Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The One That Wonders What Happens When The Police Break The Law. . .

An 84-year-old activist questioned under the Terrorism Act while wearing an anti-Tony Blair T-shirt believes the powers are "persecuting innocents".

Well, yes. Difficult to pick fault with anything the old boy says there.

John Catt, from Sussex, was protesting outside Brighton's Labour Party Conference in 2005 when he was stopped and searched under the 2000 act.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission found his arrest unlawful.

So, the IPCC said his arrest was unlawful, Sussex police's reaction?

The officer "believed in good faith that the stop and search was authorised by law".

Well, that's as maybe. Firstly, he was wrong. Secondly, where was the injury? Was anyone damaged, was anyone out of pocket, did anyone have property destroyed? No. Quite simply there was no need to make this arrest.

Isolated incident?

He was also put on the PNC with an 'of interest' marker. He was subsequently pulled over by an anti-terror unit on a trip to London when his car pinged on ANPR.

Isolated incident?

I posted the video the other day of the poor old boy being ejected from the Labour Party conference and getting similar treatment when he attempted to re-enter the building.

Isolated incident?

Alex Turner was arrested by Kent Police for being 'too tall' by all accounts
(Cheers, OH).

Isolated incident?

A man was detained for taking a photograph of a police car.

Isolated incident?

Police confiscate crayons and toys at the Kingsnorth protest.

Isolated incident?

How many isolated incidents can we have before they cease to become isolated? I hate browbeating the police. I like them. I know more than my fair share of police officers, and those that I know would surprise me a great deal if they proved themselves to be anything but sensible, level-headed, committed individuals who want nothing beyond locking up bad guys.

Is it down to the target culture? Is it down to the politicisation of the senior ranks? Is it down to a small, but ever growing number of over zealous officers who want to exercise a feeling of power?

One thing that is clear, as these episodes increase and become more widely reported (the original article at the start of this posting is a lead story on the BBC down here this evening) trust in the police will erode. As trust erodes, more police officers will feel resentful, if not threatened. As that resent and threatened feeling expands, more people will be stopped, harrassed and slapped back into line, to prevent any action against the police on the street, and the erosion of trust is accelerated.

It must stop, and I'm afraid blood must be let. The officer that made the illegal arrest must lose his job. If he acts like that because an old man is wearing a T-shirt, will he taser a man for doing 10mph over the limit? Will he wrap his asp around the head of a shoplifter? Sorry, he has demonstrated he cannot be trusted with the authority given to him by US.

Senior officers must be called to account. It happens once, the Chief Constable gets a wrap on the knuckles and is told to make it clear this is not acceptable. It happens a second time, the C.C. finds his force subject to a review of all arrests under the Terrorism Act. It happends a third time, the sack. No pay-off. Gone. Take out the Inspector, Chief Inspector and Super if you have to. This ridiculous and insulting policing is just as bad as the old bent copper scenario. This is not why we have them.

1 comment:

Call me Infidel said...

I believe a directly elected Chief Constables would be a step in the right direction. A dose of job insecurity does wonders in focussing their attention. I watched a video on OH's site recently about some unrest in Luton. The police moved in with horses to break things up but it was clear that they were quite thin on the ground at times. If the perception is that the police are against the public and at the same time they are few in number there will be trouble. I could see that situation rapidly escalating and the results would not have been pleasant. As you rightly say most police are decent people who just want to go home at the end of their shift but the culture from the wankers and placemen that Liebour have introduced is one of control by fear. The trouble is that can backfire on these people as Caucescu found out to his cost.