, how many times do children come to harm because no single agency will take the responsibility and the buck gets passed around.
    There is much that I would like to see change but I recognise that those changes are not going to take place in the society that we currently have as there is no collective will to make change. That is why the current ‘noise’ about changing the benefit system will by and large be just that ‘noise’ and nothing more. If we had the courage to make real change then we would have had to also slaughter the holy cow NHS.
    I could go on and on

  2. So much of what you say is politics. Not policing.
    Why dont you check up on Peel and not diversity.
    To so much of the public you are the enemy. Why?

  3. I think we probably agree Gary, certainly on the ease with which we could go on and on. There are lengthy academic papers, but I feel we need much more basic reaction first. My suspicion is that we can’t trust the professionals to do much other than to act in their own interests. We know this at an academic level (public choice theories), but we continue to allow the ‘rotten borough politics’ to evade the experience of key user groups. A classic example is the IPCC -investigations are not truly independent because police decide what will be investigated.

    If we don’t change the ‘politics’ (very much with a small ‘p’), we won’t change the practices. I’m afraid understanding s of this and our ‘denatured’ forms of pubic argument is very poor.

  4. Policing is irredeemably political, but this doesn’t mean we should have the kind of kow-tow senior cops Nulabour produced. What, for instance, would be the point of more and tougher police action on local antisocial druggie-thieves if they are just let out to do it all over again (which is what happens)? The rest of the system needs comparable change too – etc.

    Doublespeak like ‘we have excellent partnership relations’ really means ‘stuff you victim, we can always blame the other partners’. We need to get at this kind of vile behaviour.

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