Saturday, 8 March 2014

Post-1964 Policing in ruins

The condemnation on Radio 4's 'PM' by Lord MacDonald, a former DPP, of the Commissioner's TV statement was coruscating. Hogan-Howe was 'complacent', public faith in the police had been completely eroded and they no longer commended the respect and consent necessary to function; as a body they had lied, cheated, deceived and wriggled away from proper blame so often that they could no longer continue to function without fundamental change - a Royal Commission was needed.

And indeed the Lawrence abuse has capped Plebgate, the beating to death of a drunk paper seller and the centuries of unjust jail time served by the victims of 'fitting-up'. The police can only work with public consent, and they've lost it. Even the experience of middle-class middle-England over the past years has turned it to consider Plod to be just another crim but in uniform; for the past year, millions of rail passengers headed for London Bridge have passed the abbreviation ACAB in four-foot letters painted on a gable wall. The rail people are in no hurry to remove it.

Hogan-Howe's weasel words can't hide the reality that the 1964 Police Act sent UK policing in a completely wrong direction by increasing the size of police forces, reducing local public accountability and substituting greater control by the Home Office. There is a place for nationally or regionally organised police specialisms - terrorism, financial crime, arts and antiques, but the police cannot use this as an excuse for large merged forces. More than 99% of all police work is local plod-level call outs to disturbances, drunkeness, petty thefts and motoring offences for which there are no economies of scale and which need no specialist equipment or unique expertise to manage. Many consider the shadowy ACPO organisation itself to be inherently criminal, and indeed when that organisation challenged the powers of the Home Secretary it had its wings clipped. But not, unfortunately, its neck wrung. 

Once the police have lost public confidence they have lost their place in our society. If that point has not quite been reached, it's not far from it. Hogan-Howe's banal sticking-plaster words are not what's needed - only an admission by the Home Office that it can no longer effectively police Britain will secure the change needed.


Anonymous said...

I lost trust in the police a long time ago when I saw them blatantly lie about an incident I witnessed. Until then I believed that they were generally on the side of the law abiding, now I would do nothing to help them. As myself and my husband went as witnesses a decent young man was saved from conviction and a ruined life. That was when I realised they would lie without compunction, it was one bad apple that instigated the incident but all the rest backed up what they knew was lies. How can anyone have any trust now? So many lies, even deaths and they seem to get away with it,

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 06:54

Good points. Like you, I had a plod incident some years ago where they tried to fit me up for a motoring offence that was actually caused by one of their own officers - they lost, but I received no apology.

Where did this all go wrong? Maybe 64 was the start down the wrong road but I believe that various governments are to blame for using the police towards their own political ends. In as far as is possible, the police should not be politicised (rose tints, I know!) and they should get back to policing by consent on a more local level as R suggests. But given that Westminster is in no mood for decentralisation, what's the likelihood?

Coney Island

Jonty said...

Sir Hugh Ord on behalf of ACPO on Radio 4 this morning stated that there was a need for greater transparency with police and the public.
I would like to suggest that ACPO ceases to be a PLC and thus it would be open to freedom of information requests

Anonymous said...

I cannot agree with this post Raedwald although I love reading your anti-EU ones!You seemed to have jumped on the anti-police band-wagon that is gathering pace at the moment.
In my experience-and i'm a PC so I know what i'm talking about unlike the experts that always comment on police stories-the public really do support much more than you believe.
I hate to use statistics but our public approval ratings are generally very high despite nearly all the media constantly printing bad news about us.
I expect papers like the scum Guardian and Mail to always be against us.They have an agenda after all as do this government who want to destroy us.

Simon Fawthrop said...

Hogan-Howe's response is straight of the public sector's play book:

Were very sorry (We only here because we got caught)
It shouldn't have happened (why should we think about the consequences of our actions, we're bomb proof))
Lessons have been learned (Somebody has created a file note which will never be looked at)
No one person is to blame (Don't expect us to hold one of our own to account we've got pensions to protect)

Anonymous said...

Until it, the police return to the civilian force it was designed to be, of the people to protect the people - we will have no police force.
What we have now, in all but name is a gendarmerie, it was thus so ordained by the puppeteers in Brussels but it suits the Cultural Marxists in Westminster nicely. Styled on their EUropean cousins, our 'police service' is now a paramilitary arm of the state and backing and protecting not the citizen but the state against the citizenry and a egregiously politically correct bunch of men and wimmin at that: civil servants playing at coppering is all they fucking are.

Anonymous said...

That the police in general and the Met in particular are a lot less straightforward and decent than they might be is clear. However, the most likely explanation to me is the same one that applies all over the public arena. Large, remote bureaucracies, with nothing you could really call leadership but instead a belief in target driven managerialism, however poorly it fits their real situation.

This has probably been made worse by the behaviour of ACPO and I wouldn't want to say anything positive about that organisation, but it is understandable. Whilst the public might want effective local policing, they know government, both local and national, want yes men and scapegoats. (not necessarily in that order) It's easy to understand that senior officers thought that as they were operating in a very politicised environment they'd better get good at politics. Like so many things, it's been bad for the police, bad for the public but very good for some.

Anonymous said...

It is a gross over-simplification to say that all coppers are bent, but there are enough of them to be a major worry. They don't enter the force bent, but bend progressively, starting with something small and after that get worse and worse. The system that one copper's evidence trumps anyone else's, two coppers' evidence is irrefutable gives them a sense of power.
I was fitted up for the first time in 1966, and lost my faith in the police back then - and I see nothing to convince me they have got better since.
Can you meet a decent copper who upholds the law? Of course you can. I'd even go so far as to hope they are in the majority. But I fear that the rotten apples have contaminated a good proportion of the barrel.
At least back then we might have thought there were bent coppers at the bottom of the pyramid - now we know that they are at the top.

Anon 2 said...

Styled on their EUropean cousins, our 'police service' is now a paramilitary arm of the state and backing and protecting not the citizen but the state against the citizenry and a egregiously politically correct bunch of men and wimmin at that: civil servants playing at coppering ...

Thanks, Anon @09:57 - that's just where I was taking it. You describe the way by which the eussr will co-opt our police force into their para-military, rapid reaction force. Not forgetting, of course, that our 'government' is now a token; it serves only to rubber-stamp edicts from brustles (?sp).

If all the factions the postmodernists have created ever unite to mobilise against them, then 'The Force' is ready to turn against us.

It's called "Normalisation." That, following "Destabilization" and (convenient) "Crisis" is the last on Bezmenev's list of KGB tactics for destruction of western civilisation. The eussr then rules overtly, by military diktat.

Which really makes it very different from the British Empire, btw. Police forces there were based on our own Peelian ideals.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2 said @ 16:14

'Which really makes it very different from the British Empire, btw. Police forces there were based on our own Peelian ideals.'

The Nine Principles of Policing, circa 1829:

1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.

2. To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.

3. To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.

4. To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.

5. To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion; but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour; and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.

6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.

7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

8. To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.

9. To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.