On whose side are the British Police?

My walk to the office each morning takes me through a gigantic pedestrianised concourse with a police station located smack in the middle of it. This means that police cars often have to enter the concourse area and navigate their way through crowds of pedestrians.

This morning I saw a fully-marked police car (without its lights flashing) trying to enter the concourse and into a line of commuters. They weren’t having an easy time of it because nobody was really willing to move aside, and if they did it was a couple of feet at the most. The police car had to inch forward and wait every few metres for a pedestrian to walk past; nobody was particularly interested in cooperating to give the men in uniform an easier life. If one were to look at who had the power in that situation, the conclusion would be that it lay with the pedestrians. The ordinary people, in other words. I thought it interesting that the policemen didn’t resort to using their lights or sirens or even trying to push through aggressively. They looked a bit annoyed, but they didn’t make any moves to insist the pedestrians change their behaviour any more than necessary.

If the same scenario were to take place in the UK, the public would be a lot more helpful. They’d leap out of the way in their attempts to show the police they are cooperating, mainly out of pure public-spiritedness. I’ve written before about this difference:

Growing up in Britain you are sort of taught that policemen are nice people who are there to help. Terms like “citizens in uniform” and “friendly neighbourhood policeman” are bandied about, and this mindset appears in the British culture in shows like Dixon of Dock Green and the Noddy series of books where Noddy invites the policeman into his house for a cup of tea. As far as I can tell, British citizens still view the police as people to be trusted, approached for help, and to cooperate with at all times.

This contrasts sharply with places…such as France for example. Here people think the gendarmes and other police forces are there to catch criminals and keep the piece, but are to be avoided wherever possible. They are not your friend, you don’t ask them the time or for directions, and nor do you invite them into your home for a cup of tea. You hope to go through life with a minimum of contact with them, and any other uniformed authority.

But what’s more interesting is how the British police would have behaved had the citizens not cooperated by flinging themselves into bushes and ditches to get out of their way. They would almost certainly have used the sirens, causing people to jump out of their skin. They’d have turned the lights on implying there was an emergency when none existed. And they’d have wound down the windows and threatened people, and if one or two were not sufficiently cowed they’d have jumped out and quite possibly tasered and arrested him. As I discussed in my earlier post, the British police are quick to use intimidation and force against people who they are reasonably sure will not fight back, i.e. proper criminals.

Of course this is speculation, and maybe this wouldn’t happen at all. So let’s take an example of what the British police actually do. I sat down this morning expecting to use this example in which the police see motorists as a handy revenue stream, but opening Twitter I saw this:

(In case you can’t see the picture, a screen-grab is here.)

This comes from those who police a city where:

Daylight stabbings of schoolchildren have become “part of the workload” for London’s Air Ambulance medics, they revealed today.

The service is now treating almost as many shooting and stabbing victims as people seriously hurt in road crashes, with open-heart surgery on knife victims performed in the street on an almost weekly basis.

This morning I read this:

Detectives in Greenwich Borough are appealing for witnesses and information following a stabbing in Plumstead.

Officers and the London Ambulance Service attended and found an 18-year-old man suffering stab wounds. He was taken to a south London hospital his injuries are being treated as life threatening.

DC Andrew Payne, the officer in the case, said:

“This attack happened in broad daylight, in a busy street and I am appealing for anyone who saw anything, or who knows anything, about the attack to contact me.”

And this:

A man has been found stabbed to death on a bus in central London.

Police said the man, aged in his 40s, was found fatally wounded on the 189 bus in Gloucester Place, near Dorset Square, at about 00:10 BST.

And last week I saw this video of events which took place in Hackney:

As I said before:

If the police in Britain … want to remain relevant, they had better make up their minds whose side they are on and inform the law-abiding masses of their decision, preferably via demonstration rather than empty speeches.

At the rate they’re going, the British police are going to be awfully surprised when one day in the near future they are called upon to restore law and order find the population treating them very much as part of the problem.

The French police might not be liked and respected, but at least they are confident the people they serve know whose side they’re on.

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17 thoughts on “On whose side are the British Police?

  1. I have no time for Katy Hopkins but free speech and all that, the response reminded me of a post Warren made yesterday:

    So it is illegal to “incite violence” though this exception to free speech is typically very narrow. As I understand it, a KKK speaker who shouts from the podium, “look, a black guy just walked in, everybody go beat him up” would probably be guilty of inciting violence if the crowd immediately beat the guy up. A BLM speaker who shouted as part of his speech that the crowd needed to fight back against police oppression would likely not be guilty of inciting violence if, some months later, one of the audience members assaulted a police officer.

    But what all of this has in common is speakers telling their supporters to go out and commit violence against some other person or group. The violence incited is by the speakers supporters and is specifically urged on by the speaker. But this is not how the Left is using the term “incite violence”. The Left is using this term to refer to violence by opponents of the speaker attempting to prevent the speaker from being heard. For example, when folks argue that Ann Coulter cannot speak at Berkeley because she will “incite violence”, they don’t mean that she is expected to stand up and urge her supporters to go do violence against others — they mean that they expect her opponents to be violent.

    This is a horrible newspeak redefinition of a term. It is implying that a speaker is responsible for the violence by those who oppose her. By this definition, the socialists of 1932 Germany were guilty of “inciting violence” whenever Nazi brownshirts tried to brutally shut down socialist meetings and speeches.http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/2017/04/how-the-left-is-changing-the-meaning-of-words-to-reduce-freedom-the-phrase-incite-violence.html

  2. Cressida Dick! says everything you really need to know about the state of the British Police “Service”.

  3. BiND,

    Indeed, I’ve got no interest in defending what Hopkins said – there are smarter and more effective ways of opposing violent Islam than remarks like that – but the involvement of the Met is absolutely pathetic.

    I also have no time for Elizabeth Warren, but on this issue over Coulter and Berkeley, she is spot on. So credit where it is due.

  4. Don’t the french have a police force whereas we have a police service? That could go some way to explaining the difference.

  5. I wonder if it’s nothing more than the impact of diversity in the police force. All those extra women etc mean there are simply too few Police who are capable of dealing with actual, dangerous criminals and the few who are have been prohibited from using suitable force. This then means a drive into Facebook Policing, hunting down non-dangerous people who say mildly unpleasant things on the interweb, and then turning them into serious criminals to justify the effectiveness of the diverse Police service.

  6. Tim, the way to oppose islam is by every means possible. The reason they are winning so comprehensively now is that every time someone does something effective, the ‘proper’ people try to put an end to such vulgar behaviour. And so the enemy wins another round. Do you notice how the left protect their own, from the violent street thugs to the rapist politicians and everyone inbetween? And on the right, they attack their own for fighting the ‘wrong’ way. Guess who’s winning that battle.

  7. Tim, the way to oppose islam is by every means possible

    I agree, but each person should pick their own ways, means, and methods. I can appreciate what Hopkins is trying to do, but I think there are better ways and, being a big girl, she doesn’t need me to defend her actual words.

  8. If the police in Britain … want to remain relevant, they had better make up their minds whose side they are on

    Not sure about relevant, but they’ve made their mind up for sure.

    and inform the law-abiding masses of their decision, preferably via demonstration rather than empty speeches.

    “You will know them by their fruits”. I think they’ve demonstrated pretty well. Joe Public’s just a bit slow on the uptake.

  9. I am always surprised that anyone would think the French police aren’t tough: from what I can gather they like to crack heads and take names after.

    As for the British cops, the days of peel are long gone. Ultimately the cops have to be on the side of the politicians 9and the laws they create) rather than on the side of the people they serve. The cops are one of the key elements of propping up the shaky house of cards called power. As such they have to act in the way that those in power demand. In other words, the politicians (who will not face any consequences for their actions, other than possibly — oh the horror! — might not be re-elected) will be protected no matter what but the ordinary people won’t be. You are expendable, and today cops can’t interfere in your expendability.

    The cops too will increasingly go after the soft targets. Chances are that will be the likes of us because this social media thing is just heaven-sent for way pickings.

    In all fairness to the cops however the mini-poostorm over Hopkins’ words is because the cops have to say they will investigate any complaint. It’s in their contract to say things like that. Privately they may think it is a huge waste of time but in order to placate the pols and their whiny media ‘friends’ they have to say they will jump as high as required.

    In short, the state is not your friend so the servants of the state are unlikely to be.

  10. I wonder if it’s nothing more than the impact of diversity in the police force. All those extra women etc mean there are simply too few Police who are capable of dealing with actual, dangerous criminals

    David, very good point. The more women you get in the police the more petty and spiteful and vindictively oppressive the police will be. Women police are basically useless for catching criminals so they concentrate on harassment of law-abiding citizens.

  11. In the US the various police forces have fostered an Us vs. Them attitude. Like fish in water they don’t seem to realize that they require the habitat of a supportive populace to survive. A case in point was the Los Angeles riots in 1992. The LAPD was damn near overwhelmed, and large portion of the population looked on with some satisfaction. Many members of the public, near the riot areas, took matters into their own hands to protect themselves. They didn’t need, or want, the LAPD around. The rest didn’t give a damn, it wasn’t affecting them.

    A bit of dark humor that sprang from that era: Where’s the LAPD when you need them? Beating a black man.

  12. @Watcher: “In short, the state is not your friend so the servants of the state are unlikely to be.”

    Spot on!

  13. On whose side are the British Police?

    The side of their paymasters, the State and those running it – why do you ask?

  14. I wonder if it’s nothing more than the impact of diversity in the police force.

    You may well be right.

  15. In short, the state is not your friend so the servants of the state are unlikely to be.

    Exactly. And what John B said, too.

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