February 20th, 2011

Of ethical quandries

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

News today which will make people feel a little uncomfortable, it certainly makes me that way.

PC David Rathband, the Northumbria officer who was shot & blinded by Raol Moat last summer, is reported to be suing the force for £1million. The grounds appear to be that officers did not receive sufficient warning immediately after Raol Moat made his intentions to harm police officers known.

In these days of health & safety & risk assessment, it is clear that we should make every effort to safeguard the health & welfare of everyone we can. I have no idea the exact information the police were in receipt of nor what they told their officers so it’s really difficult to understand what’s going on in this case. I have very mixed feelings about blame & the culture in our society that something is always someone else’s fault. But at the same time, if there was a way he could have been protected with more knowledge of what Moat had told police & he wasn’t offered that protection then someone must be at fault. I’m really torn.

I once went to a domestic situation where a teenage lad had gone off the rails & was smashing the house up & threatening his parents. It was one of those calls that comes in most days & usually ends up with a few forms filled out & a sulking teenager in a bedroom.

As we drove to the address, the lad himself rang 999, having been told that his father had rung us, he told the calltaker that if the police came in he would stab them. We were not told this.

As we walked up the stairs he charged out of his bedroom with a broken bottle & tried to attack me (I was ahead of my colleague). It was only some quick wrist action in releasting the PR-24 btton from the belt that prevented either of us getting harmed. He was duly cuffed & carted off to think about what he had done.

If he had injured me, or maybe inflicted life-changing injuries, would I have sued my force?

Perhaps I would.

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