The IPCC has produced a mildly critical report on the death of Casey Brittle at the hands of her dangerous ex-boyfriend. The guy was clearly a total shit and not fit to be on our streets. One wonders how many more like him there are and why our CJS can’t deal with them. I am not aware of any case studies of successful police and legal action in dealing with this kind of scum. One would expect such material to be collated and in use in training.
The IPCC report is tiresome and lacks any self-criticism, or criticism of the system-level. The cops put up for minor disciplinaries are all constables or sergeants – this despite the Nottinghamshire force having form for such failure and having no domestic violence policy in force for more than a year. In defence of the IPCC, one can say there remit is woefully inadequate, but they’ve been around long enough to protest this and get it changed and have, instead, been led by inadequates drawing massive salaries who couldn’t say boo to a goose.
The report gives us no idea how rife (or otherwise) the problem is. My own experience indicates the problems are extensive and policing of them hapless. The issues are not merely policing ones – our CJS (indeed wider legal system) is not fit for purpose. Resources are committed to clown libel cases or interest only to the rich and the feeble-minded who gawp at such stuff through the ‘mejar’ (a far more appropriate term than media, suggesting narcissistic voyeurism).
The systemic failures are not correctly pinned on Response officers, dud as these often are in effect. My guess (fairly reasonably informed) is that this case is the tip on an iceberg. I believe the actual problem is that we don’t equip our cops with the tools to do the job and actually skill the incompetence they and other agencies demonstrate, The IPCC make several references to forms not being submitted to a domestic violence unit working 9 to 5 (well almost). Piss-poor bureaucratic solutions will only lead to clown form-filling that will only help in cover-up.
What’s needed is a system that drags these bastards in front of a court straight away, much as the night courts rustled up to deal with the recent rioters. Police officers are being asked to deal with questions they can’t answer and which it would be wrong to give them personal power to deal with. Sure there were officers who ‘dealt’ with these incidents on “area search no trace” form – but this is the ‘record’ of most Response policing (including mine 30years ago). No solution that doesn’t recognise the mostly young, inexperienced and wet-behind-the-ears Response cops (some remaining this way for 20 years) aren’t Solomons will work. They need somewhere to ‘bag-off’ these problems and this place should be ‘judicial’ and the bastards (and some innocent parties) need to be taken there, and directions given for proper investigation under which all parties are made aware of consequences, and resources allocated.
There are glaring faults in the policing in this case, yet we keep coming back to the same old story, most of which is cover-up with each case dealt with as though it is separate from the actual and much wider problem. This problem is that our justice system is run by the rich for the rich and is too slow to have much deterrent effect amongst the repeat offending scum whose presence dominates the CJS and policing.
Much policing actually works on the basis of keeping people out of court because this costs so much money. I think it’s time to reverse this and get more of these problems into a courtroom as they arise, with courts issuing injunctions with powers of arrest as soon as possible with the effect of a binding over and directed police and other agency investigation. This would bring about ‘partnership working’ far more directly than current pontification about it.
We should be looking to improve police work, but as with 50% of our kids who can’t benefit from education designed for the intelligent, we can’t keep on pretending we can make cops just out of training school into Solomons capable of solutions none of us could manage and they are expected to deal with because white collar people and all kinds of stuffed shirts want their weekends free for ‘golf’ or fear they would turn to dust if forced to venture into the 24/7/365.
In terms of resources, I think we could design out the CPS, the need for the judicial element to consist of expensive lawyers, use this element instead of elected police commissioners and remove many senior police ranks, the IPCC and look to further savings by a less adversarial CJS and reliance on dated concepts in evidence such as ‘credibility’ and in some cases ‘proof’ through a more discursive yet binding approach.
One thing clear in the IPCC report is the absence of senior officers (amazing given the lack of a domestic violence policy for 18 months) giving advice or being available to give any. Several should be sacked and the disciplinary record of the poor sods trying to actually do the job, however badly, expunged.
I believe our cops are much worse than our general public image of them – they are much more unpopular amongst people with recent experience of problems needing police support. That a statement like this is so often received as criticism of all officers is also a statement of the paranoid-schizoid position cops take too easily. Police always make out their job is very difficult, but rather than using this as an excuse, we should be looking for the reasons why the job is so difficult and solutions to it.
Even in proposing immediate referral of many street issues to an investigative court, I’m aware that the worst court in Britain is the Family Court and this is stacked out with professional advice. This court is so bad it keeps its proceedings secret. We need something quick with follow-through, using mediation with enforceable arbitration.