You can always rely on the British Police to shoot themselves in the foot with bad publicity.
This week it seems half the mothers in the country have been up in arms because a Norfolk police officer asked a woman who had been breastfeeding her baby on a bench in Watton High Street not to do it again because there had been a complaint.
He (and it was a he) had received a complaint from someone who found the act of feeding a child in public offensive.
Had the officer done the same thing in Scotland, he would have been committing the offence of preventing or stopping a child from being fed milk. (Breastfeeding etc. (Scotland) Act 2005).
The item appeared on the BBC East regional news and spread like wildfire through to national news and leading to discussions on radio stations and internet forums up and down the land.
Any story with the opportunity to slag off the police is grist to the mill for anyone with half a mind to jump on the anti-police bandwagon, but this was a story with a difference. The people doing the slagging off weren’t the usual suspects but were white, middle-class females. (the demographic who had suffered the ignominy of having their rights trashed by the Old Bill in Norfolk).
The item was discussed on several police forums. And, rightly so, the defenders of the argument don’t have much of a leg to stand on.
If you were after a definition of ‘pig ignorance’ you need have looked no further than PoliceSpecials.com. Their debate started out with a ‘serves her right’ attitude and save for one or two voices of reason went downhill. The forums over at PoliceSpecials are open to the public and it wasn’t long before breastfeeding mothers joined the forums solely to voice their concerns that members of Her Majesty’s finest should have such blinkered philistine attitudes towards the rights of breastfeeding mothers. Visitors to the forums were treated to such gems as comparing breastfeeding in public to picking one’s nose, urinating in an alleyway and having sex in the High Street. One enlightened member went as far as to suggest if we allowed breastfeeding in public, we might as well all go round behaving like monkeys and throwing our faeces around the High Street. Fortunately for him he was behind the safety of a computer screen somewhere. I suspect if half the respondents in that thread had gotten hold of him we’d be searching the same High Street for his testicles.
You could tell how low the debate got as the owner of the site decided to lock it before his members got him in trouble and published a disclaimer distancing the site from the views of some of its members.
I don’t know whether it says anything about the difference between police officers and specials but over on Police999 the debate was far more weighed in favour of the mother with most people agreeing it had nothing to do with the police. Unfortunately, only members can view the Police999 forums so guess which site has made the lasting impression on the disillusioned mothers of the nation?