I have resisted the temptation to comment on the Plebgate affair until now. It seems to me that a petty squabble between an MP and the police at the gates of Downing Street is not really worth a mention. But I observe a component that many commentators seem to be missing which I believe is important. The police service must work with the consent of the public: their job is impossible without. The nature of the powers afforded them are such that public confidence in their motives must be solid. The police service spend a lot of public money on PR. So, it follows, we expect (demand?) police officers to be squeaky clean and honest.
When the police are accused of wrong-doing, they close ranks. Given the dangerous job that they do, often in difficult circumstances, it is understandable that an “us and them” mentality can creep in. But this is so damaging to public confidence, trust and consent. Individual officers are only human, will make mistakes, errors of judgement, even tell lies. Covering up these failures and presenting a united front massively exacerbates the situation. Have they still not learnt the lessons of Hillsborough?
Free masons swear an oath to come to the aid of a brother mason in need. Is closing ranks a symptom of this oath? I have long believed free masonry to be incompatible with any public office, particularly policing. I am still waiting for the law makers to recognise the sense of this. There are no masons amongst the law makers, are there?


About micklively

Fifty-something, pacifist, six sigma black belt, lean implementer, brewer, vintner, guitarist, wood-turner, and slave to collies.
This entry was posted in Britain, law, P.R., Police, U.K. and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Plebgate

  1. Arkenaten says:

    You think you have problems?
    Have you seem what’s going down with the SA Police over the fatal shooting of miners at Marikana?

    There are plenty of articles, mick, I just picked this at random.

    • micklively says:

      I am familiar with the Marikana miners scandal. It got quite a bit of coverage on the news in the U.K. at the time and there was a documentary on the BBC a few months back. It seems police the world over have “management issues”. I think our police service is pretty good, but that’s no cause for complacency.
      I recall an incident in Malaysia, whilst I was in Singapore, circa 1999. About ten people had been shot by the police during some disturbance, insurection or similar: I forget the details. The memory that lingers with me was the picture of the row of bodies on the front of the Straits Times: all had their hands tied behind their backs. I’m pretty sure, if that happened in the U.K., there would be police gaoled for murder. In Singapore, folk barely batted an eye-lid.
      Thanks for your feedback Ark.

      • Arkenaten says:

        What happened to the Bobby on the beat who might give you a clip along the ear for scrumping?

        Did this time ever really exist or is it merely a quaint Mugged down Memory Lane illusion? has started raining!
        Great..The garden needs it and saves filling up the pond!

        • micklively says:

          I think it did exist. When I was a kid, a lot of coppers were ex-army. They were a different breed from the police of today. Crime is down, the clear-up rate has improved, the service is much cheaper, but inevitably, we lost something along the way. You couldn’t allow police to adminster ad-hoc corporal punishment today: where would it end?

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