Some Police Officers are idiots, capable of all manner of stupidity…
But most of them are heroes.
Some Police Officers are pompous, self-important buffoons…
But most of them would go to the ends of the earth for you.
Some Police Officers are idle, workshy lumberers…
But most of them would, without a second thought, spend themselves on your behalf.
Some Police Officers are economical with the truth; some hold a view of the world that no decent person would share; some are quite simply corrupt – and have no place among us…
But most of them are extraordinary people who just want to make a difference… who want to do their duty.
And I wonder whether – just sometimes – we might lose sight of the truth of these things.
I wonder whether, in the face of the score-settling, political-point-scoring, one-eyed commentary offered by the Grudge Holders and Armchair Occupiers, we are in danger of losing a sense of balance and perspective.
I wonder whether, when it comes to the people who police our streets, there is a possibility that – just sometimes – some of us might begin to take some of them for granted.
There are the Frontline Officers who take a step forward just as the rest of us take a step back – who confront the men of violence and who daily face the kinds of realities that most of us would prefer never to think about, much less deal with. Have we even begun to consider, much less comprehend, the impact that repeated exposure to extreme trauma has on them?
There are the Firearms Officers – volunteers, every single one of them – who take the calls too dangerous for anyone else; who are deployed thousands of times every year and who fire their weapons on no more than a handful of occasions.
There are the Public Order Officers – who kit up and put themselves in harm’s way in defence of democracy.
There are the Licensed Search Officers – who turn out at all times of the day and night, in fair weather and foul, to pick their way through scenes of carnage and sadness, looking for the tiniest fragment of evidence to complete the picture.
There are the Hostage & Crisis Negotiators – who take on that role in addition to the day job and who place themselves on call 24 hours a day, 7 days at a time, for the sake of those hurting souls who have reached the end of themselves.
There are the Family Liaison Officers – who pour themselves out for people who have lost their loved ones in circumstances beyond imagining, and who remain in touch with the bereaved for years after any professional obligation is over.
There are the Probationary Officers, a couple of weeks out of Training School – who, given the choice, volunteered to go down into the tunnels on 7/7.
There are the Sexual Offences Investigation Officers – who care for some of the most vulnerable in society; there are the Evidence Review Officers – viewing haunting horrors on repeat; there are the Scenes of Crime Officers – who are faced with the unimaginable; there are the Counter-Terrorism Officers – seeking to prevent the unthinkable. The list could be almost endless.
Then there are the thousands of officers who are injured in the line of duty every single year. And there are those who pay the greatest price of all. Greater love hath no one than to lay their life down…
We owe our Police Officers an endless debt of gratitude.
God only knows what we would do without them.