The Truth About IPP Sentences

Government must not weaken over police reforms

Hatred and distrust of the police is growing

Over-powerful, above the Law and over-paid...

The government’s resolve to reform the way in which the Police operate is being severely tested after the announcement that the former rail regulator and lawyer, Tom Winsor is to be appointed as the new Chief Inspector of Constabulary for England and Wales.

TheOpinionSite.org believes that the government is right to appoint someone from outside of the police to oversee their activities. The situation until now has been that a senior chief constable has always held the post and has thus denied any chance of true objectivity.

Generally speaking, policemen do not like to criticise other policemen.

The Police Federation in particular, which represents rank and file officers, is protesting that the appointment of Mr Winsor is inappropriate, not least because he has no experience of policing.

From the government’s perspective however, this is battle that it cannot afford to lose. To do so would demonstrate extreme weakness, with ministers being seen as failing in the same manner as their predecessors when trying to take on the excessive power that the police have to name their own terms.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May received a rough ride at the recent police conference when it became clear that the police were no longer going to get everything that they asked for. Previously, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had both been deliberately pathetic in standing up to police demands for more money and – even more importantly – more power.

Mrs May has made it clear that she will not give in over the money but, as with her forebears, she is only to keen to give police more and more power over the rest of us, thus relieving the government of responsibility when things go wrong and the police abuse their power or break the Law themselves.

TheOpinionSite.org would like to think that Mrs May and the government were acting out of common sense and in an attempt to curb the powers of what has now been exposed by the Leveson Inquiry, the arrests and imprisonment of police personnel over the last two years and the often premature retirement of officers as being a corrupt, over-powerful and arrogant ‘public service’.

Relationships between the public and police have never been at a lower point with the public believing – one would hope, incorrectly – that all police officers are corrupt, dishonest and self-serving, only out for what they can get and not afraid to abuse the enormous power they have to wreck people’s lives whilst never being held to account themselves.

Whether one agrees with the view expressed above by so many people or not, it is hard to ignore the evidence of the last two years which have seen more and more police officers finally being brought to justice for everything from child sex assaults to handling Class A drugs whilst others have escaped justice altogether as a result of collapsed trials, dismissals from the force and a need not to bring the police into disrepute.

Maybe, had the civilian Mr Winsor already been in post, more officers would have been caught earlier. There has been little chance of that whilst the only oversight of police has been carried out by another policeman.

That the police do have too much power is a view expressed by very many people. That successive administrations have been too ready to give police that power is undeniable.

Ministers will not involve themselves in what they call the ‘operational procedures’ of the police and neither will the courts, which must interpret the ‘Will of Parliament’, all of which might seem quite reasonable and sensible (from a political point of view at least) until one realises that such a doctrine has allowed the police to do whatever they want, whenever they want and without fear of ever being brought to book over their abuse of power.

TheOpinionSite.org has been told by many people that although they are uneasy about the amount of power that the police have, there is little that can be done about it.

It is certainly true that if money was not as tight as it is, the current government, like those before it, would be throwing millions at the police and giving them even more power, even more protection from prosecution and even more, unregulated independence of action.

By contrast, in Europe, a judge oversees all police investigations and ensures that the investigators stay within the Law. In Britain, the police are allowed to do whatever they want, any misdemeanours then having to be challenged in court, usually in front of an impotent judge and a jury that is either too frightened, too biased or too ignorant to raise one word of criticism of police officers.

Now, with the appointment of Mr Winsor and the government on a collision course with police officers, there is a real chance to get these people back in harness and once again make them responsible for their actions.

There are also other objections to reform coming from the rank and file officers most likely to be affected, one of which is that all officers should undergo a ‘fitness check’ once a year. Why not test every officer’s fitness annually? A fat policeman trying to chase a fit, 19 year old burglar is of no use to anyone.

Officers don’t like the idea of taking what they see as a pay cut either. Why shouldn’t they suffer the same pain as everyone else? Policemen cannot be sacked, are probably overpaid anyway and retire at 50. Most other people on the other hand can be sacked (and frequently are), are usually underpaid and might now have to work into their 70s.

As TheOpinionSite.org has pointed out on previous occasions when policemen have thrown a tantrum because they could not get what they want, the Police are there to serve the Public – not the other way around.

If policemen don’t like being officers of the Law with all the advantages that such office brings, let them go and do something else instead. If receiving £50,000 – £160,000 a year salary is not enough for them, let them go and find it elsewhere.

If the fact that they cannot be sacked, get at least 5 weeks holiday a year and receive ‘rest days’ in addition are things not worth having, let them leave.

If the power trip they get from being able to arrest people on the merest suspicion or just because they feel like it is not a sufficient ego boost, let them become politicians instead; then they can take it out on their former colleagues, several of whom are in the House of Lords already.

The government must stand firm against the police and not weaken. If it does, ministers will be reaffirming a truth that was first revealed by Tony Blair – that the government is afraid of the police and afraid of criticising them.

Once that becomes the norm, there is little hope for the rest of us and little hope of retaining what freedom still exists in Britain – and there isn’t much of that nowadays.

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10 Responses to Government must not weaken over police reforms

  1. JPT
    July 4, 2012 at 10:52 am

    A very ignorant one sided article with equally offensive comments. Surely an educated view would accept that there are good and bad in every organisation and in fact steps are being taken by officers themselves to identify and oust those that do not embody the ethos of the force.
    In response to the comment referring to officers as Nazi’s, Thugs and Hooligans, I would ask if this person has ever told a parent their child has died in an accident, has ever spent time with an elderly person who has had all of their money stolen or even held a rape victims hand after their life is in pieces. The comments posted here are quite simply appalling.

    • Jenny
      July 4, 2012 at 11:18 am

      JPT, you just don’t like the truth being exposed. Quite prepared to stitch up innocent people and sell out to the press, the police hate it when their own wrong doing is exposed. The phone hacking has shown how dishonest the police are, even at senior level and the fact that over 1000 police officers and PCSOs have criminal records does not give people confidence.

      The worst thing about the police is that you find it completely impossible to ever admit that you got it wrong.

      I am not surprised that you don’t like articles that are critical of the police. You have so much to hide and at last, people are beginning to uncover the dishonesty that seems to run through the very DNA of what is an over powerful, dishonest, deceitful organisation.

      • JPT
        July 5, 2012 at 7:11 am

        Surely you must consider a balanced view rather than ‘all Police are corrupt’. Yes I accept that the Police do make mistakes and there are corrupt officers but surely theshower now the minority. You say the Police don’t like it when “their wrong doing is exposed”, who does, but the Police are constantly monitored (which is a good thing)
        In fact why am I even wasting my breath arguing with you. You uses hack figures and throw away statements to attempt to forge a completely one sided argument. You cite “phone hacking” as evidence of your case even though you clearly have got utterly confused with your Sun / Mirror articles. It is imperative to have an open mind, Bill Hicks (famous comedian) once said ‘Think, Read’!. I implore you to do this, not about the Police, just read, open your mind, understand that not everything is black and white.

    • bob
      July 5, 2012 at 11:15 am

      JPT

      The problem is one of perception. Successive governments have indeed given police more and more powers over the rest of us, often for purely political reasons, yet the police go on and on asking for more and more power.

      Young officers especially are incredibly arrogant, selfish and self-serving, ofetn as a result of the “me first” culture that has grown over the last 20 years rather than any flaw in themselves. Nevertheless, together with their swaggering around in utility belts and fast cars, the arrogance is something that members of the public hate.

      Whether you like it or not, many people – most of whom have never committed a crime in their life – hate the police now, whereas once they respected them.

      It is all about perception and the police are perceived by most people as being arrogant, dishonest and power-hungry. Yes, there are good officers but itseems to be a sad truth that they are becoming fewer in number.

      Hogan-Howe, on becoming Commissioner said “I want people to be afraid of the police.” Well, he got his wish – but at what price?

      • Raymond Peytors - theopinionsite.org
        July 5, 2012 at 11:16 am

        EDITOR’S NOTE: Please continue this discussion in the Forum where there is a dedicated discussion area for police issues. Thank you for your comments.- Editor

  2. Michaela
    June 11, 2012 at 11:04 am

    New recruits for the police force need to be far more carefully selected and be given thorough psychological tests. Far too many join for simply having power over others – and to find a ‘safe’ outlet for the demands of their psychopathic personalities, i.e. in ‘non-criminal’ ways. They have little interest in protecting others, human rights or the law. As far as their personalities and attitudes are concerned, they are no different to many of the criminals they deal with – thugs, muggers, football hooligans, racists, homophobes, petty thieves, etc. More and more ordinary people are beginning to realise this.

  3. Richard McMillan
    June 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I have watched the police Force go from an organisation that supported the populace and become an overpaid, under worked mob of un respected people. We use to have a Police Force which had an idea of the feelings of the public, now we have little fat women acting as Police, University fast tracked Nob heads, James Hunt drivers and ‘lets beat up Young people, Blacks because you dare not beat up an Indian because the upper echelons are full of Knob heads from the sub-continent,(fast tracked). Who can retire after 30 years of work on a 75% pension? The coppers. But I don’t think we have had a Government capable of developing a Good Police Force sine before Maggie. Good overtime rates will encourage whatever you want the Police to do.

  4. Bobjob
    June 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Thatcher created her ‘private army’ and successive prime ministers have been quick to enlarge it. Short sighted politicians cannot see that what they are doing is to make themselves weaker whilst making an unaccountable and unchallengeable police force even stronger.

    Even when the police are found to have got it wrong, they never admit it. They are too arrogant for that.

    There is an opportunity for any policemen to argue with this in the Forum – if they have what it takes to do so.

  5. Andreus
    June 10, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    It’s about time something was done to clean up these thugs in uniform. Time and time again we hear about them breaking the law, cases being thrown out or, in the case of the City of London police, disciplinary procedures not being followed because it is too expensive.

    If Theresa may DOES give way, she should resign.

  6. alana
    June 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Nazi, thugs, hooligans are just a few words that spring to mind at the mention of the word police this day & age, and if you look any further into some of their antics, then the word murderers spring to mind.
    DO YOU WANNA BE IN MY GANG is the logo for anyone wishing to join the police FORCE today.

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