As law and order continues its inexorable slide down the pan, the Met are doing their bit to undermine the role and position of the police by issuing new√ā¬†guidelines√ā¬†to its 32,000 officers.
They√ā¬†have√ā¬†issued a handy, wallet-sized memo card telling it’s officers to ignore foul-mouthed abuse directed at police. They say the the courts no longer accept that police officers can be caused harassment, alarm or distress by people who, for instance verbally abuse them with foul language. This is a chestnut which crops up every decade or so and in the 30 years that I was policing was always regarded as a non-starter. If you came up to me on the street, called me a fucking wanker & declined the words of advice I’d give you in your shell-like, you could find yourself with a one-way ticket to the cells.√ā¬†Strangely, despite using the same laws that the Met are saying no longer apply, I was never sued for wrongful arrest or my had my prisoner denied the hospitality of the local custody suite.
Only this week my officers have been arresting people on the streets of the country for public order offences in similar circumstances to those the Met are saying are no longer valid.
The job of the police is really hard enough without having the bosses abandoning its officers. The only protection offered to police is the power of arrest, a baton so√ā¬†unwieldy√ā¬†most officers will never ever use one in anger & some pepper. Handcuffs are provided to assist in protection once someone has been detained.
Coincidentally, on the same √ā¬†handy advice card issued by the Met is a section telling officers they can no longer handcuff anyone for the safety of the arresting officer alone. What? I’d have thought that the best reason for handcuffing someone was for the safety of the officer, never mind what other reasons there might be, (like not wanting them to escape).
The Met’s card gives examples of the words that members of the public are now allowed to use in anger against police officers. For the record, these√ā¬†appear√ā¬†to be fuck, cunt, bollocks and wanker. Though, in a moment of supreme irony, the card spells out with asterisks, presumably in case anyone is offended, alarmed or distressed about being told they must now put up with being called a fucking cunt-faced bollock wanker.
Why is that every other country in the world gives its officers the powers and equipment to do their job as safely and effectively as possible, but in the UK we seem to be hung up on the rights and sensibilities of yobs and criminals?