Monday, 17 September 2012

Localism corrupted (2) - policing

In the wake of the Hillsborough report came calls from all quarters for the radical reform of the 'last great unreformed public service' - policing. The culture that allowed the cover-up, the distortion and misrepresentation of evidence, the outright and blatant lies, and at all levels including the most senior officers, the argument goes, must be ended. It's not the first time. Commentators reel out the list of police corruption from the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four, de Menezes, Ian Tomlinson, Blair Peach and many more. 

But then read further and the calls for radical reform have less to do with a corrupt 'canteen culture' than employment costs; the police is the only 'job for life' left in the public sector, the pension is too generous, they're allowed to retire too early, and the biggest scandal is the way they're allowed to retire 'sick' as soon as any disciplinary action comes over the horizon. 

Both arguments come down to the same thing. The police have become an organisation that serves itself, that puts itself before the public it is paid to serve. Whether closing ranks to cover-up the beating to death of a suspect, or protecting gold plated employment conditions, it's about the police no longer serving the public. To that extent commentators from the left and right are united, and the need for police reform is common ground. But from here on there is another agenda at play.

When they talk of reform, what they mean is greater homogeneity and more central command and control. A national police force under the command of a Justice Minister and integrated with the State Prosecutor, on the European model, with Justice Ministry civil servants sharing operational control and ensuring the police follow political objectives. This has been the long-term game plan of every Home secretary from David Blunkett to Theresa May, and the Hillsborough report is just grist to their mill.

Not one of the commentators I have read in the last week have looked back to the effects of the 1964 Police Act in creating this state of affairs. Following a Royal Commission, the Act reduced the number of police forces in England and Wales from 117 to 49, transferred the powers of the local police and watch committees to the Home Secretary, and restricted the appointment of Chief Constables, and Deputy and Assistant Chief Constables, to those from a shortlist provided by the Home Office. The divorce of the police from the public they serve is not something that has happened organically; it has been engineered by a State determined to establish central control of the police. 

And they're ready to convince us that more of the same is the cure for the ills they've caused. 

8 comments:

right_writes said...

A fine example of your de-localisation observation Raedwald, would be the lefty (and righty) observation that when Giles, Annabel, Winston and Charleen rioted last year, there was little or no police action for the first couple of day/nights...

The speculation being, that at a national level, the peelers had decided that they were going to show government just how necessary they are, and how much they deserved to have their numbers increased, rather than decreased, and how much they needed to have their salaries increased, rather than tied to "productivity" deals.

For politics (of which policing is a major part) to work with ANY degree of success, the local level HAS to be the most important part of the link. People just disengage once they feel/notice that they are being decreed to from on high. They stop voting, they stop going to political meetings, they stop participating...

National/International government seems to think that is fine, it is always easy to put down the peasants...

...Up to a point, that is until they get really pissed and start quietly buying guns.

It doesn't need to be this way.

Anonymous said...

A police force - of the people, for the people and protecting the people [from the state]?

That would never do, we can't have that old boy, now can we?

G. Tingey said...

It has been going on for a LONG time ....
Many years back (mid 70's) shortly after the IRA had tried to bomb an UndergrounD train [Yes, well before our religous loonie-brethren did it] but the carrier reailsed the timer was faulty, hurled the device to the other end of an (almost-empty) carriage - it went off - train stops, IRA nutter forces doors open, driver pursued him & was SHOT DEAD.
Forward a few months.
I jump in to a Piccadilly line coach, wedged up against a very senior copper (scrambled egg on hat), there are at least two other cops in the caoch (& it turns out more in other coaches) - why?
There are lots of moronic bastards in horzontally-striped green-&-white tops, chanting "We love the IRA, ha, hah, ha"
The faces of the other commuters are set, white & frightened.
What are the cops doing - yup - nothing.
I asked senior plod: "Why don't you arrest this lot for acessory after the fact to murder?"
He replied:" If I were you, I'd shut up ... sir."
So much for protecting the public.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

I don't care for the moronic end of Celtic fans or their stupid IRA chanting but in what parallel universe does that make them accessories to murder?

Fausty said...

Create the problem, then offer the 'solution'. That has been the method of government for thousands of years. It always works, if done slowly and carefully, because a new generation has no recollection of the causes that spawned the mess that they're having to live with.

Government knows this, Fabians know this and so does Cameron.

It's no accident that all of a sudden the police are to be thrown to the wolves for their corruption re: Hillsborough. It is all part of the political theatre that is intended to shape public opinion.

I would argue that the police privatisation programme is an extremely bad development. The US has shown that the prison population grows when private prisons an 'law enforcement' agencies are allowed to profit from crime.

The first thing they do is lobby for more and more criminal offences to be codified in laws they devise. After the police have taken their 'cut', the prisons then get a vast sum of money for the 'upkeep' of each prisoner in their mitts.

It therefore benefits the police financially to have as much power of surveillance as possible - at our expense.

The entire governmental system is corrupt.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the gist of this post.Police (we) are being reformed to firstly save money and secondly to curb our powers through spite as we have arrested a few MP's and journalists recently.
Jaded

banned said...

The reduction of the number of police forces has always been part of the plan (for "efficiency" of course), the fewer the number of Chief Constables the fewer need to be suborned in support of Treason.

G. Tingey said...

Weetabix
Work it out.
The IRA had murdered a train driver.
In a similar train, these criminals were expressing support for the murderer, who had killed a train driver.
This is NOT accerssory?
Even if it wasn't a night in the slammer for the lot of the bastards might have taught them manners.