Last updated on August 21st, 2023 at 12:46 pm
Reading Time: 4 minutesI do occasionally ask myself is it time to reform Parliament and Journalism.
YES, whyever not.
Much has been said in the last few days about perceived wrong-doing, misogyny, systemic failures and heaven knows what within Policing in general and the Metropolitan Police in general.
I had really hoped not to have to write about ‘that evil man‘ ever again but no such luck.
One vile, evil man has done more to wreck Policing than Theresa May, David Cameron and Tom Winsor combined. He has brought it to its knees, now portrayed by the baying crowd as a body of sex-craved, murderous misogynists.
I most certainly make no kind of apology for that man. However, this practice of trying to appease every baying crowd, calling for blood must stop. Let’s take a breath. step back a few paces and look at what is really wrong.
Knee-Jerk appeasements and that the assumption that Policing must, in some way, be wrong, or to blame must stop.
The facts of the recent case should, and must, be examined dispassionately, and any actual failings identified and addressed. Officers in this infamous Wassap group need to be identified, and if actual wrongdoing is uncovered they should be immediately subjected to the proper disciplinary or criminal process.
If it warrants them losing their jobs then so be it, their fault, their problem. but what about the other 134,995 officers in England and Wales, is it fair, right or proper to tarnish them with the same brush. Police Officers are constantly told not to stereotype people, but to judge everybody on their individual merits and circumstances.
Stereotyping of Police Officers is EXACTLY what is happening here. I don’t know what the word for it is but it is the equivalent of Racial Profiling which we all know is bad.
We most definitely need to address any systemic failings that possibly allowed this tragedy to happen, and urgently.
What is most definitely not being helpful is the current bout of ‘bandwagon jumping’ by politicians and journalists.
Every politician in the land, of any party, from the largest to the smallest, must absolutely know what has happened to Policing since 2010 and how their ability to react to situations, investigate almost every category of crime apart from murder and terrorism, they seem to be able to function perfectly well still.
Proactive operations are almost a thing of the past. Officers on Response Teams being allocated crimes to investigate, taking them away from their Response duties because of a shortage of CID Officers, who should be investigating those crimes.
All of these perceived ‘shortcomings’ are, in my opinion, a direct result of the policies, and political interference, of David Cameron and Theresa May. Even Boris’ mystical 20,000 ‘extra’ officers looks doomed to fail.
For the avoidance of doubt let me be quite clear, I have no time for wrong-doing within the Police Service. We are not talking about nipping round the corner for a quiet cuppa, we are talking serious disciplinary or criminal behaviour, and that is totally unacceptable. You won’t find me defending any of that.
However, I WILL defend the 99.99% of our brave current and former officers who willingly rush into harm’s way to protect the public. It’s what they do, it’s what they are paid to do, it’s what they joined up to do, and it’s what we expect them to do. The only problem with that is the number of highly edited videos of their alleged misdemeanours circulating in the Court of Social Media, edited and lacking context. Senior Officers so eager to appease the crowd that they will hurriedly issue an apology, often before the actual facts have been established.
All this, aided and abetted by politicians sitting on the sidelines sniping and criticising, eager for their own soundbites, waiting for the bandwagon to roll by, impatient to jump on it.
“Reform the Police” I hear you cry, loudly and frequently. Well the fact is that the Police are a under a process of almost constant ‘Reform’. The reforms carried out since 2010 alone have seen approx 22,000 Police Officers shed, callously done away with without any thought of the consequences.
All because certain politicians wanted political control of a body of people fiercely independent of political control. And when you talk about Policing that is exactly how it should be. Not uncontrolled but not politically controlled.
While we are hearing these politicians, activists, and politicians wound up by activists condemning the amount of murders committed by former or serving Police Officers, misogyny, sexism, racism, dishonesty and heaven only knows what else these Police Officers have got up to, let us not forget how many MPs (of all parties) have been accused, but not necessarily convicted, or Rape, Assault, Indecent Assault, Bullying. And that in a body of about 650 people, not 135,000
We quite rightly expect our Police Officers to adhere rigidly to the highest standards, and that is totally correct as they uphold the law. Is it not equally valid that those politicians who make our laws (for MPs are the lawmakers) should demonstrably adhere to the same high standards, for broadly similar reasons?
Maybe if MPs had to be vetted to remain in post, suffering the same intrusions into their personal and financial backgrounds as Police Officers are subjected to, they might feel differently? Or maybe some would just quit rather than submit to vetting. It sounds perfectly fair to me.
Similar with journalists. They don’t care about anything other than the headline and the clicks on their article. Pieces are skewed, vital elements strangely omitted or total untruths inserted. NOT all journalists are like this, but it seems pretty standard for the big guns.
Only yesterday Karen Ingala Smith published an article in the Grauniad about the 81 women who have allegedly been killed by men in the UK since the tragic murder of Sarah Everard. Every one is a tragedy for somebody I’m not ignoring that, but she has totally conflated women murdered by strangers and women murdered by a violent partner. Both are serious problems I agree, but for Policing they are totally different problems, requiring different understandings, policies and tactics.
Finally, most commentators and critics have totally ignored the fact that that man was arrested, investigated, interviewed, charged and convicted by officers from his own Force whose sole aims were to get Justice for Sarah and incarcerate the person responsible whoever that turned out to be. And that they achieved quickly and efficiently. They deserve to be congratulated, not vilified.
So this was me, saying no more about that man, that case. Didn’t really work out like that.