This is the official blog of ex-Sgt Ellie Bloggs. I was a real live police constable then sergeant for twelve years, on the real live front line of England. I'm now a real live non-police person. All the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't (or didn't) pay my salary.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Torture Debate.

Once again Americans can't decide whether it's ok to torture people. The excuse always used is that Jack Bauer couldn't save the world without torture. In reality, it would be interesting to know how many "ticking time-bombs" have been found this way. None, I suspect, as at the very least the country involved would have bragged about their successful thwarting of a plot through "interrogation", following which someone would have leaked the truth in book-form.

Just to show I do have some training, in UK law, a confession is inadmissible if gained by "oppression" or "in consequence of anything said or done which, in the circumstances existing at the time the confession was made, render any confession made unreliable".

I have come to define "Oppression" as anything not specified by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Codes of Practice. Eg: not bringing your prisoner enough tea, food, blankets; not giving them a watch or allowing them to know the time; not allowing them eight hours uninterrupted sleep BUT interrupting their sleep if ready to interview... it's a minefield. I must have tortured a few poor souls unintentionally when I forgot to keep them updated of the weather forecast and who would be on Jonathan Ross this week (Borat).

I agree wholeheartedly with PACE and feel that it is right and fair that if I encourage my prisoner to tell the truth, I should be struck down with all the fury of the SMT. I also feel it a positive thing for Human Rights that different rules are applied for a denial: it is not inadmissible for the prisoner's solicitor to say and do things which, in the circumstances existing at the time the denial was made, render the denial made unreliable. This is the tenet on which our nation's justice system works.

I think Blandshire Constabulary's approach is that it isn't so much whether you torture the person or not, but whether there's a Detection at the end of it.

Dostoevsky said famously (quick pause for breath and a cup of tea to recover from my sudden onset of academia), and I paraphrase, "Is it ok to make the world happy and nice if it means torturing some poor innocent baby to death?"

I do not know the answer, but I know that if I can be considered a poor innocent baby, and I think you'll agree I can, Tony McNulty is having a damn good try.

Copyright of PC Bloggs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A tortuous dilemma indeed. And as for Tony himself, the police service couldn't be in a pair of safer hands (well maybe Jack bauer's). England and Wales, if not Scotland and the rest of the World is a far safer place because of his sterling efforts. (I'm not sure if that reads right..........). One thing, he's one of those faces that needs a good punch!

28 October, 2006 07:41

Blogger Joe90 said...

Jack Bauer isn't real? You just shattered my world.

If a nuclear bomb is going to detonate and kill millions of people and torture is the only way to find out where it is, I would even step in to do the persuading.

29 October, 2006 01:58

Blogger staghounds said...

If you're suffering from academia, you should apply for a police management training course. They are all guaranteed to contain no knowledge whatever. And a rousing game of buzzword bingo

29 October, 2006 17:51

Blogger staghounds said...

And a rousing game of buzzword bingo will help drive those pesky useless literary allusions from your vocabulary.

I prefer the filthy critic's use of the concept-

"How many senior citizens would you be willing to shoot in the head to make every twelve-year-old smile once for eight seconds? How about for ten seconds? How many more would you kill to make those kids smile a second time? Don't answer if you hate old people because then you'd only be killing them to make yourself smile. Go ahead and answer if you're like me and don't give a shit whether or not kids are happy."

29 October, 2006 17:54

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The use of torture to obtain information is an interesting subject, involving morals, ethics, humanities, etc (that leaves out politicians and lawyers of course). joe90 raised the subject of what is ethically or morally correct if the end result saved lives of innocent people (that excludes, of course, politicians and lawyers). Personally, I would make the prisoner listen to Coldplay all day. The information would come screaming out before the end of the CD.

29 October, 2006 20:50

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03 April, 2009 18:31


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