Crossroads

Policing is at a crossroads.

The headlines this morning were truly grim.

The pictures were even worse: photographs of women being pinned to the ground by police officers, at a vigil held in memory of a murdered woman.

Clapham Common is a short walk from where I live. I went there yesterday. I went with my eldest daughter in the middle of the afternoon. We bought flowers and we paid our respects. It was peaceful and calm and subdued. It was powerful and poignant and painful. It was beautiful. As we walked slowly round the bandstand, I spotted a couple of uniformed police officers – one man, one woman – standing back from the edge of us all. They were quiet and dignified. I wandered over to them and thanked them for being there.

My daughter and I were back at home as evening drew in. As the crowd swelled. As the atmosphere changed. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know exactly what happened. I don’t know exactly who said what and who did what, so I’m not going to try to second guess any of it. That kind of uninformed speculation never helped anyone. But I know what the pictures look like. 

They look terrible. 

In fact, it’s difficult to imagine them looking any worse – and there’s no point in pretending otherwise.

Policing in this country has always been founded on the precious notion of consent – on the idea that police are the public and the public are the police. That we are them and they are us. Today, it is a notion seemingly under greater strain than ever before. When ordinary, decent, law-abiding people are questioning what on earth the police are doing – asking whether the police are even on their side – then we had better make damn sure we’re paying attention. And we had better make damn sure we actually do something about what they’re saying.

Policing is at a crossroads.

Over the past week, the conversation has been about gender – about misogyny and male violence and the urgent need for the police to change the way they respond to it. Before that, the conversation was about race – about prejudice and bigotry and hatred and the urgent need for the police to change the way they respond to it. Next week, we might be talking about something else, but we absolutely cannot – we absolutely must not – shy away from the urgent need for change when it comes to matters of both gender and race.

All of this is about so much more than just policing, of course – fundamentally, it is about who we are as a society – but policing remains, inevitably, at the heart of it all. Because policing happens in the hurting places. It operates along the fragile fault lines that run through our homes and neighbourhoods. Because police officers are entrusted with a set of powers and responsibilities greater than those given to any other citizen. Because policing always seems to end up being both our first and last resort when it comes to questions of crime and disorder and much more besides. Because, if not the police, then who?

But policing is at a crossroads.

How has it come to this? How have we ended up here? How has policing ended up seemingly on the wrong side of almost everything? How has it become the focus for so much blame and rage? 

What follows is my – probably clumsy, undoubtedly faltering – attempt to explain.

  1. Because Policing is Imperfect

A statement of the blindingly obvious perhaps, but policing offers an utterly imperfect response to an utterly imperfect world. Because police officers are human beings – imperfect in every way. Just like the rest of us. Because none of us gets it right all the time.

But what separates police officers from the rest of us is the position that they hold – the role that they perform – in society. Which is why we must always continue to expect higher standards of them than we do of anyone else. Because, if you can’t trust a Copper, then who can you trust?

(2) Because of the Harm done by Politicians

Not by all politicians. But by far too many of them.

I have written and spoken about this many times before, but it would be impossible to overstate the staggering amount of damage done to policing by politicians – especially during the last 11 years:

  • 44,000 officers and staff cut from policing in England & Wales (2010-2018)
  • Billions of pounds cut from policing budgets
  • Hundreds of police stations closed and sold
  • Neighbourhood policing dismantled
  • Proactive policing dismantled
  • Specialist policing dismantled (dogs and horses and helicopters)

Defund the police? It is a phrase that perfectly describes the strategy pursued by the Government first elected in 2010. And, as a direct consequence of that strategy, politicians have:

  • Fatally undermined the basic ability of the police service to do its job (compounded by their complete failure to adequately define what they actually think that job should be).
  • Desperately undermined the basic confidence of police officers to do their job – without fear or favour as the old saying goes.
  • Severed the vital connection between local officers and local neighbourhoods – doing untold harm to community-police relations in the process.

All of this is made worse by the fact that politicians have:

  • Sustained, for a number of years, an enormously hostile narrative about policing – telling us that they are racist, corrupt and incompetent, without ever pausing to offer any semblance of balance to their commentary.
  • Lied to us repeatedly about the consequences of their own actions – variously telling us that crime was down, that police reform was working, that those who questioned what they were doing were crying wolf. And when it reached the point where they could no longer deny the fact that crime was rising, they tried to get away with telling us that there was no clear connection between rising crime numbers and falling police numbers. In the words of the regularly re-quoted rogue Civil Service tweet: “Arrogant and offensive: Can you imagine having to work with these truth twisters?”

Lives have been lost as a consequence of the lies they have told and the harm they have done.

(3) Because of the Harm done by the Press

Not by all journalists. But by far too many of them.

Far too many in the Press have followed the pattern set by far too many in politics – in maintaining a narrative about policing that lacks any kind of balance:

  • By focusing relentlessly on the negative.
  • By almost completely ignoring the positive.
  • By taking controversial policing stories from around the world and presenting them with headlines that leave the reader free to assume they happened here.
  • By creating hostility and division – and then exploiting it.
  • By driving a deliberate wedge between police officers and the public they serve.

And everything that happens in the mainstream media is renewed and intensified on social media, where everyone seems to be shouting and almost no-one seems to be listening – where everything is binary (you are either for me or against me and there is nothing in between) and where cases are tried and decided in the five-second-court of online opinion.

(4) Because we continue to expect police officers to pick up the pieces of austerity

Government policy over the last decade hasn’t only been devastating for policing. It’s been devastating for the whole of the public sector, not least: 

  • Mental Health Care
  • Adult Social Care
  • Education
  • Youth Services
  • The wider Criminal Justice System

And, more often than not, we are asking and expecting police officers to pick up the pieces that other agencies – frequently through no fault of their own – are leaving behind.

The wider, long-term consequences of austerity – together with the legacies of both Covid and Brexit – are certain to make things even more challenging:

  • Deepening poverty
  • Rising inequality
  • Growing unemployment
  • Falling state support

At the start of 2021, there is a growing sense of public anger at the undeniable, unavoidable injustices apparent in our society. I fear that, left unaddressed, the disquiet will only grow.

And, when people take to the streets to demonstrate and protest, who will we ask to respond?

(5) Because we are expecting the police to bear the ills of wider society

As far back as the 1970s, the then Met Commissioner, Sir Robert Mark, suggested that, “the police are the anvil on which society beats out the problems and abrasions of social inequality, racial prejudice, weak laws and ineffective legislation”.

Perhaps it was ever thus. Because policing operates where others fear to tread. Where life is agonising. Where lives are lost. Where situations appear hopeless. Where all seems broken beyond repair.

But – again as I have suggested before – the point at which police officers get involved is the point at which society has already failed. Crime is only ever a symptom. Disorder is only ever a symptom. Of things that lie far, far deeper.

The Met is facing a whole series of desperately uncomfortable questions in the weeks ahead. And there are no easy answers to any of them. But we are fooling ourselves to a dangerous extent if we are thinking that this is only about policing.

The truth is that racism is not fundamentally a policing problem. It was there long before the police were ever called. 

Misogyny and male violence are not fundamentally policing problems. They were there long before the police were ever called.

But it suits the politicians and the press – among others – for the focus to remain on the police. It makes sense to blame the the police for the existence of the problem. And then to blame them for their failure to fix it. Because, as long as the focus and the anger remain fixed on the police, attention is diverted from the racism and misogyny (and every other failing) in their own ranks.

Perhaps, to some extent, it suits us all. Because the final truth is that none of us gets a pass here. None of us is entirely free of blame. 

Just at this moment in time, we appear to be a nation more deeply divided than ever before:

  • Between male and female
  • Between black and white
  • Between rich and poor
  • Between left and right
  • Between leave and remain
  • Between north and south
  • Between have and have not
  • Between us and them

The question we all need to ask is where we go from here?

The answer to it will depend on the choices each one of us makes:

  • About what we believe
  • About how we behave
  • About how we speak
  • About how we disagree
  • About how we listen – especially to the voices of those who see and experience the world differently to us
  • About the ways in which we hold our politicians to account
  • About the ways in which we hold our media to account

Policing is at a crossroads.

Society is too.

25 thoughts on “Crossroads

Add yours

  1. We also have seen in recent years “leaders” who have displayed misogyny and have through inaction or action promoted the gaslighting of women or anyone who is not white and male and wealthy. Yes the pictures are bad but behind it is a court ruling made by men, we are governed by a government that’s entirely dismissed women or their fate in a pandemic or even in healthcare such as the Nice ruling about mesh made by MEN. I don’t blame the police – I blame a society and populist politics of the “sound bite” who do NOT listen to women or who actively dismiss them and this filters through society as well as the legal system. We need to governed by those who believe in representation. It’s enough I want to be heard as a WOMAN. I am a proud feminist as by golly do we need them for girls and women … but to call yourself that is to be open to abuse by the ill informed and never-questioning arrogance.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your perspective. So eloquently put & makes so much sense. I wish I knew the answers. I have a 12 year old son & he, my husband & I had a very open conversation today about what has gone before & cannot happen in the future & how he should react if faced with trouble (I told him run the other way, his instinct is to want to fight & protect his property & reputation). About what is not acceptable around women & how powerful language can be.

    Society really is at a crossroads & we all have a responsibility to make the right choices & go on the right path. It will never be perfect as perfection, I believe, does not exist but it can always be better.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have followed your blog for a long time now and I have learnt so much from it.

    I just want to say that as a female, I am lucky that I do feel safe on our streets. Maybe I have a tough skin from an imperfect childhood. But I do feel safe. However, reading your blog post, I realised that if I didn’t feel safe, where would I go for safety? I don’t even know where my nearest Police Station is…!!! Let alone one accessible by the public…

    As for current conversation… in my life (I’m in my 30s) I have only ever witnessed men attack a woman in self defence. In my years waiting-on at big functions, I have seen shocking behaviour: women trying to look under mens kilts, women carressing mem uninvited because of their tight shirt, women feeling mens muscles uninvited, womem coping a feel / groping men. I, myself, got pushed down in a street by women and was rescued by teenager boys. Current conversation shouldn’t be as divisive as it is. We, as a society, should pull together and work together to be kinder to everyone irrespective of what makes is unique from each other.

    In all my interactions with the Police, they have been positive. I personally am friends with 5 officers in 3 different forces. They are fantastic people who care, are kind and who want to make a difference to society. They’re not the thugs the social media paint them to be.

    It is the medias that make it worse: news media for click bait and sensational headlines. Social media for people sharing half baked stories, passing off opinions as facts and reading a headline and assuming that they have read the story.

    I feel so sad for Sarah Everard’s family and friends. When my family grieved the death of a domestic violence of a family friend, we would have been (even more) devastated to see it in the news like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You echo many of my own feelings. I’m in my sixties now and I’ve never felt unsafe in the streets, although my husband was once assaulted by a group of men who dragged him off his bike on an off-road cycleway for no apparent reason. The police hypothesised that his cycling jacket may have been similar ot the one worn by the local drug dealer and it was a case of mistaken identity.

      I too feel so sorry for Sarah Everard’s family, whose grief seems to have been hyjacked for political purposes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s awful to think that my own brothers aren’t allowed to defend themselves by reiterating that “not all men” are what these people are painting them to be. Instead they are lectured to call their friends to account – even though their friends don’t behave in the way being described. Someone suggested that men should change their routes if they come across a lone woman. Why should an innocent person change their route, potentially making themselves late to work? What if them changing their route makes that lone woman even more vulnerable? It’s such a sad climate with a self-righteous minority shouting loudly.

        Not *all* women have a story to tell. I am not allowed to correct that fact, either 🙁

        I feel sorry for the Police right now.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Society as a whole – in various parts of the world – is reeling from changes of attitudes (some good, some not so good, and some quite baffling) that are affecting the way we are ‘allowed’ to respond / react / behave. These changes are not always logical, even though there are many things in all of our societies that need attention, but it is becoming increasingly difficult not to inadvertently offend people these days. The police – in this country too – are in a difficult position. Here, today is meant to be the first day of lectures at many universities: a fresh start for many after the pandemic changed everything. What happens? Groups of students are barring the universities from doing what they are set up to do, academics cannot come to work … and what are the police supposed to do? If they step in to defuse the potential violence they are damned; if they watch from the sides they are damned.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I don’t disagree but I think you’ve missed another two contributors: lowering of standards within, and militarisation of the police service. It’s old fashioned to say so of course, and considered by many to be a “fuddy-duddy” view, but the truth is that in order to have that all too vital consent, the police service need to be seen as approachable and exemplars of upholding standards.

    The (arguably) necessary move away from traditional tunic and helmet to, hi viz, body armour, “tech” vests instead of shirtt and tie, and flat caps as well as the myriad of “armaments have all made the individual officer less approachable and (appear to be) less friendly.

    A corresponding drop in personal standards hasn’t helped. Unshaven, hands in pockets, scruffy, – comments that will doubtless lead to responses of “ I don’t care what my police look like if they do they job”. Yet they CANNOT do the job if they don’t enjoy the support of the public.

    “Do as I say, not as I do” has never been an effective strategy for leadership and it doesn’t work for policing either. Everyone accepts that the police will (for example) need to break road traffic rules in an emergency. People do not accept the same actions when on routine enquires.

    As a retired police officer it should be obvious that I am hardly anti police, but by god do I (sometimes) resent the way they behave and act and the arrogance that some show in doing so.

    Yes it’s a difficult job, but there’s a lot the police could do to help themselves. The more they withdraw behind the body armour, the more they see it as a battle of “us and them” then the worse the relationship with the public will become and the less support they will have.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Very well put. A great pity that those who need to pay attention (and those who need re-education!) won’t ever see this…or read it, were they to see it. P.W.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m a cop of 20 years. I’m leaving. I’m done.

    I’m done with the duplicitous liars and twisters of truth in Parliament, who have destroyed policing in order to further their own careers. I’m done with those charlatans and snake oil salesmen and women who spread their bile, whose acid eats away at society and it’s values and future. I’m done with the utter lack of consequences for their corruption.

    I’m done with duplicitous liars and twisters of truth in the media and “journalism” with their spin, lies, misrepresentation and half truths. I’m done with their 24 hours news, their twitter echo chambers, their pile on tactics and agendas, in order to invent the next “big” story or extend the life of the old one. I’m done with their sickening pretence that they are on some crusade to make the world a better place.

    I’m done with the socially corrosive special interest groups who want to be top of the victimhood ladder and are prepared to burn the world and anyone different to them, to ensure they are heard above anyone else. Their constant screaming for attention and ever more fantastical claims, that bear no scrutiny, but which they know they will never be challenged on, because, you know “cancel culture”.

    I’m done with the public, their violence, their lying, their abuse, their spitting, their constant screaming for instant gratification and destruction of anything and everyone around them if they don’t get their own way, like a bunch of petulant adolescents. I’m done with their demand for every right real or imagined and their utter lack of personal or social responsibility to each other.

    I’m done with the senior officers who will jump on any bandwagon, throw any officer under a bus for doing their job, do anything at all to get that next rank and more power. I’m done with them pretending to be cops, when they are just politicians in uniform. At least real politicians don’t seek to hide their stench and are there for all the world to see, in all their obnoxious, odious glory.

    I’m done with the far left and far right, two sides of the same violent, socially corrosive and destructive coin, trampling over anyone and everyone, destroying anything in their paths, if it doesn’t conform to the “right” narrative or world view. I’m done with their red and black flags, their balaclavas, their violence, bullying and intimidation. I’m done with them calling themselves Nazis or Antifa and pretending they are any different to the opposition. I’m done with their anti locution and persecution of anyone that isn’t on their side. I’m done with their cheerleaders in the media, who adopt their cause but absolve themselves of any responsibility for the harm they cause.

    I’m done with the Soviet era scale bureaucracy that stops me doing my job, the projects that strangely never fail, the nepotism in the promotion boards and the boys and girls clubs in policing that look after each other, no matter how incompetent and screw everyone else who isn’t in their gang. I’m done with their self promoting cliques and associations, they hide behind when they are professionally incompetent, but always useful for a photo opportunity to make the force look good with whatever group is having their week or is fashionable that day.

    I’m done with the (few) corrupt cops who drag all our names through the mud and the false narrative that the vast majority of front line cops are tainted. I’m done seeing my brothers and sisters on the front line battered, criticised, unsupported and demoralised. I’m done with their fortitude, inherent goodness and sense of service, that makes them run forward, knowing the armchair critics will crucify them after. I’m done with their false hope that things will improve, that society will value them. I’m done with them being lied to by our leaders and then lying to themselves, that, maybe, just maybe, this time those leaders can be trusted, I’m done with seeing those youngster suffer and age far too fast as a decent life passes them by as they waste their lives on this.

    I’m done with grandstanding cops, dancing for YouTube, wearing rainbows as self promotion, kneeling for a twitter photo, lecturing the public about things that shouldn’t concern us, forgetting we are the law police, not the public morals police, Im done with them doing anything other rather than actual policing. I’m done with the false narrative that suggests this is the norm and that all cops are more interested in being woke social workers than doing their job. A false narrative we have facilitated by allowing this self indulgent, shameless self promotion of a few individuals, to proliferate.

    I’m done with cops being told they are somehow lesser without a degree and that instincts are bias and bad. That experience and street knowledge is discriminatory. I’m done with the lies that the College of Policing is on our side. That the courts value and support us.That the IOPC isn’t an insidiously untrustworthy organisation out to get us. That the HMIC understands policing.

    I’m done with the anxiety, the anger, the constant state of heightened arousal in case of danger, even when I should be feeling safe in my own home. I’m done with the corrosive damage to my physical and mental health, sacrificed for a country and public, serving both in green and blue, for a country that couldn’t give a toss. I’m done with the deaths, the suffering, the violence, the dishonesty, the predatory behaviour and all the other public faeces that you ask us to clean up.

    I’m done with the the indescribable levels of frustration, rage, hate and despair that all the above has filled my life with, when all I wanted to do was look after the good people and lock up the bad. I’m done with the cynicism and distrust that it’s left me and the times I’ve put my family last, to ensure I was there for someone else’s. I’m done with the pain it causes them to see what this job does to us.

    I’m a cop of 20 years service and I’m done with it. Sort your own mess up. Or don’t and let it all collapse around you. I’m done and really don’t care anymore.

    Like

      1. Fill your boots mate. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like this. Maybe someone who can change things, will listen. Probably not though.
        Thanks for the moral support and having our backs. Thanks for your service and the scars you got for us, back in the day.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Inside of 24hrs, over a quarter of a million people read your words. Have a look at my twitter feed @matt_johnson_UK to witness the huge levels of support you have. Social media, what you read in the press and see on the news, it’s all a bubble that limits access to the wider picture. The reality is – as was demonstrated by the responses – policing is very much supported by the public and you are very much appreciated. Be proud, hold your head up high. You’ve earned it.

      Like

  8. A really good article and hits home. As a police officer of 36 years I genuinely fear for the future of policing and by extension all of society. And I do largely blame the media and also politicians; as much those in opposition as those in power. You also talk about law abiding people protesting though I am not totally clear in the context. Let’s be clear. People protesting or even taking part in a mass vigil are not law abiding, they are breaking the law as it currently stands in the midst of a global pandemic. If society and in particular a largely self serving, self aggrandising media put as much effort into supporting and fully abiding by admittedly hastily made imperfect health protection regulations we could have suppressed this virus months ago. There should have been no protests, parades, marches, vigils, mass funerals. None whatsoever! When there have been the only people getting criticised are those charged with upholding the regulations. Regulations that were enacted to save lives. Shame on all of those who ignore that fact.

    Like

  9. Thanks for writing. I have to say as a woman in my 20s who has mostly felt positive about the police, and supported them, that has changed over the past week – and this is something which is the case with many of my friends. I do think it’s incredibly worrying that the police are now seen by some women (quite possibly many going by conversations I’ve been having with friends) as not only not being there for us but being misogynists and a threat to our safety.

    This is due not only to the in my opinion inexcusable aggression shown by police at the vigil on Saturday (I wasn’t there, and am not going to make out everyone there was impeccably behaved, but the action by police was unacceptable in my opinion with many male officers seemingly revelling in being aggressive to young women) but also it’s more than that. The officer who told a young woman who reported being flashed at that evening in Clapham it wouldn’t be looked into calling the women “rioters”, the officer involved in the search for Sarah Everard now removed from public facing duties for sharing a reportedly horrendous graphic. The response from many police officers on social media and in interviews, the response from the Met officially – blaming women, saying women forced them to react like this. The previous disbanding of the Sapphire unit. It all comes together. Watching the videos of events on Saturday, reading of how callously a woman reporting indecent exposure was treated (worse still given the circumstances), hearing how police are defending all this.

    Possibly almost as worrying is the idea amongst my friends and I that the police don’t really care that we have no trust in them and are actually for the first time ever fearing them. In our conversations, we’ve been saying we think the police probably enjoy women’s fear. I’m not saying every officer does, which clearly isn’t the case, but as an institution that’s the impression the Met has given many of us over the last week. As young women who between us have always been law abiding, and have previously been positive about the police, it’s sad and quite terrifying that on top of all the other misogyny we face daily and the fears we have of male violence we now also not only distrust but fear the police.

    Like

  10. Good article.

    It does however seem you focus so little on the direct actions of police officers but seem to have a lot to say about politicians and the media.

    Neither are responsible for racists coppers in Hampshire Constabulary that got the sack. Austerity is not responsible for coppers taking and sharing pictures of black victims of homicide in Berkshire. The Tories are not responsible for black police officers not sticking around in the Met. These lack of balanced focus, in my view, lay bare your political slant.

    That said, I agree, this must be such a confusing role to try and fill in society now. Why would anyone want to be a Police Officer when there are this many disparate voices from within and without.

    Like

  11. One thing that I thought was missing from the reporting on Sarah Everard’s kidnapping and murder was any comment on the remarkable speed with which a suspect was identified and arrested and then her body located. That was the thing that struck me most (until the trouble at the demo eclipsed everything else). So often, when someone goes missing it is months or even years before the perpetrator is found and sometimes even longer before the victim’s body is recovered. (Think of the Moors Murders, Suzy Lamplugh, Milly Dowler.)

    The police got things wrong regarding the demonstrating women on Clapham Common; perhaps they’ve been getting thing wrong regarding making our streets safer for people (not just women) to walk alone; perhaps the vetting of Wayne Couzens before he became a police officer was deficient; but the investigation into Sarah’s Everard’s disappearance seems to have been swift, thorough and efficient.

    Like

  12. This ‘crossroads’ is not something we have suddenly arrived at. I retired nearly twenty years ago, this (very accurate ) article describes exactly the Service that I left.
    When everything you do is criticized and complained about, you very quickly come to ignore all criticism.
    Those that wish to see a more receptive service have a duty to give credit where it is due; mindless I’ll directed finger pointing is poisonous and counter productive.
    ‘ When you are up to your neck in Crocodiles, it’s hard to remember that your job is to drain the swamp’,

    Like

  13. Excellent article. Is anyone listening? I agree with all you say, although I feel social media is now a bigger bogey man than “the press” and TV must share responsibility too.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What I saw reminded me of Greenham Common, and the criticism levelled at us for the way we handled female demonstrators all those years ago. Very little was mentioned at that time of just how violent, vicious and dangerous some of them were. There’s no ‘nice’ way to restrain an angry cat, and that’s what is was like trying to deal with them. Those officers in London who were ordered (possibly against the personal best judgment) to stand in front of that crowd and start to disperse it knew that was going to be dangerous and unpopular. They did their job bravely and to the best of their ability. They’d have been damned if they’d done nothing and they were to be damned for taking action. For every one of them who reads this, know that the silent majority appreciate you.

    Like

  15. I feel that the country continues to travel into a dark place. We are run by a political party that abandoned any pretense to be the ‘The party of Law and Order’ some time ago. At the time Mrs. May made her cuts she was warned of the damage she was doing to British policing. Many of us believed that her cuts would not cause an immediate collapse of policing but rather a slow erosion of capacity and capability. That has now happened. The police have been subjected to endless tinkering. None of this tinkering really achieved anything. I firmly believe that Mrs. May is completely amoral and kept her anti-police stance solely to attempt to gain votes beyond traditional conservative voters.
    The current government have managed to turn a public health crisis into a public order situation. Like too many politicians from all parties they are excellent at blame shifting, not so good at owning a problem and solving (or at least mitigating) it. The police have to deal with poorly drafted legislation and a lack of clear political direction, add to that a population that has effectively been told for the last ten years that the police/NHS/ Teachers are not to be trusted and we have quite a problem.
    Where do we go from here? I’ve just been skimming books from the 80’s and 90’s about policing and I have to say the same problems described then are still there. There has been no political effort to sort things out or start a rational discussion of what can be done. The police are expected to solve problems caused by factors that are in no way theirs to solve. I am absolutely sure though that those from the left and right wing who shout ‘defund the police’ will be delighted with the ability of SERCO and their local gang to keep order, prevent crime and treat everybody with respect.
    Retired

    Liked by 1 person

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