A Code of Silence

Via Ben Sixsmith on Twitter I came across this story:

Paul Kelly was stabbed on New Year’s Eve in front of 25 witnesses. No one will admit having seen the murder, but a poem naming the knifeman has been pasted up all over Bath, writes Mark Townsend.

The police believe they know he did it. So do his neighbours. His name is whispered by local people who lower their gaze when he approaches; eye contact is not recommended with the 17-year-old everyone claims has murdered and, so far, got away with it.

Police have confirmed that about 25 people watched as Kelly, 32, was repeatedly knifed in a dank alleyway outside the Longacre Tavern shortly after midnight on New Year’s Eve. Rarely are murders witnessed by so many. Detectives working on the case believed that a conviction was inevitable – two witness statements would be enough.

Yet no one has come forward. Eleven people have been arrested, including a number who are thought to have watched the frenzied attack. Not one is prepared to tell police what they saw.

The behaviour described here is typical of the criminal fraternity. It is well known that criminal gangs, pikeys, and other anit-social types will never complain to the police even when they have suffered some quite serious wrongdoing at the hands of a rival. Their cast-iron rule is to never talk to the police under any circumstances whatsoever. The reason for this is simple: the police are not on their side and never will be, so no good will come of their involvement. By contrast, they stand a good chance of being fitted up for something else on the flimsiest of pretexts. Interestingly, this mindset extends to the rest of society around these people, even those who are law-abiding and frequent victims of criminals. These people are normally lower class and poor, unable to move away from the anti-social elements that plague them, but they have also learned not to trust the police. Like all organisations captured by the middle classes in government, the police look down on the lower classes living in squalid tower blocks or grim terraces with almost as much contempt, possibly even more, than they do actual criminals. They care little for their well-being and are certainly not on their side, and the people know it. So when something bad happens in their neighbourhood and the police come looking for answers, the whole community remains tight-lipped. Talking to the police won’t improve things for them, and there could well be repercussions from criminals who don’t like grasses.

What makes the above story interesting is that this is happening in the middle of Bath, which as far as I know is as middle class as it comes (although Tim Worstall may be along shortly begging to differ, with a list of streets and their respective class associations). Perhaps this was a fight between pikeys witnessed by more pikeys which might explain the wall of silence, but if the witnesses were ordinary people this is an interesting situation indeed. What it shows is they don’t trust the police, either to act in a way which isn’t detrimental to their interests or to protect them from a knife-wielding murderer who might seek revenge on anyone who speaks to the police. If the perpetrator is from one of Britain’s protected classes, they would be wise indeed to keep quiet and say nothing: the police would rather jail an innocent witness for a decade than prosecute someone the government has deemed worthy of special consideration.

I would be fascinated to see if this is a one-off or whether this refusal to speak to the police is becoming more widespread among ordinary citizens. If it’s the latter I couldn’t say I’d be surprised: it’s been coming for a long time, and the behaviour and attitude of the police towards the law-abiding public is mostly to blame.

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15 thoughts on “A Code of Silence

  1. “If the perpetrator is from one of Britain’s protected classes”

    Always one of the most interesting aspects of the west today for me is how governments/nations/societies yearn to have some groups or classes elevated more than others, no matter what they do (or whatever the evidence which shows they aren’t worthy of such acclaim) when the core value — supposedly — is equality and fairness to all

    Why, it’s almost as if our laws and principles aren’t what they are meant to be.

  2. There’s also the possibility that the victim was a wrong’un that the Police failed to do anything about…

  3. The “protected classes” probably do not consider the police to be their friends and a Home Secretary worth their salt (and when was the last time Britain had one of those?) would recognise that a police force service that is universally reviled is not a healthy state of affairs.

  4. A bit of google-fu revealed what is probably the story behind this, and that the alleged attacker appears to be in prison for another stabbing at the moment. What are the chances? I was also completely not shocked to discover the race of the alleged attacker and what other activities he got up to. I don’t think you need to speculate too much about how the “community” were intimidated into not talking about it to the peelers.

  5. This seems like a particularly grim story of an ethnic group clamming up because it was an ‘outsider’ who was killed, who may well have been shouting off racist abuse.

    On the theme of your post though I am aware of many big companies avoiding much involvement from the law when it comes to (even very severe) cybercrime – partly the publicity isn’t what they need but presumably they also realise the law have very little chance of catching anyone, especially if they are hacking from overseas. And when a colleague’s car was recently stolen the police gave him a crime number for insurance purposes but just shrugged off any investigation – he was told that in all likelihood it would be in a container going east within hours, so there was no point in even looking into it.

    The main roles for the UK police today seem to be to keep a lid on city centre drunkenness and have a few heavily armed types to react to terror incidents. And of course harassing people on social media for ‘causing offence’. Actually investigating leads towards successful convictions seems very rare (viz Rochdale, Bradford et al):



  6. My late father was a teetotal Salvation Army man who came of age during the 1930s. He was a lifelong union member and Labour stalwart. The old boy brought us up to distrust the police and to tell them zilch. The police, he believed, were bully boys, a brutal arm of the state; they existed to subjugate the population as a whole and the working man in particular. Miscreants from the protected classes were dealt with in-house.

    That said I used to work next door to plod’s area headquarters. We each provided half of a rugby team, took turns to host the weekly poker school, met in pubs after work, attended social gatherings and performed mutual favours. If the Israelis and Saudis can reach an accommodation…

  7. Is Canterbury worse than Bath?

    LONDON – Police in the United Kingdom are appealing for information following a report of a rape of a man in Canterbury city centre.

    Kent Police said the man in his 20s was walking alone on Friday night when two other men grabbed him by the arms and pulled him into a park at the junction between Old Ruttington Lane and Falala Way at around 9.30pm, the BBC reported.

    The attackers were only described as black, but police have appealed to anyone who knows their identity to contact them.

  8. Well it was 10 years ago, and a suspect was found not guilty at a jury trial. Better that ten guilty men go free than an innocent man be convicted.

  9. @Will Williams. ‘Better that ten guilty men go free than an innocent man be convicted.’

    That would not be be the correct thing to do at all.

  10. Tim would probably mention Snow Hill the nightmare estate from hell at least it was when i worked there 8 years ago,some lovely people there but allowed to be ruled over by a druggy thug.

  11. Why would anyone talk to the police when the murderer, even if convicted, could be free and walking the streets within a decade?

    Plus we all know that the police will be totally useless in protecting anyone from any friends or relatives of the murderer who want to get revenge on a grass.

  12. they would be wise indeed to keep quiet and say nothing: the police would rather jail an innocent witness for a decade than prosecute someone the government has deemed worthy of special consideration.

    The explicitly stated theme of Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta was “It is possible for society to get so bad that a madman with a knife is preferable to a policeman with a gun.”

    Of course, Moore’s a hoary old IngSoc type, so in his dystopia the policemen with guns are part of a not-at-all-thinly-veiled British Nazi party. Because the Nazis weren’t socialists, you see.

  13. “It is well known that criminal gangs, pikeys, and other anit-social types will never complain to the police even when they have suffered some quite serious wrongdoing at the hands of a rival. “

    Well, not always: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5210385/Traveller-20-beaten-death-motorway-service-station.html

    “Speaking to The Sun Online, the mother-of-nine, said: ‘I can’t do nothing until I get justice for my baby.’

    Her family has set up a Change.org campaign to get support for the case to go to the Court of Appeal and are handing out flyers. It has almost received 5,000 signatures.”

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