mirrorshard: (Default)
[personal profile] mirrorshard
After the Late Unpleasantness at Bishopsgate, I've thankfully seen a very sensible attitude towards the police from all my friends-list. A couple of times, though, I've seen commenters talking about "pigs" or "filth", as though the police were some monumental dehumanized bloc. Please, if someone does this on your journal, point them to this.

Date: 2009-04-19 04:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-alchemist.livejournal.com
Hear, hear!

Date: 2009-04-19 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elettaria.livejournal.com
Good article.

I think the problem with the police is that while they undoubtedly do a sterling job most of the time, their failures really show up, just as a doctor's few mistakes can have very grave consequences. I'm sure I've had good contacts with the police, but the occasions that stick in my head are when I called the police because a neighbour was having her door beaten down and subsequently being assaulted by her partner, whom the police decided to believe when he said he was "worried about his girlfriend" and let off the hook; or the time when two friends of mine were mugged a five minutes' walk from the police station but it took the police forty minutes to get there, by which point my friends should probably have been at the hospital instead of waiting about after being kicked in the head.

Date: 2009-04-19 05:36 pm (UTC)
ext_15862: (Default)
From: [identity profile] watervole.livejournal.com
THanks. It's timely reminder that we're all human.

Date: 2009-04-19 06:16 pm (UTC)
ext_83784: Me at Wasteland, Amsterdam - April 2009 (Default)
From: [identity profile] strangelover.livejournal.com
Even from afar, I thought the way people were talking about the police was fairly awful. I missed the whole G20 thing as I was on holiday, but going from what happened in Greece last December when a cop shot and killed a 15 year old boy (and thus sparking months of rioting), I'm appalled, but not surprised by the reaction.

Here people decided that one irresponsible policeman meant they were all *exactly* the same. There is still an (active) group threatening to kill police officers simply for being police officers, they've shot at them, bombed police stations and cars, it's just crazy. And while I understand the reason behind the uproar, I do not agree with the poor excuse it's become to act out and deem the entire police force as filthy scum.

One bad apple does not make the whole orchard rotten.

Date: 2009-04-19 06:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fjm.livejournal.com
Im having a hard time reading a post that assumes violence on the part of the victims. Hillsborough has been well researched: there was no violence, only an assumption that violence was inevitable and that therefore what the police were seeing was violence.

I do believe that this has been precisely the problem during the G20 protests: 90 complaints and counting, and lots of lovely independent video to corroborate something we've known about for years, and both individuals and insitutional structures have been denying.

Turns out--just for example--that some police officers were blacking out their numbers, an accusation that has been made and denies for well over thirty years.

So while I agree with your post about language, I'm not sure I agree with your title.

Edited Date: 2009-04-19 06:53 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-04-19 10:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirrorshard.livejournal.com
You make good points. I'm extremely aware that there are deep systematic problems... I suppose the title is as much wishful thinking, or a statement of faith, as a statement of fact.

Fundamentally, I think, I just don't want to think of all this in terms of Enemies. I'm sure there are some people who'd see that as a weakness on my part; I know you're not one of them.

Date: 2009-04-20 07:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fjm.livejournal.com
One thing it's worth being aware of is the history of the police force: most police forces were established with the very specific remit of protecting property from the forces of disorder. I was always a bit skeptical of this until I went on a tour of a police station in the late 1980s and heard this, word for word, from the mouth of the Sergeant.

The police really are there to control us, protection is pretty far down the list.

Date: 2009-04-20 11:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirrorshard.livejournal.com
I heard Jerry White speak on the history of the Met at the Museum in Docklands last summer, so I know the history fairly well. I suppose it's pragmatism on my part; we're stuck with a police force, so we may as well try for a halfway sane one.

Speaking of misunderstandings, here's (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8007580.stm) a juicy one -

former shadow home secretary David Davis said the actions of a minority of police officers had undermined the trust and confidence of the public.

"We have a police force in this country, uniquely in the world.... [which] comes from Robert Peel's original proposal the police will be of the public and the public will be of the police. They are indistinguishable, they are the public in uniform. And that trust and confidence is critical."
Edited Date: 2009-04-20 11:39 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-04-20 03:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elettaria.livejournal.com
Yes, that quotation struck me as fairly nutty. I mean, yes, the police are more or less on our side, we're not living in a totalitarian state, but apart from that it really doesn't apply.

How are you finding the way the media is continuing to cover this? From reading the BBC, I think it's improving, but they still do things like quote the police (or their pals) as saying that the kettling was essential to contain the violence, without mentioning that it wasn't a violent situation and that many believe that kettling, when used in those circumstances, is actually more likely to create hostility.

Date: 2009-04-20 03:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fjm.livejournal.com
Oh lovely!

As an aside: Jerry White's NIneteenth Century London argues that the police were deliberately drawn from rural areas, both because of better health and height and precisely because they would have no local loyalties.

Date: 2009-04-20 03:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elettaria.livejournal.com
Which immediately makes me wonder whether they'd have been mocked for accent differences and so forth. Perhaps this is where the "PC Plod" stereotype grew from?

Date: 2009-04-20 03:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fjm.livejournal.com
Good point: the slow voices of the country against the quick fire of the metropolis.

Date: 2009-04-20 03:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirrorshard.livejournal.com
Absolutely - I thought of that when he was blathering about "the same people, just in uniform".

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