The police do need to be independent…

 

              In a democracy the police need to be independent in important respects. We all want the police to investigate people connected with the government fearlessly if they have good reason to suspect they have committed crimes. We wish them to resist any temptation by those in power to have their political enemies investigated on trumped up charges. We expect our police to bring a neutral independence to consideration of crime and suspects, where the results of their labours are driven by the evidence rather than by any wish to please those in power , or through any sense of revenge.

              This much is usually common ground between the political parties and within Parliament. So too is the agreement that day to day running of the police is a matter for their leaders and does not normally warrant or require intervention by politicians. The Home Secretary and the Chairmen and women who run the Police Committees do not expect to help make daily decisions about what the police are doing, how many officers are working or where they are patrolling.

          It is also common ground that when it comes to deciding how much money to spend on the police, that is the job of the politicians. The money has to be voted by Parliament and by Councils. When a police force needs a new Chief Constable it is the politicians who are involved in making the decison. The police accept that they have to report on how they have spent the money and how effective their policing has been through the politicians. The police can seek changes to the law where they think that would help, but it is the politicans who decide on any such changes.

            So far so good. However, there are areas of overlap between these distinctive roles that require collaborative working and understanding. There are times when the police wish to influence the decision on how much money and how many people they need, by taking their case public to influence the politicians. The police may have views on who should be the next Chief Constable in a given area and may let that be known. The politicians may have views on what overall police priorities should be , or on how the money should be spent, so they may use public debate to influence the style or thrust of policing.

                  Both sides accept there are areas where there has to be joint working and compromise or negotiated agreement. That is why Ministers set up a Cabinet Committee to consider the recent outbreak of looting, and why senior poplice officers attended. The senior police figures saw nothing unconstitutional or unusual in the Ministerial interest in what was happening. There did need to be  a forum for the police to explain their tactics and their intentions to the politicians who in turn had to explain them to the press and public. There needed to be a forum in which the police could ask the government if they needed extra resources or changes to the law. The detailed discussion of the extent of the problem and the best response was best conducted in private. The politicians could help explain the public mood and expectation to the police, and the police could bring their proessional expertise to bear on what was feasible.

                  It is a pity there have been sharp exchanges over who did what and who is to blame. The truth in a democracy is the government has to take responsibility both for the failure to contain the looting at the beginning, and for the success in controlling it later. They in turn have to hold the police to account for their successes and their failures, though that is best done in private exchanges. When doing so Ministers need to have realistic expectations of what can be done within the agreed laws and budgets, but also to expect high standards. Ministers can review progress through review meetings, annual reports, annual budget discussions and when they come to appoint new leaders. When there is a serious problem or crisis Ministers have always been more active.

            In recent days I have posted on five occasions about the looting and violence. These five posts have prompted 807 moderated comments  – and still a few others I am working on – including one post that is the first I have written to bring in more than 200 replies. I think it shows many of you want reform in this country and think the events of the last few days might start to bring it about.

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83 Comments

  1. StevenL
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    I want to know why they buy so many high spec Mercs and BMW’s.

    Also why can’t the Proceeds of Crime Act and assets recovery system be simplified so that drug dealers, counterfeiters and money-launderers can simply be bankrupted by the judge on conviction and have 100% of their identifiable assets surrendered to the state?

    • APL
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Steven: ” the Proceeds of Crime Act and ”

      The proceeds of crime act could usefully be employed against some expense fiddling MPs, some top ex police officers who consort with known criminals and take favors in return for ….. who knows what?

    • Geoff not Hoon
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      StevenL: I guess the simple answer is because they can. Under Richard Brunstrom the former Chief Constable of North Wales all motorcycle traffic police were moved to cars and the motorcycles sold at auction. Some Honda motorcycles which were less than two years old were deemed unsafe because of a high speed ‘wobble’ and were cut up to avoid future use and sold as scrap. This despite oother forces to this day still using the same machine. Upon Brunstrom’s retirement the new CC reinstated the motorcycle traffic patrol with a completely new fleet of machines. Money is no object as you say. Each UK police authority buys in its own name and with german manufacturers discount for volume orders (whether nationally or locally) is a word not in their vocabulary.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 16, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        Geoff

        Did not know he scrapped them.

        Most sensible people would have returned them to the manufacturer saying not fit for purpose, and got their money back.

        Thats of course if there really was a fault.

        Most manufacturers would have jumped trough hoops to keep a lucrative government contract.

        Just about sums up the public sector thinking

        • Geoff not Hoon
          Posted August 16, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

          Alan,
          Honda spent a small fortune with test after test to show that police forces were placing fairly heavy equipment quite high and well towards the rear of their machines which in certain conditions could produce the wobble complained about. Brunstrom insisted his Honda’s were made unsaleable by angle grinders being applied to the frame so DVLA write off category 1 they became. In terms of not being fit for purpose I can only guess Honda adopted the attitude noone else outside of the police suffer the problem so we will not accept liability for accidents as a result of your loading the machine in this way. If you look at police vehicles around the UK Honda have done a good job of discreet market share in car and SUV vehicles but in motorcycle they have lost out big time firstly to BMW who now cannot bring enough machines to satisfy UK demand believe it or not and now to Yamaha with a well proven 1300 machine that like the Honda is also shaft drive.

          • alan jutson
            Posted August 18, 2011 at 9:15 am | Permalink

            Geoff

            Had no doubt that the Honda machine was nothing other than perfectly good, and that is probably why “the not fit for purpose situation” was never taken up, because the police would have lost the case.

            Clearly if you overload anything, but a bike in particular, it will become to a degree unstable.
            Even carrying a pillion passenger makes a bike less manouverable.

            The sad fact is, the police officer concerned had the power to waste such a huge amount of money, without any sanction being made, or taken against him.

  2. norman
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    With the best will in the world real reform will be difficult to achieve given the state of the judiciary, our current statutes and the mindset of the dominant media provider in the UK.

    I do believe Cameron is genuine in some of the things he says (that most of it is pure opportunism should go without saying given his past statements on similar issues) but, unfortunately for us, he is in a job 25 years too early. He may have been an excellent PM if he’d had that experience under his belt, more so if a lot of it was in the private sector, but he’s been shown time and time again to be out of his depth.

    Maybe he’ll prove me wrong this time but I very much doubt it.

  3. Mick Anderson
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    I have rather mixed feelings about the Police, and by extension the CPS. They should be given a set of clear laws, preferably as concise as possible that are applied evenly and without favour. That doesn’t happen.

    Any motorist fears the sight of any sort of camera at the roadside, or any vehicle in green and blue livery. It’s not the respect that we should feel for law, but the assumption that they are they to try and catch us out, with a disproportionate penalty for an accidental transgression. It’s nothing to do with trying to save lives, but to make themselves a nuisance and to raise money. So much for Mr Camerons promise to “end the war on motorists”.

    Equally, when half of the MPs were found to be fiddling their expenses, only a very few were prosecuted. Even those who have admitted their guilt have effectively been let off, some permitted to keep their ill-gotten gains, and there is plenty of written evidence. So much for blind justice.

    I have been told that there are typically only eight policemen on duty in this borough at night, and as a relatively rural area there is little chance of them responding in a sensible time. A local antique shop was raided three times in a month, and their first two response times were in excess of 20 minutes (apparently the maximum permitted is 15, the target is less than 8). We need proper patrols that prevent crime, not just a crime number after the event.

    On the one occasion that they happened across some (failed) fleeing raiders and caught them, the CPS declined to prosecute because the chase included a swim across a flooded quarry which washed the broken glass from the clothing. Not enough forensic, no case to answer.

    If you take the number of serving police and divide proportionally across the county, this town (a small sub-set of the borough) should have 32 allocated. this is more than enought to have a few on visible duty at all times, not just a part share in a handful out of office hours. Perhaps half need to be given specific duties that stop them from patrolling, but that still leaves enough for two officers on duty in the town every hour of every day.

    The previous adminstration are said to have introduced a new law nearly every day – literally thousands. I doubt if many were repealed, and equally doubt if any ordinary person could remember more than a few of the new regulations. We have been promised a Great Repeal Bill to tidy things up, but that has gone the same way as the Bonfire of Quangos.

    So, it seems as though the Police have the wrong set of priorities, and a poor way of applying justice. It’s not that they can’t be brave and resourceful, more than when they don’t need those qualities (virtually all of the time) they are not what the public needs them to be.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      “It’s not the respect that we should feel for law, but the assumption that they are they to try and catch us out, with a disproportionate penalty for an accidental transgression.”

      Indeed this is exactly what is being done with timed bus lanes (often changing time and speed restrictions for no good reason every few hundred yards), pointless no left turns, SORN declarations and endless other tricks designed to catch out victims.

      It is often just a money generation and pointless job creation scheme for parasites (though this is often not under done by the police directly).

      It all encourages a contempt for authority and the powers that be – even from those trying to law abiding in every respect.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Police patrols are completely useless at stopping crime as the police only come across a crime once every 7 years. Also if you use patrols any criminal with any sense will commit their crime after the patrol has passed.

      • zorro
        Posted August 17, 2011 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        Or maybe they might be deterred from trying to commit a crime. If you were an illegal immigrant, where would you cross, a defended or open crossing? That is why proactive patrolling is important.

        Zorro

  4. electro-kevin
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Sorry to give you such a workload, Mr R. Thank you for allowing us to express our feelings (I’d go mad otherwise)

    One gets the impression that the police have not been independant for some while now. They’ve been governed by political correctness and diversity agendas.

    Inexperienced officers are given accelerated promotion to the highest echelons by virtue of having cleared the ‘politically correct’ hurdle at all stages. This is, without doubt, the most important quality required of any officer nowadays.

    No wonder the police were impotent when the riots first broke out… hence you having to ask this question now.

    Under a mono-culture there was no ‘debate’ about style of policing. It was just done. Everyone supported it… everywhere.

    • electro-kevin
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Further: I expect that the ‘moderated’ comments were similar to my own which were moderated. They contained no foul language or language intended to incite hatred.

      If we can’t openly debate ‘babyfather’ culture then how on earth can we begin to tackle it ?

      I should also clarify that I was born in London in 1965. I grew up there and went to comprehensive schools. I have never known anything other than multi-racialism which I believe to be a good thing. That is a very different thing to multi-culturalism which I believe to be devisive and harmful if certain factions are allowed to dominate.

      • Susan
        Posted August 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        electro-kevin

        Having moved from a blog on which people seemed to be allowed to discuss anything, I am indeed struggling to understand what the boundaries are. After all it is merely my opinion I am expressing, it would be very difficult to go through a whole post however, saying ‘in my opinion’ all the time.

        I seem not to break the rules most of the time, but this is more luck than judgment. I see some comments that I feel should not have passed moderation, in my opinion, yet do. I confess to being slightly confused on this issue.

  5. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Your last sentence was one of the most encouraging I have heard on this blog.

    Tony Blair and his government did an awful lot of harm to the Police by introducing the idea of targets. I do not know who invented the idea of taking the Police off the streets and replacing them by cameras either. Suddenly the friendly Bobby turned into a Foreign Invader who generally made the wrong decision. I got this and I will never forget the sheer injustice of it all. But the decay happened after 1997.

    From here it- ACPO – looks very much like a TU organisation which is trying desperately to look after its monopoly of Policing and, frankly, not doing very well. So it is hitting out at the government as a smoke screen.

    You see we saw them standing there dressed as Robocop while flames engulfed property and looters rampaged, didn’t we..

    • rose
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      “It is a pity there have been sharp exchanges over who did what and who is to blame. The truth in a democracy is the government has to take responsibility…”

      It seems to me that quite a few exchanges have been stirred up or misrepresented by our broadcasters and newspapers, and exploited by the opposition. When I hear the original interview, and then the BBC summary of it 15 minutes later, I don’t just feel sharp, I am enraged.

      It seems irresponsible elements in the media and the opposition are happy to see the world set on fire if they can make a point against the government, and the trade union element in the police are getting almost as bad.

      This is the ugly side of democracy. We saw it here in the 19th century over massacres on the Continent, and we have seen it in the USA this century, during war time. But each time it has been the liberal/left which has refused to close ranks in times of grave emergency, not the conservatives, and that is one of the more striking differences between them.

  6. Matt
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    In the decade to 2008/09 total spending on police grew by 50% to £14.5bn and the number of officers went up by 12% to 142,000 (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies Kings College London)

    Plus thousands of Blunkett’s Bobbies were recruited.

    Police overtime in the past decade has reached a total of almost £4bn, more than doubling in the period. Some forces seem able to control overtime, others seem to have little control)

    An increase in officers has led not to a decrease in overtime, but to an increase.

    Long term sickness or restricted duties amongst officer’s runs regularly at 6% to 10% of the force.

    Add to this the final salary pension scheme (although the police do make a hefty personal contribution)

    Two issues

    I don’t think that we have seen benefits commensurate with the increase in the resources (But this is a whole new area)

    There must be savings to be made in this budget.

    Every finance director knows that overtime is a wasteful area, not as productive and the premium element (contained in the time and a third, time half, double time) is money down the drain and should be eliminated.

    Many groups do not receive overtime payments….. The armed forces for example

    Couldn’t this apply to the police? Or at least introduce into new contracts that the first five hours “overtime” per month goes unpaid – hardly radical.

    Have a rigorous medical assessment to determine if sick pay is applicable (This is a problem throughout the public sector)

    • uanime5
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      If you don’t pay the police overtime they won’t work overtime. So the next time there’s a riot don’t expect a large police presence.

  7. Nick
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    In a democracy the police need to be independent in important respects. We all want the police to investigate people connected with the government fearlessly if they have good reason to suspect they have committed crimes.

    =============

    Damien Green.

    Look at the fuss you made about them investigating Green.

    Likewise with the (problems-ed) of the investigation into peers by Michael Pownall. Then his report into what they had done is made a state secret. What was Michael Pownall’s job? Dishing out the expenses to peers.

    Police to be independent from interference by politicians? I think its time you took up an alternative career as a stand up comedian. 🙂

    • sjb
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      The treatment of Damian Green demonstrates the dominance of the Executive. Mr Green, then a senior opposition politician, disclosed embarrassing failures at the Home Office. The Permanent Secretary called in the police. The Serjeant at Arms (a former manager at the Department of Employment) expressly allowed the police – curiously drawn from the counter-Terrorism branch – to search Mr Green’s parliamentary offices. They also searched his home reducing his wife to tears, possibly because they read the Green’s love letters. Media briefings used the term “grooming” in an attempt to blacken Mr Green’s name. Some time later another Tory MP (I forget his name … a very tall chap?) succumbed to pressure from a WPC and let her read constituency correspondence. Would any other legislature of the first rank let such conduct pass without serious sanction?

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted August 16, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        OK and while we are on this tack, let us remember the (grant-ed) of peerages (and allegations about donations-ed). When this happened before in the 1920s with Maundy Gregory, the Police went in and Mr Gregory was arrested and disgraced.
        For some reason, the enquiry was dropped this time shortly before the resignation of the then Prime Minister……..
        (also allegations re Menendez shooting-ed)

      • rose
        Posted August 16, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        sjb, this is as good an example you could give of why it was the House of Commons which needed reform, and not the hereditary House of Lords. The House of Commons hasn’t held the executive properly to account. Is it that the modern process of election doesn’t necessarily throw up the right sort of person to do that? To speak truth to power? Our cybertutor is in a different class altogether, and so are one or two others on both sides who have remained on the back benches, or returned there. but the House as a whole has failed to do its duty, and reducing the sitting times to fit in with children’s bathtime etc have only made it worse.

        • sjb
          Posted August 17, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

          Rose, the problem is the Executive have far too much control of Parliament. They have about one hundred seats in the HoC (ministers, whips and arguably PPSs). Of the remaining MPs, some lust for a seat on the government front bench and others hope the PM’s powers of patronage will transport them to the red leather benches of the House of Lords.

          I think it has been difficult to attract “the right sort of person” because who wants to risk their private life being splashed all over the tabloids and upsetting their family? However, it seems one benefit of the Human Rights Act 1998 is that judges are using Article 8 to protect people from these intrusions. So perhaps in time that will improve the quality of MPs – although I suspect by then their first choice will be the European Parliament.

  8. Nick
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    And still we don’t have prosecutions for the general looting of public money by 52% of MPs.

    Somehow I doubt that lesson will be discussed by any committee.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    For a start I suggest a return to Peel’s Nine Principles of Policing:

    http://www.civitas.org.uk/pubs/policeNine.php

    “The sentiments expressed in the ‘Nine Principles’ reflect those contained in the ‘General Instructions’, first published in 1829, which were issued to every member of the Metropolitan Police, especially the emphasis on prevention of crime as the most important duty of the police.”

    “1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.

    2. To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.

    3. To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.

    4. To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.

    5. To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion; but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour; and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.

    6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.

    7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

    8. To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.

    9. To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.”

    • oldtimer
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      I agree. This is a very clear statement that is as valid today as when it was originally published in 1829.

      I am curious about ACPO, why it was started, how it has grown and acquired an increasing range of functions, and just where it fits in the structure of policing in this country. I read that it is constituted as a company limited by guarantee. Quite how that fits in with #7 above “…To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police…” is unclear to me. Can someone please explain?

      • Mark
        Posted August 16, 2011 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        ACPO is a private monopoly that gets income from such activities as CRB checks and courses for those caught by speed cameras. Many of these money printing activities were granted by Labour to keep the police onside for their vision of criminalising the middle classes while leaving the underclass to fester. It should be disbanded and wound up.

        • MickC
          Posted August 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          Entirely agree.

          ACPO is an insidious organisation which has been given political power to which it is not entitled and which it exercises without democratic oversight.

          Orde is a public servant who believes he is the master and should be restrained. If he wants political power let him seek it by election-and then see what support he gets.

        • Liz
          Posted August 16, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          Do the members of ACPO get paid from the public purse in which case how many hours are they spending working for this organisation at public expense or from ACPO in which case how is pay apportioned between the two bodies, one public and one private? I agree it should be abolished and senior officers concentrate 100% on their public duties.

        • APL
          Posted August 17, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

          Mark: “It [ACPO] should be disbanded and wound up.”

          Agree.

  10. stred
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    I agree that the ordinary plods must be very frustrated about the way that their officers and the CPS run the system. I was told that the relatively small county force in my area had 5 safety officers, who risk assess operations. It would be interesting to know how many the metropolitan police have. They were reported as having a permanent staff of around 20 public relations spinners in the recent scandal.

    A senior officer was complaining on the BBC that they just could not get it right with the public. When they went in heavily, as with the kettling of the political protest and beat the news seller over the head, they are accused of violence but when they stand back and observe looting thugs causing large scale arson, they are accused of doing nothing. What can they do, poor souls.

    Could I suggest that the reason for the different approaches is that a risk assessment would flag up that the drug dealing gangs, organising the looting, possibly had guns. The officers trying to deal with them were unarmed and outnumbered. 8000 were initially sent to deal with the situation. What is the total number of officers in this force?

    Reply: I believe the Met has 32,000

    • rose
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Not only can the police not get it right, the politicians can’t either. First they were criticised for being on holiday in August, and then when they came back to give the leadership and resolve people were clamouring for, they were criticised all over again, for doing just that, including by some police of all people!

  11. lifelogic
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Indeed but it is hard for something to be independent of government when they clearly control it’s budget, policy and appointments. The government also endless changes the way it get the police to record crimes for political reasons.

    Similarly the BBC claims to be independent. But look what happened when they, perfectly correctly, accused the last government of sexing up the dossier. So the BBC happily push the pro EU, pro global warming and big state line that they know the government wants to see and hear. Partly because they employ people with “Guardian think” genes and also a sort of “group think” political line takes over where independent thought is not welcome. It become very hard to change direction after years of taking one wrong line.

    I assume as the global warming line become increasingly hard to maintain any longer they will just eventually claim some benefit for having helped solved the non problem through years of their propaganda and move on.

    The police are hugely selective on what they choose to investigate and to act on – anyone famous or in the public eye often gets very different treatment (in both directions) for reasons of appearance.

    I have had very few dealing with the police but when reporting crimes in London I have been very unimpressed with their reluctance to do anything what so ever to investigate. They just post of a victim of crime leaflet out. Even taking the reports seemed to be an great irritation to them. I have also been horrified by press releases and leaks from the police’s PR rubbishing people’s characters incorrectly when it suited them to do so.

    • Mark
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      One fact I had forgotten was that Blunkett had changed shoplifting for under £200 from being a criminal offence to getting a fixed on the spot penalty of £80, like a parking ticket, in 2004. No wonder the looters thought they could get away with it.

      Meantime we have seen newly minted Thoughtcrimes drive people from their businesses alongside many other ways of attacking the middle classes.

  12. Horatio McSherry
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    John, one thing I’d like to raise is the ridiculous statements from the police in the last week or so, running a weary hand across their collective brow complaining that they’re criticized when they’re too hard on protesters yet now they’re too soft on rioters.

    If they can’t differentiate between protesters (whether they’re behaving or not) and rioters, then those people should be removed from all areas of the police force. Even if you could make the point that the police have their hands tied behind their back in cetain situations, to stand motionless feet away from youngsters stealing televisions and setting fire to people’s homes and businesses, THEN, have the temerity to threaten the home and business owners for taking the law into their own hands, then policemen/women at all levels need a boot up their backside to remind them of what their job should be – ie to protect the public and keep the peace.

    I do agree with the police that people shouldn’t take the law into their own hands. However the events of the past week have added a proviso to that. You do not take the law into your own hands in the absence of the police; however, if the police literally refuse to protect your life, livelihood or proterty (as they did during the riots) then the police are absolving themselves of the responsibility to protect and therefore delegating it to the community they are leaving unprotected.

    • ReefKnot
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      They do have the temerity to threaten home and business owners for taking the law into their own hands. But whose law is it ? I thought it was our law anyway – to be made or amended through Parliament which derives its sovereignty from the people. And as I understand it, members of the public are actually obliged to prevent crime and apprehend criminals, its just that we sub-contract that responsibilty to the police – who are only members of the public after all. But if the police are not carrying out their side of the bargain, the public have a duty to step in to uphold their own laws.

  13. alan jutson
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    John

    Our problem is not just the police is it. it is the entire justice system.

    The police spend tooo much time on paperwork, so time on the beat is only a fraction of what is REQUIRED and EXPECTED.

    Because too few a police are on the street, too fewer crimes get detered, investigated or solved, so much easier to give out a crime reference number after the event and forget about it.

    Because we do not have enough police investigating crime, the CPS wants any crime that is investigated, to have almost cast iron proof of guilt, and if that does not exist it does not go to court.

    Beacuse we have too few prisons, we do not like to send too many convicted criminals to prison (no room) so those who really deserve to go have room for them made by letting others (who still have time to serve) out early.

    We have total confusion on sentencing, for a whole range of crimes that could be charged under a whole range of different headings, and when a sentence is eventually given, virtually no one does the full time.

    We have community service orders that are subject to strict health and safety laws and human rights, which are almost impossible to enforce properly or fully. (a friend of ours used to try and supervise such and gave up in frustration after 6 years )

    We now have it would seem from press reports today, that sentences for the rioters should be made harsher (instructions to magistrates) than existing guidelines permit, so that they are made an example of. Whilst I agree that such offenders should be traeted hrshly we simply cannot have justice made up on the hoof. !

    The answer is simple:
    Build more prisons,because when you are off the streets you CANNOT take part in more crime.

    Double the Police on the Streets, by halving the paperwork, so this can be done at no extra cost.

    Have fewer but more simple laws with fixed terms, scaled up from first offence (minimum sentence) to multiple offences, say 25% extra for second offence, 50% extra for third offence etc. in an effort to try and deter lifestyle criminals.

    Simplify the reasons for getting off on a technicality (wrong paerwork, order of chaging etc) so that if it has no real bearing on the case, a simple error will not mean a defendant will get off.

    With enough prisons and prison places, perhaps we can get some sort of real rehabilitation system going.

    Clearly there are many more points to make, but at present many of us feel that because we are legal, pay tax, have a driving licence, have a home, have a job or income, we are a soft touch for automatic justice, when those that commit real crime get treated in a much different manner.

    Oh and get rid f the Human Rights act in its present form, it is being abused.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Instead of more prisons, why not open a few camps up.? There might be some old barracks which could be used. Each camp needs a Commander and some decent minded people who will stand no nonsense to run it. They might like to give the prisoners free clothing too. Perhaps something stripy and smart? Or perhaps something bright and orange? Obviously these chavs would have to work to support themselves and, of course, men and women would be separated. Because of sexism, women Officers might be allowed to discipline male prisoners with dogs perhaps? And of course, leave them naked in the corridors if they misbehaved? Obviously photos might be circulated of the miscreants on Facebook? (etc etc-ed) It wouldn’t cost that much really.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      We don’t need more prison places to get a rehabilitation system going. If would be better if we had less prison places, shorter sentences, and more rehabilitation.

      • rose
        Posted August 17, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        Paradoxically, although we send so many people to prison, we still send fewer than other European countries for comparable crimes – i.e. fewer prison sentences are given here for serious crimes. We just have more crimes committed here overall, and we aren’t allowed to break down the detail of who, what, and why. So although we seem more punitive by comparison with others, we aren’t really.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 17, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

        uanimes5

        If you had either family members or close frieds working in the prison service, you may understand a littlemore about its workings, and you would know that for many people, prison is the only suitable place for them, some are beyond help, some do not want help, some do all they can to turn away help.
        All they know is crime, all they want to know is crime and how to make an easy buck.

        It may sound simplistic and cruel, but we need more prison places not less.

        We need a justice ystem that deters, not one which is laughed at.

        Yes we do need to rehabilitate those who are willing, but in a properly controlled environment, whilst they are paying their dues to society for crimes that they have committed.

        The do gooders have had their time and failed disastrously, we are in a dire state BECAUSE of political correctness and the Human Rights Act being taken to extreme.

        Get real please.

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    The initial police response to the riots and looting was inadequate and showed the thugs that they had an opportunity to loot and burn with impunity. The initial trouble started on Saturday 6 August and it wasn’t until after the Cobra meeting on Tuesday 9 August that the numbers of police on the streets were to be massively increased and we heard talk of robust policing. This may have been decided by the police but it seems strange and inexplicable that they waited quite so long to do what the majority of the public would have thought obvious. The Prime Minister was duty bound to announce this to an anxious public. We now have the uneddifying spectacle of two senior police officers, who I understand are candidates for the post of Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, speaking publicly in a rather disparaging way about senior politicians. In addition the police “unions” are attempting to exploit the situation for their own advantage with regard to police budgets. It seems to me that certain prominent members of the police are behaving more like politicians than leaders of an independent police force (which I know they like to call a service).

    • rose
      Posted August 18, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear, Brian.

      Also, the Prince of Wales has said some sensible things about why boys join gangs.

      Something else he couldn’t say, and what we all know, is that the police, and the rest of the authorities, have retreated from the public space. They have lost control of law and order, and this impinges first, and worst, on poor neighbourhoods. So boys in poor neighbourhoods are making rational decisions, as well as emotional ones, when they join gangs for their own protection.

      When we were on the edge of anarchy here last week, I didn’t consider ringing 999. I knew it would be futile. Instead, I weighed up which was the strongest local mafia. Not the one I felt the most affinity with, but the strongest. It was a tossup between the long established Italian one, and the more recently arrived Turkish one. As it happens, I have an affection for both nationalities, but that was not what decided me in those days of anxiety and fear.

      Perhaps I should add, that no-one could be more fuddy duddy or law abiding than I, and I think the same goes for the Prince of Wales, in his very much more exalted position.

      • rose
        Posted August 18, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        PS Our police here in Bristol did much better than elsewhere, and we, the cradle of this sort of riot, came off better than some other cities, including smaller and more homogeneous Gloucester nearby. I think intelligence and experience had a lot to do with it. But the other factor, which didn’t seem to benefit other cities, was a local news blackout. It was some days before it became clear what had been going on here, and it certainly wasn’t reproted vividly on the national news; so the police only had to deal with those already there, or on their portable telephones, not, as in 1980, with carloads of opportunists from the suburbs.

  15. Anoneumouse
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Independent yes but not as a limited company

    The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO Ltd), which oversees everything from anti-terrorism policy to speed cameras has long threatened the autonomy of chief officers to run their own forces. It’s a poodle to the Home Office and is accountable to no-one.

    • ReefKnot
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      ACPO is a private limited company that makes a profit. It is not accountable to the public and should be abolished forthwith.

  16. Steve Cox
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    How independent are the police in reality? Recall the cash-for-honours inquiry that got as far as His Highness in No 10? Poor old Yates of the Yard had to call off his investigation when His Highness threatened to resign as PM. I wonder what the real story behind that is, but it doesn’t sound very independent to me. Then there’s the MP’s expenses scandal. Well, it wasn’t our illustrious police investigators who uncovered that mess, but the Daily Telegraph. Even when it became clear that the game was up, the police seemed to be very slow and reluctant to bring charges. Personally, I’m all for genuine independence, which I feel can only really be guaranteed when we have locally elected police chiefs, so that cops are directly answerable to the people they serve, rather than to venal and sometimes corrupt politicans. How high is this on Mr. Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ agenda?

  17. Jer
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I am a fat, middle-aged, white, middle class professional.

    I seldom encounter the police, but when I do I don’t feel they serve me, or my interests. This is the prevailing view in my peer group also. Quite how they failed to find any evidence of cash for honours is a mystery to most of us.

    I would like to know quite how much money ACPO is spending on lobbying against the governement too, especially as it’s my money.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Quite how they failed to find any evidence of cash for honours is a mystery to most of us.

      Indeed it was all just a coincidence that so many had given to the party shortly before being elevated – what is “beyond reasonable doubt” as a probability I wonder – 1 in 1million 1 in 100 million?

  18. Graham Cook
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Independent police in a democracy!!

    Counts the UK out then.

  19. Acorn
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Some years back, I remember reading “police do not defend property anymore”. The implication was that it was easier to achieve prosecution targets if you deploy after the event policing. The scroats would literally convict themselves via CCTV and DNA samples left at the scene of the burglary. Hence we have more CCTV and DNA samples on file than any other nation.

    You can run the system such that you need less expensive officers on night shifts, just send round the detectives the next day. It’s policing Jim but not as we thought it was! The hiking of insurance premiums on real property being a consequence the punters will blame on the capitalist insurance companies. This might explain the police playing stand back and spot the hoodie on the first night of the riot. The trouble is, it does not play well on 24/7 television. Particularly as the same few feet of tape – or digital equivalent – are played over and over again. Some of the faces in the crowd may be “very” familiar to some of those officers! Anyway, the next time you take a taxi out of Heathrow, ask the driver. He may well have done the riot control course.

    So who do we put the money on for the next Met Commissioner. As you have to be a UK national and a Chief Constable or the equivalent Ass., Commissioner to be considered; the police trade unions / ACPO, will have it sorted already. Fortunately, of the police officers I have met in local government, I would trust all of them to hold my wallet and that makes me feel good.

  20. William Grace
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    “I think it shows many of you want reform in this country and think the events of the last few days might start to bring it about.”

    Yeah, right. Guess what John, physical actions speak louder than words, do yourself a favour and point that out to your buddy Dave.

    Great, you’ll put children in Jail, you’ll crack down on Fathers (without understanding that it takes 2 people to make a child and sometimes you get women who play the game as well)

    You will do the little things, quick and easy with smiles and laughter, but when it ever comes to sorting out what makes the people angry in the first place, MPs stealing and selling themselves. The police telling people it is a waste of their time investigating them crimes against them. Councils paying people 6 figure or high 5 figure salaries for consultation. You’ll stop short, give a speech and smile, thinking job done, where is that receipt I need to claim for my travel.

    You know, you ask people to “Shop” the rioters, isn’t it amazing that no MP ever “shopped” another MP? Of course you are all so good at hiding things and keeping secrets I guess that not one of you ever knew another MP that was peddling himself or figuring out how to fiddle a new garden?

    If you stop and think, don’t you think the “common man” might be able to figure that one out, you all say one thing, yet do another. One rule for them, another for yourselves? You hear the recording, its all the governments fault, but you all give speeches on how to fix other things, not yourselves.

    I’ve stated this before, I will state it again, it shouldn’t be a “joke” that the no politician can be trusted, just the thought of it, the little giggle you give when it is mentioned, well who trusts a politician anyway, the same you get from a journalist, its wrong, and THAT is what needs to be fixed first!

    You honestly couldn’t see the wood for the trees. (Sad pun but hey, sad politician)

  21. Geoff not Hoon
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Mr.Redwood, As you will know not all ‘forces’ are funded alike. The met. for instance is almost totally central government funded whereas north wales and others are both council and centrally funded. These sometimes odd lines of funding, sometimes for no other reason than historical ones, added to the constant confusion as to who a Chief Constable is responsible to ie Home Sec., Police Authority etc. just make it that more of a dogs breakfast to pin down who is responsible for what. Worse some CC’s take advantage of the situation. We all remember Boris as Mayor being told live on camera by the then Met. Commisioner “if you have the power to remove me do it otherwise I will get on with my job”. In business clear lines of reporting are essential for a whole host of reasons. We do not have such ‘lines’ with our police forces IMHO.

  22. Susan
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I think in the past, the general public had a lot of respect for the Police, however I believe times have changed and now they have very little. A great deal of law abiding people go to the Police and expect them to be on their side when they have a problem, it very rarely turns out that way. In most instances of anti social behaviour, members of the public are left to accept the bad behaviour and damage to property as the Police do nothing. In some instances it can cause more problems if the Police are called in, and do nothing, as the anti social behaviour then can accelerate due to calling them in in the first place. The usual answer from the Police to anti social behaviour is that the public must not demonize children. So in the end no one bothers to call the Police any more and thus live in constant fear of the next attack. The same approach is taken by the Police on theft, shopping lifing and any small crime. The public see the Police as mere traffic cops, picking on drivers for any small transgression, and laying in wait for hours in cars to achieve this, or for picking up drunks on a Saturday night. Difficult crime is never adressed.

    The Police service is in need of reform, that much is certain. The cuts would hardly be noticed by them if they concentrated their efforts on the right sort of issues. Instead they are using the riots as a political tool, to keep this failing service as it is. Spreading fear amongst the public that they will not be able to cope in times of crisis, is more proof of their inability to be effective, than it is a reason not to reform.

    The truth is, the Police did not have the riots under control until the Politicians returned and took control, particularly Mr. Cameron. Yet getting the Police Service to admit this seems as far away as ever.

    Theresa May has some excellent ideas on how the Police can be reformed, but I believe she will receive considerable resistance to them being introduced from within the service itself. Just as society in general has changed over recent years, so has the quality of the Police. Those newly recuited for instance, may have a different outlook on society in general, having been brought up in a much more liberal society than previous generations of the Police.

    Just a comment on the riots. I can see all the resolve to make changes to UK society slipping away again, as the same old excuses we have heard for years are rolled out. It is because there are no jobs, it is because of poverty etc etc. I wish the media who push this agenda could be closed down for a while, particularly the BBC. None of this is true, unless discipline in the schools and in the home is brought back, a something for nothing culture changed, respect for others in society introduced again, responsibility for ones actions mandatory, these problems in society will continue and increase. It is to be remembered that the riots may have been sorted out for now, but ordinary members of the public have to live with these people on their streets all the time.

    • rose
      Posted August 18, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the younger generation of police have no idea of the high standards of behaviour we had in the past. They see nothing wrong with a whole lot of behaviour which degrades our environment, from littering and graffiti, to excessive noise and aggressive driving; from barbecues and fires in public parks and gardens, to rowdy parties in the street at night; from parking on pavements and dumping of rubbish, to keeping dustbins out all the time; and they never condemn or contest excessive drinking and licensing. They think everyone gets drunk as a matter of course. Yet that has done more to coarsen our country and despoil our cities and towns than anything else. Though it is drugs that have caused the growth of much of the organised crime and violence.

  23. Mark
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    A large part of the problem is that the police became the co-conspirators in the deconstruction of society that was the agenda of Labour politicians inspired by Gramsci and Marcuse. Part of that included letting (questionable practise-ed) attack all levels in the police unchecked – from payment for hacking tips onwards an upwards to the incentives provided by the licensed commercial activities of ACPO. Another important part is the training that gives senior officers an indoctrination into the concept that alienation and anomie are acceptable excuses for crime: their training has been captured by cultural Marxists (and the same is true with teachers).

    The IPCC seems to be the Institutional Police Cover-up Committee, after its repeated failures on even the most high profile cases such as de Menezes and Tomlinson (and it seems to be making a mess of Duggan as well): it needs a real independence that it sadly lacks.

  24. Damien
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    The public response both here and through the e-petition has been overwhelming and it remains to be seem how politicians respond to the 204,000 petitions that rioters should lose their benefits. The current position seems to be that those who receive a non-custodial sentence can retain their benefits. This position is unsustainable and the cause of much anger among the vast majority of law abiding citizens and I suspect some Labour and Lib Dem politicians have greatly misjudged the public mood on this matter.

    More generally our public service broadcaster , with the few notable exceptions like Paxman and Dimbleby , report the news with a bias more often than not. There is little opportunity to respond to the daily bulletins on TV. The national broadcaster seems more like an organ of the government opposition rather than an independent body. What can be done to restore faith in the BBC?

    • uanime5
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      If you remove their benefits they’ll just turn to crime for money and prison (free housing and food). The public didn’t think this through.

  25. stred
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    My experience of justice while staying in London over the past 2 years is as follows. Fined £80 for parking on a strip of tarmac between the road and a wide footpath. Our sat nav stolen- an hour to report at police station but no hope of crime solved. Recently I caught two 6ft burglars breaking into rear gate of neighbour and confronted them face to face. Police have not bothered to contact me following report by neighbour.

    Five years ago I was threatened by a large idiot who thought I was gay because of my white trainers. He said he was going to kill me. Though quite large and capable of defending myself, I called Sussex police and explained the situation to their call centre. They could not come out as’ he had not actually done anything yet’. Fortunately, he backed off.

    Passed 6 PCs, nicely dressed in their uniforms, and operating a speed safety enforcement operation by the racecourse.

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Stred

      Many of us have had a similar experience.

      Friends of ours had their garage broken into (garage part of house) reported crime to the local police, a few tools and golf clubs stolen, he chased the police up after 14 days, only to be given a crime number. They never did visit his house.

      He has now been done by the local speed camara doing 35mph in a 30 limit when having already lifted off the excelerator and going down hill on the overrun.

      I myself reported youths misbehaving in the garage opposite our house late at night (after midnight), took two calls, one hour apart before they arrived, they only turned up after the second call, after I said I was about to sort it out myself with a lump of 4×2.

      Couple of months ago my wife done with a mobile speed camera in Crowthorne (John knows the area well) on the way to work, she was doing 34 mph in a 30 limit, policeman was hiding behind a wall, did not even have courtesy to stop her, she got notification in the post 2 weeks later.

      I could go on with countless other examples, as I am sure can most people.

      By the way John, police say thy do not hide speed cameras, that is a lie, they do, they had a dark red (builders signed) van installed with a camera working through the rear window on the Crowthorne/ Sandhurst road, which I passed when travelling in the other direction some moths ago.

      And they wonder why the general public do not co- operate at times.

      Years ago if your children were in any sort of trouble (lost, worried etc) you taught them to find a policeman for safety, now they (the police) look like thugs themselves, often dressed in riot type uniform gear, stab proof vests, handcuffs, pepper spray and batons on show, along with the big boots look.
      Aware that they have to be prepared, but surely they can look a little more attractive, friendly and approachable.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      If all this is true – and I do not doubt it – it is a new development dating precisely back to 1997. A farmer then in Thirsk, North Yorks, complained to the Police that people had broken into his barn and were stealing equipment.
      They actually did turn up – a week later!
      I can remember the shock: this was utterly incomprehensible then.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 17, 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        Mike

        Rest assured it is true.

        Our friend a couple of years later became the neighbourhood watch co-ordinator for his local area, so concerned was he that localised crime was rising and nothing seemed to be done about it.

        He was then asked to recruit neighbours, and he was fed information via computer each month from the police co-ordinator on local crime and crime trends, which he then sent on to others in his local NW group.

        Given his new status, when he rang the police, (now a personal contact number) on anything, he usually got listened to.

  26. English Pensioner
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    What I find of concern is the status of APCO.
    The Head of APCO seems to have ideas above his status and is starting to believe that he and his organisation determine the policing policy of this country, not Parliament and our MPs.
    APCO is nothing more than a glorified Trade Union for senior police officers, but unlike other trade unions, it receives a grant from the government to cover its running costs and when it meets, those attending do so at the public expense.
    APCO is strongly opposed to the idea of locally elected police chiefs and has devoted much time, since this government was elected, to opposing the idea with it seemingly becoming APCO’s chief pre-occupation. If those concerned had paid more attention to crime and less interest to playing politics, they might possibly have noticed the riot situation creeping up on them.
    As I keep saying, the Government would not allow their transport policy to be dictated by the RMT union, why do they allow APCO to try to dictate policing policy.

    Somewhat of topic, this news item in the Daily Mail which shows why none of us have much faith in the law. A Judge reduced the sentence of a Jamaican drug dealer from a year to 11 months so that he would not be deported at the conclusion of his sentence. He had already been deported twice previously and had come back illegally!

  27. Quietzapple
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    There are sufficient disputes about events let alone causes for an independent inquiry into the whole matter to be obvious.

  28. rose
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    When Enoch made his speech in 1968 he got 100,000 letters, in pen and ink, sent through the post.

  29. rose
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    “We wish them to resist any temptation by those in power to have their political enemies investigated on trumped up charges.”

    When a certain campaigning politician was inciting people to riot, I did wonder if the police would be able to charge him with this offence, and what the world’s dictators would have said about it.

  30. Mike Fowle
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the comment that the behaviour of senior police officers has been unedifying. It seems pretty obvious that their tactics at the start of the rioting were inadequate and allowed events to get out of hand. Even if they feel the criticism is unfair, I think the police high command should be backing politicians – our elected representatives – and not sounding self justifying and whining. Sometimes in that sort of position you have to swallow your pride and serve the interests of the country.

  31. pipesmoker
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    JR I absolutely agree with you, the police force, not service, has to be independent of politics and impartial and it’s members answerable to the law’s of the country. It’s primary duties are keeping the Queen’s Peace and the prevention of crime and there success is difficult to quantify.

    Detecting crime is a dark art and the methods used very often almost as evil as the criminal acts themselves, they have to be lawful, but amongst those that commit crime there are those that can be persuaded to shop the perpetrators, their reasons are diverse. That is what the beat officer and detective should be about and you make your own luck and regulation stifles it. The motoring offence or infidelity for information, not a bad trade?

    Local knowledge used to be the prize tool of a good copper. Ok you could say nowadays people travel, they have to live somewhere and their neighbours could be cultivated for information. Better than the current CCTV methods?

    When in the job I had the view that if the police were unable or unwilling to enforce the law then the public would and that is not a pleasant way to go!

  32. Alan Redford
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I have never known such widespread contempt amongst ordinary folk for all the apparatus of the State – from MPs right down to council officials. Corruption, whether it be fraudulent expense claims, or simply expanding a department with unecessary and underemployed personnel has spread throughout the entire public sector. The result is that state expenditure is 52% of GDP, when one of the state buzzwords for years has been ‘sustainability’.

  33. Richard
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    You say… the police need to be more independent….in my view thats the problem… they are already far too independent.

    I would like to see elected Police chiefs, CPS heads and Magistrates, who might then treat their local citizens with a bit more care and consideration when deciding what crimes they can be bothered to turn up to investigate and decide which crimes they can be bothered to take to court and consider more carefully the views of the public when handing down sentences.

    ACPO needs to be abolished, it costs us and its just a trade union talking shop for the top brass who are becoming political and over powered.

    The new Met motto should be “we know best” or perhaps “just give us your money and leave us alone”

    I have to say that if I was a Company Director and one of my senior staff spoke out in public as Sir Hugh Orde has done recently then I would sack him straight away.

    Reply: I did not say “more”

    • pipesmoker
      Posted August 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Richard

      I think you are wrong and too much interference is the problem in police work.

      Crime needs to be investigated and detected and the average member of the public does not need to know how, just that it has been and the problem is that too many prying eyes mean it isn’t.

      Think on this. A pre payment gas or electric meter allegedly broken into by a burglar. The detective knows it’s internal and arrests the householder. He knows a bit about the wife, uses it and she is forthcoming about some loot in the house and some local jobs are cleared up. Informants locked up in the next cell to an offender to absolve them of being grasses and so on. It’s a dirty world?

      Like I said in my previous post things are never what the appear to be and best not looked into too closely? In the end the police are answerable to the law of the country.

  34. sm
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    The Operational Police do need to be mostly independent when dealing with crime.

    It is important that the exec or individual MP’s cannot be allowed to be exempt from the laws applied to others (except in performance of those duties in the public interest).

    Judge-led investigations should be the norm in high profile instances with constitutional issues.However we do not need any secret justice applying and the premise should be that of open proceedings and disclosure.

    Other than that control via Politicians is required either that or elected sheriffs or other mechanisms.

    DC is on collision course with the Human Rights Act and its interpretation by judges. (Deportation cases for example and a lot other issues)

    Frankly – via the exec – he has all the power he wants to take – and thats the way it will stay – when we see representative MP’s and referism our problems will soon end.

  35. alan jutson
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    “Reform in this Country”

    Politically there has never been a better chance/opportunity.

    Welfare reform, stop paying people to do nothing.

    Tax reform, lets make work pay.

    Benefits reform, redce the number of benefits and make a five year contribution record for anyone before entitlement.

    Re form of the justice system, blogged on this above.

    Reform with the EU (at the very, very least, re negotiation so we can govern ourselves and have our own immigration policy)

    Value for money civil service and small government, so renegotiate all terms and conditions of employment.

    At the moment John everything it seems is in absolute chaos.

    Take the opportunity and make some very big changes so we can live within our means, encourage everyone to contribute to society, or lose the opportunity.

    Which is it, reform or bust ?

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Suggest we fix the tax take at 35% of last years actual GDP, then make a one percentage point reduction per year, until you get down to 25%.

      Then make it law that unless a referendum is held, tax take cannot increase.
      Spending limits are then known in advance, and are not based on some fantasy figure forecast for the future.

      Once a departments spending has been reached, thats it, no more spending, its manage the budget or those responsible get dismissed.

      Sounds tough, but its not if you compare it with private industry who are looking for savings each year.
      They either succeed or they fail as a business.

      Governments spending then only increases as the GDP grows, so the incentive is all positive.

  36. Susan
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    I submitted a comment at 11.53 this morning that I feel answered your question and in my view was not inflammatory and provided a number of thought provoking points. Yet it has not yet passed moderation and put onto this site.

    What is the reason as this is not the first time this has occurred? A response would be appreciated.

    Reply: I have one of yours in pending because it mainly refers to another outside site which I do not know and do not yet have time to check out.

    • Susan
      Posted August 17, 2011 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Mr. Redwood

      Thank you for your reply. However, I am somewhat perturbed, as there are no embedded links, or reference to other sites in my post and the only orgainsation I mention is the BBC.

      reply: the one I saw has an embedded link to twitter. I do not recognise the other one you refer to.
      If you want to make it easy for me to simply post what you write please do not include links – other than to well known and libel conscious sites – and avoid allegations/provocative language against individuals and groups. It is time consuming trying to edit things, but less time consuming than posting them and then having to deal with all the complaints that come in from those who dislike it. I am trying to run a site which thrives on good democratic debate – that requires few rules and some understatement at times.

      • Susan
        Posted August 17, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        Mr. Redwood,

        Thank you for clarifying, however, I have sent no such post, you have the wrong person.

        I do not use twitter and never put embedded links or references to other sites in my posts.

        The post you have pending of mine, is merely my opinions on the Police, nothing more. It contains no allegations/provocative language against anyone, that is not the sort of post I would write.

  37. Kenneth
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    I think the previous Labour Government has a lot to answer for when it comes to political interference in the police. In my view the appointment of (words left out-ed) Sir Ian Blair (who seemed sympathetic to the last government-ed) resulted in an attempt to (change the attitudes of-ed) the Metropolitan Police to the point where their effectiveness was damaged and has still not recovered.

    I also think we have too many police officers. We could reduce numbers successfully by encouraging families to police themselves by holding them financially accountable for costs incurred by wayward members and bad apples.

  38. forthurst
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    ‘I found myself jumping for my life after being attacked by thugs and thieves. They set fire to my building without any thought for anyone’s safety.

    ‘They were happy for me to die. They were like animals – greedy, selfish animals who thought only of themselves.’

    ‘I thought London was a civilised society full of gentlemen and ladies – but it is not like that. England has become a sick society.’

    Monika Konczyk

    That is how this country looks to the world; that is how this country now deserves to be seen by the world.

    This situation has been brewing for decades and the malignancy started at the top not at the bottom since at the bottom are always those who need little encouragement to engage in excess; only the certainty of detection and the certainty of condign punishment can hope to keep the lid on them.

    There have been odd occasions during my career when instead of being allowed to ‘get on with the job’, some moron or moronic modus operandi has interfered with my capacity to be effective. I strongly suspect that the police collectively have been in that position for decades, ever since this country degenerated from the England we knew to the multicultural (problem-ed) it has become, designed by Cultural Marxists intent on our destruction.

    The police do not like to investigate the prostituting and rape of native children by (people of various origin-ed) for fear of being accused of thought crime. In South London (is that anywhere near Croydon?), the police were required by the government after complaints from ‘community leaders’ (que?) to stop being thought criminals and ‘targeting’ ‘unfairly’ a particularly vibrant immigrant ‘community’; they were burdened with not being allowed to stop who they wanted, to have to demonstrate by a massive increase in paper work that any permissable reason for stopping individuals in the street was not weighted towards one group or other. In other words, instead of fighting crime, the police have their hands full trying to convince their political masters that they are not ‘institutionally racist’ or thought criminals in uniform. The consequence of this is that (some who have committed?ed) serious crime have been treated with kid gloves instead of being taught what behaviours (our-ed) country finds acceptable.

    It is time to abolish all thought crime law; it is impossible to have effective policing if different people have different rights or sensibilities under the law. It would be far better to actually make the accusation of ‘racism’ a serious criminal offence instead and thereby stamp it out. This would go down extremely badly with the Cultural Marxists who invented ‘racism’ offences as a plank of their ‘political correctness’ platform for the purpose of destroying Western society from within, but that is how we need to defend ourselves from them.
    I believe that unencumbering the police, we reduce the cynicism, the determination to do things by the book, the downright inefficiency which is partly as a result of directly applied contraints but also by being forced to operate in a thoroghly inefficent manner by politicians.

  39. BobE
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    The police are now a military wing of the government.

    • zorro
      Posted August 17, 2011 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      I thought that Orde’s comments were outrageous. They should have been kept private. The opposition by police management to scrutiny from people with a proven track record is immature and belies a lack of confidence and defensiveness about their own abilities.

      Zorro

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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