Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Archive for the tag “police”

Do the Police “look like us”?

I have blogged previously about society’s preoccupation with ensuring that Parliament “looks like us” – when I would prefer parliament to represent the diversity of opinion within the country. Perhaps I am “male pale and stale”, but does that mean that Nigel Farage would represent me better than Diane Abbott?

Now we have statistics about whether the police “look like us”.

The case is slightly different to Parliament. Pictures of say, white policemen quelling a riot in a predominantly black area always looks bad – but even if racial diversity at “constabulary population level” was properly represented in the “force” quelling the riot, there would only be a few non-white faces and the pictures would look just as bad – and the non-white policemen may not welcome the attention.

But we have to be careful with statistics! Mrs May might find she has unnecessarily stirred a hornet’s nest. Read more…

Acronyms and Obfuscation

We all do it to a certain extent. We use TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) in place of the real words. Sometimes it is just a convenient short-hand, sometimes it is laziness, and sometimes it is deliberate obfuscation. Obfuscation can range from the relative benign use of acronyms to try and make ourselves appear more professional, respectable, exclusive or positively different, to the more malign use to hide or sanitise. This is particularly the case when the acronym is less common and relates to something “unpleasant”.

Sometimes you just get accustomed to their use. This past year I have had to get used to doctors using the acronyms PSA and DRE – and I assure you that DRE is not some high-tech medical treatment!

Other times I hope we don’t get used to their use – in fact I would like to see their use banned.

FGM – I have already commented on; it’s not a food additive – that’s monosodium glutamate (MSG), it’s not some form of corporate General Meeting, it’s nothing to do with Focus Groups or Field Goals (except in very narrowly defined contexts). It’s nasty – very nasty.

CEFM – Is not always Continuous External Fetal Monitoring or Center for Excellence in Financial Management despite what a quick internet search might indicate. It’s also nasty – very nasty.

This morning on the Today Program (BBC Radio 4 31 December 2014) I heard an acronym new to me – CSE. It was not an education discussion; it was used by a senior police officer in a piece about the police failing to act on complaints about the claimed sexual abuse of children. Read more…

Police Integrity

(An unwise headline that might catch the attention of our country’s surveillance systems – and consequently waste the time of a few electrons!)

Two headlines today (15 October 2013) are linked:

  1. Mark Duggan inquest: Officer ‘saw gun in hand’ (BBC News Website)
  2. IPCC questions police officers’ honesty in ‘plebgate’ row (Channel 4 News Website) Read more…

What type of society has Police as its fundamental basis?

Whole life terms for police killers – home secretary (BBC News Website 15 May 2013)

Criminals who kill police officers in England and Wales will face compulsory whole life sentences, Home Secretary Theresa May has announced.

She stressed that to kill a police officer was “to attack the fundamental basis of our society”.

I feel uncomfortable about this for a number of reasons.   Read more…

Lock-in at the last chance saloon?*

Tomorrow the Leveson Enquiry is published. Some very powerful voices seem to be being raised to give the press (yet) another chance. This, decades on from David Mellor’s comment that they “were drinking in the last chance saloon”. Read more…

Commissioning Crime and the Police

Today we see the political parties naming some of their candidates for election as Police and Crime Commissioners.  Thus we see the begining of the politicising of the police.  The Police are charged with “maintaining the Queen’s Peace”, not the “Government’s Peace” – I do not look forward to a political apparatchik “Commissioning” our police.  Should we see a difference when we move from a Tory Direct Police Authority to a Socialist Police Authority?  No, so why make it political?

“Because the police have to be democratically accountable” say the proposers. The current system (police authority committees) seem to do just this (albeit indirectly) whilst keeping the police out of politics most of the time (although in the North East we still suffer the distrust arising from the politicising of the police during the miners’ strike).

What next? Electing the magistrates and judges?

We live in a system of indirect democracy – even the Government is effectively indirectly elected (by the weight of numbers of MPs elected to parliament – we do not have presidential elections to “make the PM democratically accountable”).

Apparently Police and Crime Commissioners (people who commission crime?) are an improvement and police committees should be abolished because we don’t know the names of people on the police committees. Well I have news for our politicians – most people don’t know the names of their MPs or their councillors – do we abolish them and replace them with a President and all-powerful Mayors?

I hope not.

The Moat in our eye

I hesitate to write about this subject, but it is a discipline to try to sort out one’s thoughts.  Perhaps a few declarations are required first.

  1. Now he is dead we do not have to refer to Raoul Moat as an “alleged” murderer; unfortunately he can no longer be brought to trial for murdering one man and maiming a policeman and his own girlfriend.  Our primary sympathies should lie with those he killed or injured.
  2. I find the idea of subscribing to a Facebook page and adding messages of support for Moat decidedly weird.  That said a substantial number subscribed to the Facebook page in order to attack the idea of messages of support.
  3. I have previously had jobs which involved liaising with the Police; I found individual policemen as civil (or uncivil) as my own colleagues.  Apart from a single speeding ticket I have never been in trouble with the police.

That said I am uneasy about the whole “event” – and unfortunately “the hunting down of the gunman Moat”, did become a media event.  I don’t subscribe to the “good riddance” reaction to Moat’s death, I would far rather have seen him taken to court and convicted as the murderer that I believe him to be.  A court case would go some way to prevent the creation of a “myth” of the “anti-hero”. Read more…

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