Normally on this blog I make comment on elements of society and parts of the job that anger or frustrate me. The armed burglars, robbers, and judiciary that make things so much more difficult that they need to be. However, sometimes I read something in the news that appears to serve only to shoot us in the foot. Today is one of those days…
I read with disbelief the story in the Daily Wail regarding the findings of a Federation survey in the West Midlands. Police chiefs are attempting to blame complaints from members of the public ofÂ incivility, impoliteness and intolerance on the fact that there are inadequate toilet facilities for those engaged of public order duties at events such as football matches. And even more disturbing, those doing the duties have voiced a demand for toilet breaks every 45 minutes!
Quoted in Police Review, Bryan Higgins,Â Health and Safety lead for the West Midlands Federation said:
“If you have not been able to go to the toilet and you desperately need to go, you are not going to be concentrating on the task in hand.Â You are going to be concentrating on not wetting yourself or not making a mess of yourself. It does cause major problems”
I cannot believe that we are actually discussing this matter! Surely an officer with enough maturity to complete the role can be expected to visit the loo before starting his or her patrol. I do not know of many situations where officers would be required to remain on point with no relief for such a long period of time that nature would leave them with no alternative but to soil their uniform….certainly not after 45 minutes!
I know that good old Health and Safety reps have our best interests at heart (most of the time) and that it’s not fair to remove any consideration for the welfare of the troops on the ground, but really…how soft are we getting if it’s becoming acceptable for half the front line put their hands in the air and demand to go to the toilet in the middle of an incident.
Taking things a tiny step further (but still well within the realms of believable legal action against the Police) have we considered that we might risk infringing the human rights of theÂ protestersÂ / rioters if we don’t call off the shield line every hour or so to allow the baddies to take on fluids and have a tinkle? They may well claim that if it’s necessary for us, then it’s got to be necessary for them too!