Monday, 20 April 2009

Treading The Tightrope or Just A Bunch of Clowns?

I was mid rant this morning when Crofty called round. My dad showed me the front page of his copy of The Week and ignited me. Here is a calmer more reflective version of what I said:

Whichever way you look at it we, the cops, are not particularly well thought of at the moment. My last blog post about the tightrope you walk between your desire to knee a bully in the balls and the steadying hand on the mental brake that prevents you, was almost prescient.

First off my Easter weekend was messed up by a tosser of a boss who couldn't remember how to look after documents marked 'Secret'; or perhaps he was one of those bosses who think that sort of thing beneath him; perhaps his little man or woman was having a day off so he had no one to pop the documents into a secure briefcase or something.

Either way, my Friday night out was messed up when my friend found he had to work.

Then we have the G20 protests, and this is the biggie.

I wonder what the percentage was of officers policing the demo who lost their rag and saw the red mist, or whatever you want to call it, and lashed out at someone?

Against that backdrop now have a think about how many of the protesters' sole motive was to
cause disruption, using violence to property or people.They were there in numbers, but they were peppered among the rightly indignant ones ones on a trip from church or WI Peace Group. This is the very effective tactic of those anarchist organisations there only to smash the machine and this is why we, the public and the police - because we, the police, are in both - need to have a good hard think about what we want.

I find it hard to talk about the wrongs or rights of the G20 policing - after all, someone died maybe as the result of what one of us did, there's no getting past that. Equally another of us was sufficiently wound up like a spring by a female protester who admitted swearing and pushing the officer, who then maybe went to far in his use of reasonable force, we'll see what happens in the investigation.

What I will say is don't be fooled into thinking that there is any sort of cover-up when it comes to the investigation, officers are genuinely put through the mincer to get to the truth. If any covering up is done, it is later and for political reasons beyond the rights or wrongs of front-line officers.

The interesting question is about what we all want from our Police in situations like the G20 - the cops did what they thought their bosses wanted. If the style of policing - using coralling tactics - was hard and appeared brutal it was because that was what they had been told: stamp on it before the lid comes off.

So what do we want?

Are we prepared to allow public protests to explode from time to time so we can have freer demonstrations or would we rather put up with a bit of rough shoving and pushing to allow the police to stamp the mark of authority on a situation.

I don't know. What I do know is that me and my colleagues will still be there doing whatever it is that the public decide they want from us. And that is what makes policing in this country still great.

Gosh I feel better for that.

1 comment:

Katherine said...

The art on the front of the mag was intentionally inflammatory... Totally ridiculous, really. And sanctioned, if not encouraged, by some editor. But dangerous, I think. Too graphic. Is it a mag with a big coverage? I hope not.