Where were the Police when……..?
As Police officers know, perhaps better than most groups in society, there are a lot of aggrieved people out there. There a lots of groups who want to protest, demonstrate, and cause a commotion to get their point across. There are even groups of people who are professional protesters. They simply drift from one protest camp to another. They flip their beliefs to support any cause that allows them a good old protest. We know because we see it. We Police the protests and, lately at least, we are amongst them in protest.
A lot of these protesters choose not to support us by quoting actions that we have taken in protests they have been involved in. It’s not uncommon, when I’m in the pub, or the gym, talking about recent issues with somebody, for a member of the public to say “now you know how the miners felt” or “where were you when Nurses were protesting” etc. they believe that because we are the people who police these incidents that we were against them. That somehow if they help the government to defeat us by not joining in and supporting us that their lives will be easier.
I have a message for these people. You really need to maintain the independence of the rank of Constable. I will try to explain why. A Constable is a public officer. He or she cannot be made redundant. He or she makes independent decisions based upon the law of the land. They have the right to make decisions based upon the facts and their own judgement. I have been in vans at protests with colleagues who were former Miners. Former union officials. Current and former students. We have some humdinger arguments about the rights and wrongs of the situation. But we still have to do a job. The thing is we have a choice.
The office of Constable gives us the power to challenge orders. To refuse to carry out unlawful orders. The power to use our judgement. We can do so without fear of being sacked or made redundant as long as we use the law correctly. Im not saying we always get it right. There are individual mistakes at times. There are also organisational mistakes at times. I would say that the main thing we get wrong is to not explain why we do things. Most of the time people would support our actions more if they just knew why we were taking them. But the bottom line is no Politician, council officer, or civil servant can ‘make’ a Constable do something unlawful.
Now imagine a privatised force with no Constables. Where a security worker with powers granted is told to baton charge. Somebody who knows they could be made redundant if they don’t follow orders. Imagine if that same person is ‘told’ not to record a crime because his Political paymasters want to record a drop. Imagine if that person is told to arrest somebody because they’re troublesome. Told to target them unnecessarily. They may not want to but they are worried not to as they can’t afford the paycut. Or maybe they are worried that they won’t have their tenure renewed. Would that be better? Would freedom of speech or expression become easier then? Would our country be a better place to live.
This is what the politicians seek to do. This is the Policing model they are trying to create. A model where the Police do their bidding and are powerless to stop them. Ask yourself which Police service you want? Support the independence of the office of Constable before its gone forever. This really will be a case of you don’t know what you have got until its gone.