I can’t help worrying about Dame Cressida Dickhead’s strategy of permitting large Black Lives Matter demonstrations to go ahead in contravention of social distancing rules – and even encouraging officers to signal their support by ‘taking a knee.’ If this was supposed to prevent widespread disorder in general, it certainly has not worked. Instead, large night-time street ‘raves’ have sprung up with a criminal minority exploiting the size of the gatherings to attack officers.
Trouble has also broken out in several cities apart from London, including Liverpool where police were pelted with bottles by a thug element in the crowds celebrating Liverpool winning the football Premier League.
The worry is that the mistakes of the softly softly approach taken towards disturbances in Tottenham in 2011, which quickly led to riots and looting across the country are being repeated.
At the same time, many officers also worry that faith in them is fading away among the traditional, law-abiding majority of the British public. Of course it is. Most thinking people are dismayed by what they view as police appeasement of criminals and about Bobbies adopting supportive positions in respect to particular political causes.
Videos of squads of dancing officers at Gay Pride, Extinction Rebellion and other events, might have started out as harmless fun, but are now seen to signal that something is very wrong. Instead of being conscious of the need to behave as authority figures who naturally command respect, some younger officers have at times seemed to view their vocation as primarily an opportunity for self-expression. This is unfair on those whose lives and livelihoods they are supposed to be protecting. Life on the streets of urban Britain is far from a ruddy cabaret I’m afraid.
Policing by consent – a principle dating right back to Robert Peel’s inauguration of the British force – is one thing. Trying too hard to be everyone’s mate is something else. A fairer and more sensible way forward clearly needs to be found and I am sure most coppers would agree. For all my criticism of modern policing, I realise that the majority of officers are courageously doing their jobs.
The unarmed officers who recently tackled men on the rampage with knives in Reading and Glasgow put their own lives on the line in pursuit of public protection. Glasgow’s PC David Whyte sustained injuries that almost killed him.
We cannot help but give our wholehearted support for such people.
But what happens when such lions are led by politically correct donkeys? The situation becomes farcical and Priti Patel faces a major task in doing something about policing’s most senior ranks. In my coppering years I saw many incidents of police incompetence and that is natural in any job. However, we were apolitical and the idea of actively supporting one side or another in matters of politics or of regarding criminals as ‘clients’ whose preferences deserve to be listened to would not have occurred to us and should not be allowed today.
A police officer’s job is to enforce the law without fear or favour and that must be returned to be the norm. Let’s face it, there will never be one hundred percent satisfaction with the police. If the villains are not complaining about them and no longer resent their presence, the cops are doing something wrong.
On the other hand, successive gutless governments should stop making the lives of coppers more difficult. Cutting twenty thousand policing posts over ten years in which the overall population rose by more than four million was surely the height of folly and a recipe for disaster. Now Bunter Johnson promises to put another twenty thousand back, but where is he going to find them?
Another quick road to disaster was imposing upon the police a duty to intervene in matters of free speech and expression even where the criminal law has not been broken – so-called ‘non-crime hate incidents.’ What a load of politically correct nonsense that is proving and how terribly damaging to the reputation of police officers. If I am burgled or robbed, little action is taken. If I call someone a name they don’t like, I am hauled into the local nick. What a dreadful waste of everybody’s time!
The requirement for new recruits to have graduate-level academic qualifications, which is already temporarily in abeyance, needs to be permanently put out to grass too. Restoring a Dixon of Dock Green straightforwardness to the policing of this complex modern society will be no easy task. But it has to be done as a matter of urgency or anarchy will rule in Britain.
I have to laugh at the Green Party. Since their arrival on the scene, they have been committed to abolishing the ‘undemocratic’ House of Lords’ and that was a policy that certainly had my support. They wanted to replace it with a fully elected second chamber and that too seemed eminently sensible.
But why then are the Greens who already have two peers, now asking their few remaining supporters who should be put forward for the said House of Lords if it needs to appoint an additional member?
What a load of hypocrites! For a bunch of self-proclaimed save the world environmentalists, their principles seem like a load of hot air to me I’m afraid.
But I have to say a word or three in praise for the team of scribblers working for Hansard. Their job is to deliver official verbatim reports of what is said in Parliament and that must be hugely difficult at the best of times.
Last week they were really put to the test by the new Conservative MP for Workington, Mark Jenkinson.
As the son of a binman and an office clerk, who himself was once a British Steel apprentice, Jenkinson told the Commons that the traditional way to identify a fellow Cumbrian was by asking: ‘As thou e’er sin cuddy lowp a five-barred yat?’
(It translates as: ‘Have you ever seen a donkey jump a five-barred gate?’)
Naturally, the Hansard writers reproduced it word for word and without mistake. It seems there is a little bit of efficiency somewhere in that mausoleum known as the Houses of Parliament after all.