This is the official blog of Sgt Ellie Bloggs, a real live police sergeant on the front line of England. It's not the official opinion of my police force, but 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 pay my salary.


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Monday, July 12, 2010

Us and Them

Everyone's talking about Raoul Moat, and how can they not be? The tale has a bit of everything: murder, sexual intrigue, psychology, a wounded police officer, high emotions and plenty of video footage. Whatever way you present it, it's a tragic case with an unhappy end, and it is human and decent to feel sorry for almost everyone involved.

But that's not the same as actively encouraging a dangerous gunman to evade the police, nor taking sides with someone obviously either unstrung or homicidal, or possibly both. Instead of hearing impassioned pleas to hand himself in, or enthusiasm for the cops to snare him, I read quotations from many saying how he planned to "take people with him" or "go out in a blaze of glory". Worse still, several people actively assisted him. Some of those have been charged, but the implication from the Det Supt running the operation was that police believed Moat had further assistance within the community that enabled him to remain at large within an arm's length. This is not Derrick Bird, a man who had lived a pretty law-abiding existence under the radar before losing his mind in some way and murdering eleven strangers. Moat was someone accused of years of abuse, who had served time for hitting a child, who utilised illegal weapons and made clear his violent intentions. I'm not saying demonise him - clearly he needed help too - but is it too much to expect everyone to support the manhunt for him?

Has antipathy towards the police now degenerated to the point at which a rampaging murderer garners widespread support from sectors of the community? Is it truly "war" between the police and the public?

Certainly reading comments about the arming of police, many members of the public seem to think the firearms given to the police are there to be used against the public and that therefore they want to have guns too. I always thought that the police force in any civilised country is the weapon at the belt of the public. We are there to attend dangerous incidents and apprehend crooks so they don't have to. Yes, we frequently do a bad job and many of us are frustrated or even embarrassed when that happens.

But to give up on the police altogether, to turn on them and say the police are the enemy and mean to do us harm, is to give up on modern society altogether. It is to say every man for himself and damned be the consequences.

I don't know about you, but the thought of living in that Britain scares the hell out of me.


One final thing: the police will never bring a loved one to the scene of negotiations with someone who is suicidal - in case he wants them there to kill himself in front of them.




"I bear him no malice."

All the best to PC Rathband, I hope your eyesight recovers fully.

You're a better man than I.








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45 Comments:

Blogger Hogday said...

What I find somewhat irrational are people who state that they would suddenly feel scared of approaching a British police officer if they had a pistol on their belt. It never stopped the public in Canada, Australia or The Netherlands - all places that I have spent time with the local police. Of course in America, the public would not leave their homes if the police had their guns taken away, but then we should not be making comparisons with a country where you can buy a handgun in a high street shop.

12 July, 2010 18:00

 
Blogger Hogday said...

As for the brother, The Sun printed the following which seems to have been somewhat glossed over: "Angus, of Newcastle - who had not seen his brother for seven years...."

This does tend to suggest that there may have been a lack of closeness that appears to negate any perceived value of said sibling , not that a relative would have been permitted to negotiate directly with the subject anyway, as you rightly pointed out.

12 July, 2010 18:09

 
Blogger Ulla said...

In Denmark also, the police is armed always. No big deal.

12 July, 2010 18:46

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know why you are so suprised at the public backlash against the Police these days, not merely over this incident.

Over the last decade the Police have allowed themselves to become systematically politicised. You are no longer constables keeping the peace with the consent of the community, you are policy enforcement officers of the state. A huge difference. Your senior officers got too close to their political masters and let you (and the public) down.

Though I'm sure I'll be attacked for saying that.

Why, for example is a private limited company running operational police units? Think I'm talking rubbish. Check the legal status of ACPO.

Policing for profit has been introduced along with a raft of rediculous targets bemoaned by other "serving" bloggers. Check Road Policing activities.

Militarisation of the Police is also a problem though once again, officers will have to step outside of the bubble to genuinely see that.

I'm happy to discuss further, if you are. Would be interesting to see if our two points of view can find a meeting point.

That said, anyone who assisted or reveres Moat is clearly..... shall we say, mis-guided.

Like you, PC Rathband is a better man than I.

12 July, 2010 18:47

 
Anonymous serpico said...

I am beginning to think that may be his brother seriously needs help considering his following comments: "He had a string of domestic relationships which never worked out properly and perhaps the police were a little heavy on him a few too many times"

Is he serious?, a string of domestic relationship, I presume contained violence.

The police were a little heavy on him, yeah right; here is a chap that had fifteen convictions, beat women up and a young child. How do you think that the police are going to react, you pleb?

12 July, 2010 19:59

 
Anonymous Conor said...

It isn't seen as a matter of the police v criminals now though, but the police v everyone.
Law abiding photographers are stopped by the police, people are arrested with no evidence of a crime having been arrested.
This example caught my eye last year.
http://www.bexhillobserver.net/hastings-news/Oddfellows-Boxing-Day-death-no.5942488.jp
I have no sympathy with criminals, but little time for the police either. I wish the second was otherwise.

12 July, 2010 22:27

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

70's cop - without the tecnological ability to open google account-

Best wishes and get back to work soon Dave Rathburne, you are amongst the best of us.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tyne/10597960.stm

Unfortunately the Times Paywall prevents me from reading this article on-line or makes poating a link worthwhile, I got a paper copy, but Libby Purves column in today's Times -12/07/10- goes someway to redressing a balance, "Our trigger happy reaction:blame the cops". I can't type the whole 20 inches but the following is representative "as Northumbria's exhausted police breathe again, grateful that there were no more deaths, not only do blog-groups like 'I hate police' explode with the usual venomous jeering but in reputable media, too, the brigade of armchair-cheif-constables (cough Hayman you venomous turd) sit on their bums typing out dreary old sentences like 'there are many questions about the actions of police' and given the massive resources deployed, why the delay in locating Moat?.....Nobody really knows whether there is any cause at all for complaint: but that doesn't stop the headshakers rushing to implicit judgement." In hours of repeated non-interviews and speculation this is a breathe of fresh air.

In reply to Anonymous above - you raise some points that have been raised by Ellie Bloggs in the past, I think on some points you are preaching to the choir (this isn't an officially sanctioned blog) but I don't believe that this 'backlash' is as wide spread as you seem to believe. Largely anonymous (irony appreciated) on-line comments are not representative of the country at large even if some of what they say (and, from the thought in your post, I don't believe all) tallys with what you believe. In my opinion the bravado behind most of these comments has a lot in common with the anonymity and sense of protection that the isolation of your car gives you when swearing at the 7 foot trucker who just cut you up in traffic. Regardless of whether you accept this or not Ellie Bloggs and her ilk will be attending your calls to police (or your neighbours if you have that little faith in them). I apologise for the lenght of this post but I will leave Anonymous with one more excerpt from Purves' column
" we ask them (the police) to make everything lovely for us , and to be hard on "real" villains, while ignoring ojur own little breaches of the law.
"For is is also true that the gulf between the police and the middle- and scribbling and blogging - classes has been aggravated by several things. There is the virtual impossibility of the police rushing to every non-violent burglary - not least due to government paperwork; there is our pettyish resentment of speed cameras, and various unusual but well-publicised moments when police seem to go for soft targets: mild citizens eating an apple in a traffic jam or making disparaging remarks about the Welsh.
"But none of this is any excuse for us grown-ups to be down wid da kids by talking about the "pigs" and the "filth" (Anonymous I appreciate you did not do this) ; nor for automatically, joyfully. spitefully moving in to hammer the police whe a dangerous operation is underway, or pre-empting calm informed inquiries with teeth-sucking disapproval"

Ms Bloggs appreciate the room, apologies for the essay.
Ms Purves thank you (the coughing was all mine).

12 July, 2010 22:34

 
Blogger Z. E. Accordino said...

I actually haven't heard about this case yet. But from your blog and a quick google search, I'm quite shocked that the public would sympathize with him to the point of helping him flee the police. He sounds like a terrible person!

I'm not sure what the public's view of police is like in England, but it can be pretty iffy here in America. Sometimes you run into very nice, friendly officers that enjoy helping the people in their community. Other times you find control freaks with anger issues that sneer at you for daring to ask them for directions. Sometimes I really question how well our psych evaluations work. There's also a huge problem with racism over here when it comes to police in particular cities.

I actually read your blog and wish we had more officers like you over here. Don't get me wrong -we do have some and they are outstanding. But it's not enough to erase the growing fear and animosity. I know some might say that I'm just seeing the best side of you when I read your blog, but I've dealt with many officers on a personal level as well. I play World of Warcraft and have had to kick quite a few police officers and soldiers from my guild for their appalling behavior. The one guy's wife actually thanked me (she ended up staying).

I'd really like to see the police and the public mend their fences in the near future, but I'm not sure what that will take. Certainly the media holds a lot of power as to how the police are portrayed and which stories get told. But, at least here in America, I really think we need an overhaul of the entire system. We need to wipe out the power tripping and racism for starters.

12 July, 2010 23:36

 
Blogger Paul said...

"But to give up on the police altogether, to turn on them and say the police are the enemy and mean to do us harm, is to give up on modern society altogether. It is to say every man for himself and damned be the consequences. "

On my beat, this is the prevailing view.

12 July, 2010 23:45

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous,
Whilst I appreciate (and disagree :-) with your views on the politicisation of the police, I do not think that those are the sentiments behind the media driven torrent of sympathy for the dead murderer Moat.

It's just so wearing to have to constantly deal with the petty hostile crap from the Moat supporters on street level, without looking at a blog and seeing more criticism from armchair literati like yourself.
On the front line we are not political, we are too busy dealing with the detritus of humanity and the scum that are trying to prey on YOU.

And the reality is in day to day policing they don't care whether we are "too political" or ACPO that is a limited company.

Tang0

13 July, 2010 00:37

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Z.E Accordino I believe gives a very balanced and insightful view of an often difficult relationship between the police and the public. I think what s/he says about the situation in the USA mirrors the situation here in the UK.

There have been past UK "overhauls" of the system and determined attempts to wipe out racism and power tripping. Maybe the problem about racism within the force has improved in recent years, but only after a bit of a battle by some. The one who led it, a former police officer, was subjected to a very dirty tricks campaign, stitched up, falsely accused, prosecuted, unjustly found guilty and sent to prison.
Fellow officers abandoned him.

The "power tripping" arrogance still remains, as does misogyny, but that is often well hidden, especially by senior ranks.

Anon @ 18.47 - 12th July......

I have to agree with you!

13 July, 2010 02:57

 
Blogger PC Bloggs said...

Anon, when following policy and operational guidelines, a police officer does not have many options. No one will ever know how many of us DO challenge these, but a policy is nearly always a "lawful order", and if you don't obey that, you are liable for disciplinary action. The other suggestion frequently made to me is "if you don't agree then quit". I happen to believe you can still do a good job as a police officer even when hamstrung by bureaucracy, and whilst it is a constant battle it is one worth fighting.

13 July, 2010 07:37

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous,
I am surprised that you consider my post "aggressive", though I accept that you might not appreciate the title "armchair literati".

The police are always going to be an arm of "the Man" insofar as it comes to policing demonstrations, but it us difficult to see how some police requirement will not be necessary. I have policed many demonstrations most entirely peaceful.

When it comes to setting "political" priorities the ones that feature in my daily life are prioritising burglary, violent crime and car crime, and responding to jobs within certain times as per the not yet defunct policing pledge.

My team come to work and then immediately spend the next 8 to ten hours responding to calls made by the general public, going from job to job to job with occasional breaks to custody offices, mental health units, hospitals and writing rooms.

There is an element of politics in the measuring of targets or the use of statistics, but everyone recognises a "good job" - robbers caught with stolen property, burglars caught in flagrante.

The reality if our day to day work is that the public call and we respond. We can't get to every call but we will do our best.
Perhaps there is a "political culture" of arse covering, but to be honest that will always be there - the jobs where someone is probably ok but other agencies have gone hone and left it with us.
The perception that we are a political force operating to some dark government agenda is simply wrong. We are far too busy.

Tang0

13 July, 2010 08:14

 
Blogger Z. E. Accordino said...

Thank you, Anon (13 July, 2010 02:57). And thank you for bringing up misogyny as well. I imagine that's still a serious problem for many police forces. It's still a problem in the public sector after all.

PC Bloggs - I can't tell you how much I hate it when people say things like "if you don't agree then quit" or "America: Love it or Leave it." It's built upon the most ignorant, fallacious logic. It's the people who disagree and stay that make such a huge difference by effecting change from within and protecting the public from the harmful policies as best they can in the meantime. If you care enough to complain, why would you leave and let the status quo continue? That just never made sense to me.

13 July, 2010 08:14

 
Blogger Anonymouslemming said...

I'm afraid it has very much become a case of us vs them. I used to be a reservist, so I know some of the issues you're facing.

But you really are losing public confidence and when it comes up in many cases members of the police, instead of looking at the problem, just lash out and abuse the messenger.

Hell, Nightjack even published a whole list of ways to deal with the police purely because of the imbalances and biases within the system - and he was on YOUR side!

Unfortunately, the public do not see separations between the police, community support officers, the CPS, and the legal system - we just see the system that is supposed to be there to protect us failing us time and time again. Once you've been personally affected, you come away jaded.

I posted my experiences on gadget's blog the other day, but I'll sum it up for you...
1. Drug dealer openly working in my street - police did nothing.
2. Uninsured, unlicensed driver crashes into me. Address is known but registered keeper does not respond so the police mark the case NFA. My insurance company managed to find these people and gain a civil judgment against them, but somehow the police couldn't do anything.
3. Motorcycle stolen. Police mark case NFA in under 12 hours.

So since moving to the UK, the police have never helped me. BUT...

I'm a photographer. Not a professional, but I'm clearly not a spy. I don't wander about with a buttonhole camera posing Achmed the Dead Terrorist in pictures. I have a sodding great SLR and a tripod. But the 'police' have given me a load of grief despite my cooperation. They've lied to me about the law and my rights, and they've lied about their powers. Since ACPO Ltd. have sent out clarified instructions, they've carried on. In many cases these have been plastic plods, but they are still part of the police service, so you have to live with the results of their actions. However, now I no longer cooperate - I tried to be nice, but your team failed to live up to your side of the agreement. And we'll all be worse off for that, but the fault lies 100% with the police on this one.

It's got so bad that a photography magazine are issuing a lens cloth this month with your rights as a photographer on them - you have more than a PR problem at this point, and all of the people inside the service who try to make light of this are doing more harm than good.

Then we get to 'knife' crime. I carry a Leatherman supertool with me most of the time. It's a pocket knife with a load of useful tools. Much of the infrastructure for many websites that you probably used in the late 90's / early 00's was built with this tool. In pretty much all of the sensible world, this item is legal. In this poxy country, because the blade locks open (a safety feature over the old swiss army knife it replaced) it is not legal, and I have to be able to show good reason for having it with me. And for some reason police officers are quite happy to spend time on harassing me while the brutal murder of a woman 300 ft from my front door went cold in about 9 weeks. Excellent use of your time team!

Then you have case after case where people try to defend themselves because the police have shown that they clearly cannot respond in time to save you, only to be chastised or detained. Mylene Klass is hardly the most violent person I can think of off of the top of my head, but she gets an earful for brandishing a knife at people unlawfully on her property attempting to commit further crimes. Any sanction against them? Not that I ever heard!

According to FOIA requests, only 2% of motorcycles stolen in the city of London lead to arrests (no figures were available for convictions). Bicycle crime is at an all time high.

All of the above affects us as a public, but somehow it's not getting better; it's getting worse.

So yeah, it's us vs you. And guess who made it that way? We'll all suffer as a result.

13 July, 2010 08:36

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's your problem: video cameras are now small, cheap and practically ubiquitous, and Youtube is free. There are, simply, too many videos that everyone can see of police officers and even PCSOs throwing their weight around, abusing their powers, sometimes illegally. s44 stop and searches being used on innocent photographers makes the news too, which doesn't help.

Watch a few youtube videos of officers harassing photographers in London, then ask yourself objectively if the public has a right to be nervous of giving such people firearms.

13 July, 2010 08:54

 
Anonymous Conor said...

Z. E. Accordino
The public didn't help Moat. Some of his friends are alleged to have done so. Possibly more than the police thought initially.
The fact that so many law abiding people no longer trust the police is a separate issue.

13 July, 2010 09:42

 
Anonymous DJF said...

I'll tell you something folks, I'm genuinely surprised people would go so far as to leave flowers for Moat describing him as "a legend". I don't understand how those people are wired up. What is it that they are buying into I wonder? I don't think it's purely "anti-police sentiment".

That said, I can understand how people (even you police officers) might feel unfathomably, unexpectedly saddened by the way this ended. I know I did... I've tried to figure out why and I guess it's because the whole thing from beginning to end was so stupidly pointless.

For the officers involved (probably the civilians in the locality, too) I dare say, now the adrenaline of the hunt has given way, that they have the hangovers from hell. Hope they all have supportive families.

I can't imagine how I would feel in Rathband's place. Very much hope he recovers fully.

Re. the politicisation of the police. Sorry. Don't buy it. You could say police officers will inevitably be authoritarian in thinking to an extent. But even then there's no overarching political thinking or agenda. I agree that use of private companies in law and order is iffy, be it in a supporting capacity to the police or in court or prison services. That should be nipped in the bud.

13 July, 2010 11:52

 
Anonymous DJF said...

...Dunno why I'm engaging with this but...

Pete, c'mon. Everyone makes compromises in their work... we all hold our noses to get a pay cheque at the end of the month to some extent. Pretty much only i) the idle rich, ii) those on the dole, can afford perfect principles.

You sound a bit angry!

13 July, 2010 12:42

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He reckons he's an engineer - more than likely a mechanic or snot nosed lab technician with a massive chip on his shoulder. The fact that he uses Argos Security guards as an insult it makes me wonder if one upset him once whilst he was browsing the Elizabeth Duke catalogue for a nice pair of diamante creoles.

You know, for his tuesday night double life as a drag queen and £5per hour rent boy.

Standby for the bite.....

13 July, 2010 14:18

 
Blogger Juma said...

Pete's a troll. Don't engage w him.......

That said. I've been reading this blog for ages but never commented.

My sometimes home is northern Italy, and in Italy the public's trust in police / carabinieri isn't exactLy stellar.

HOWEVER, in Italy you never have stories like the woman who got arrested and held for 5 hours for taking a ball of some unruly, uneducated children and their father. And in the British press, there are stories like this every day.

The reaction of some to Moat is really strange though. This man beat his child and murdered a man for no reason. Seriously, some layers in the British society seem to have lost the plot completely.

And I'm including the press here, who don't seem to mention the poor police officer who got shot, but chronicle Moat's deed in every goory detail.

I think a lot less people support Moat than the press pretends.

Anyway, the few times I've had to deal with police, they've all been professional and helpful.

There needs to be a complete change in attitude from above though, to rebuild trust. Less targets, more common sense!

13 July, 2010 14:54

 
Anonymous DJF said...

Yes, Juma, "do try not begin a sentence with a conjunctive" otherwise your syntax will become "hoplessly" mangled!

13 July, 2010 15:23

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The wedge between us and the public was driven a long time ago by the media and politicians. The media, mostly liberal left wing in this country hate the police. They take advantage of the media vacuum left after these kind of events, by the failure of our leaders to defend their actions.
Our leaders do not defend us, or themselves, because the politicians will not et them, as they wish to have a scapegoat when things like this go wrong. Thy need that scapegoat to distance themselves from the fact that it is their policies that created this situation to begin with.
We need strong leaders, but they are not being given the oxygen to emerge. we need to get more assertive with the media and defend our actions more aggressively. our leaders cowardly responses to criticism does not inspire confidence in the public, and gives our detractors the confidence they need to repeatedly kick us.

13 July, 2010 16:42

 
Anonymous MFI said...

Anon@16:42

"I was only following orders" or targets or quotas.

Which is why the public, by and large, have nothing but contempt for you.

That, plus the fact that most Plod are dishonest, cowardly and stupid.

13 July, 2010 16:49

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MFI,
Learning to read might be a good start to a discussion, but then you might actually have to use reasoned argument rather than random abuse. :-)

Tang0

13 July, 2010 16:58

 
Blogger Juma said...

@anonymous 16.42: very interesting view. I've seen "strong leaders" and taciturn media THISCLOSE though, and it's not a ( good ) solution.

People's trust in the state and the police has hit a low.

I've also been in areas where people just make their own justice, and it's even worse than the health & safety & rules & targets nonsense going on in GB.

What is really worrying me is that the level of nonsense is getting close to the level where people will just go for their own justice, instead of calling the police.

I mean, seriously, what's the point of calling, if the police are busy arresting the woman holding on to a ball?

13 July, 2010 17:05

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Juma,
Re the ball incident.

How would you propose the police deal with a report of a woman who had taken a ball and refused to give it back, despite being asked by the childs father?

Tang0

13 July, 2010 17:16

 
Anonymous MFI said...

Juma, it must really have burnt your ass when you got arrested for taking the ball off that kid.... However, get over it already

Tang0 , you are are too sensitive to criticism. Probably because deep down, you just *know* that you are shit. ...Don't you, Buddy?

13 July, 2010 17:18

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MFI,
Yeah you're probably right on both points.
Cheers

Tang0

13 July, 2010 17:21

 
OpenID inspectorgadget said...

Can I just stick my head above the wall for a second to say that personally, I really don't give a monkeys what the public think of my policing. I don't have some politicians "revert to sad childhood" need to be loved by strangers. I just follow the law, try and be pleasant and act with fairness and humour. If people can't see it, it's their problem. I don't care; didn't in the Army, don't now.

13 July, 2010 19:45

 
Anonymous Gurdur said...

PC Bloggs,
your comments are totally correct, and then some -- but what would you recommend we MOP's can do?

One obvious thing is to start slowly campaigning for a broad, bipartisan political support for having many more British mainland police routinely armed.

Another thing is to slowly and consistantly campaign for taking personal reponsibility, and for keeping the dividing line between mad and bad clear: Moat did not need help, he needed to lose his arrogance and resentment. He refused to.

But what do you, as a serving police officer, see as real other ways in which we MOP's can be of real help?

13 July, 2010 20:18

 
Blogger Juma said...

That's my point. It's not a matter for the police. Children who damage someone's car by repeatedly throwing a cricket ball against it should be dealt with by their parents.

In most societies, if the parents fail, there are grandparents, religious / tribal / clan / social leaders who talk to the parties involved.

( If my dad had caught me damaging property when I was a kid, there would have been swift punishment ahead. Our teachers made sure we behaved while in school. After school there where other grown ups around who cared / where a pain in the neck).

Our local "reverend" new everyone by name, as did the head master, and so on. No one in my class grew up to be a feral youth.

Now, lots of parents don't care, teachers have no say, religion is no more for better for worse, and social leaders as a moral compass are unheard of.

I think that is sad.

What do you think those kids learnt that day? It's ok to be rotten arses, if anyone reacts, the police will take care of them.
How wrong is that?


And I repeat, it's just one example of many.

13 July, 2010 20:22

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Juma,
I hate having to harp on about one topic but FFS read the article.

NO allegation of criminal damage can possibly have been made to the police, and "repeatedly damaging the car" is coming from your own imagination. If they had been, as with any provable or unprovable neighbourhood dispute it would have easily been resolved (though allegations might subsequently have been made to the papers)
The thought of any cop particularly an NPT officer voluntarily submiting themselves to the ordeal of the custody office, file prep and CPS when ANY other option exists beggars belief :-) As demonstrated by their subsequent visits in an attempt to resolve the situation.

The cricket ball was picked up on the street NOT her garden.
Dad went round to ask for it back, perhaps the two adults could have resolved the issue then.

The cops went round initially , then returned 5 days later, THEN "arrested by appointment".

The suggestion that she would have returned the ball if the police had said they would speak to the neighbours is, as with the criminal damage, quite frankly, bollocks. Neighbourhod cops and, to give them their due PCSO's resolve nonsense like this on a daily if not hourly basis.

The "5 hours in custody" was largely due to the woman turning up at her prearranged appointment without arranging for a free solicitor and then requesting one on arrival.

It was a total waste of police time, but let's not blame the police.

If you are going to criticise at least get the facts right - not even the Telegraph writes it as a "hooligan kids" article.

Tang0

14 July, 2010 00:47

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that stories in the press of police officers arresting the woman who refused to hand over the ball to the pain in the ass kids, who damaged HER car with it, certainly do very little for police PR.

I can recall as a kid being told by my parents to have consideration for the neighbours when we were playing outside, especially with a ball. On the occasions when the ball strayed into a neighbours property we would ask very politely if we could have the ball back. One day, the ball went into the same property for the 4th time, and when we knocked on the door to ask for it back again, we were told very firmly...NO you cannot, now go away and stop being a nuisance!

Complaints to parents about Mrs Righton nicking our ball fell on deaf ears. In fact we got a telling off for being a pain to the neighbours and were told it was our own fault for being careless with the ball and for having no consideration for others!
That taught us to be more careful in future, when playing outside with a ball which we didn't want to lose.

PCSO's should have been sent to deal with that one, rather than constables, who viewed it as the woman whose car had been damaged was a "thief", because she refused to hand back the ball to the inconsiderate nuisance kids.

What the hell has gone wrong in policing, where the victims of crime are often treated like they are in the wrong? And arrested???

14 July, 2010 01:26

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous,
Everyone can remember getting in trouble with neighbours for losing balls in gardens.
Most can probably remember getting in trouble with parents for annoying neighbours with ball games.

Unfortunately reading the FACTS of this case this was not what happened in this incident.

It could have been resolved by dad going round -she refused.

It could have been resolved by the PC and PCSO that went round - she refused.

It could have been resolved by the Sgt that went round - she refused.

She claims all she wanted was the police to go round and speak with the family - do you HONESTLY think that the cops would not have taken that option if she had offered it at the time?

If we are so driven by easy arrests as the public often seem to think, then would we not have attended once, locked her up for theft and the kids up for crim damage, two prisoners, two defections, job done :-)


The people driving a wedge between "them" and "us" in this case are the media with a subtly spun story, and the public who haven't actually read the article.

Tang0

14 July, 2010 10:39

 
Blogger thespecialone said...

Dont forget that the likes of the Daily Mail spin anti-police stories on a regular basis. Some are true. Some are not. Not one single person in the police will say 'we do everything right' and you are wrong. The fact of the matter is is that the police are there to enforce the law. If a police officer tries to use common sense, often that isnt good enough for the 'targets'. Unfortunately the guys and girls in the frontline are the ones who get it in the neck day in day out. But remember who makes the laws (parliament) and who are the thickwits who need to reach 'targets'? I accept that not all frontline police are superb enforcers of the law. Just like all soldiers are not brilliant soldiers and some estate agents are not very good at selling houses. Unfortunately the media in general never reports the good work that police do day in day out and get zero recognition for it. The police are easy targets for the media.
I will give you one example of a duty I did to do with anti-social behaviour by 'boy racers' because the public were getting annoyed with it. The local LibDem MP came along; heard the briefing; complained that the police were wasting time because boy racers do no harm; had his pic taken by the local rag; and then left despite us thinking he would be there for at least an hour. This took place on a Sunday night. I am a special constable and could afford to devote some of my own free time. The useless MP couldnt even be bothered to support the police let alone hang around to see us in operation.
The point of all this? To show you that there are dedicated men and women up and down the country who get abused, spat at, kicked, punched, deal with the underclass internal arguments. This is NEVER recognised in the media and it is about bloody time it was.

14 July, 2010 20:42

 
Anonymous MFI said...

"Tang0", you are parochial to say the least.


You are also an idiot

14 July, 2010 21:06

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tango....All that fuss over a ball!

But did the full facts get reported in the newspaper? I do recall reading it in the Daily Mail and thinking how ridiculous.

Did the woman ask the dad to pay for the damage done to her car?

Did the dad refuse to do that and also refuse to tell his kids to have more respect for others and to not damage their property.

AND, more to the point, what on earth were kids doing playing cricket, with a HARD BALL, in the street? Again, ridiculous.....if not anti-social and a high risk of someone getting hurt by a cricket ball. Even adults playing cricket have protective shin pads, head gear and face guards.

15 July, 2010 03:32

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MFI,
Commenting on police stories on police blogs?
Yes, you are probably right on both counts.

Tang0

16 July, 2010 01:02

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I have gleaned from the media coverage of the Moat incident, it's clear that he was a violent bully who had beaten and raped his former girlfiend and mother of his two children. She says to the Mail, that police pleaded with her to get him to court over it, but she was too scared of him to see it through.

Further details have come out via his friends and tape recordings Moat made about his dissatisfaction with Social Services and the "persecution" of him by the police. No doubt the authorities knew he had a history of violence against women and quite rightly didn't support him in his wishes to have his children live with him. From Moat's warped point of view, the police and S.S gave him a hard time. [justifiably]

I suspect that Moat's "cry for help" to the S.S in asking for a psychologist and counselling to improve his behaviour, was an attempt at manipulation of the system, to gain access to his children, of the former partner he beat up and raped.

Quite how so many people could regard Moat as some sort of "hero" and a legend, because he escaped capture for a week, beggars belief.

There does appear to be an "Us and Them" gulf between the working class poor, and the benefit claimants, who are often lumped in with the "criminal underclass", and the agencies of the state, especially within the Health and Social Care agencies, and including the police. The former often do not have the feel-good factor often enjoyed by those who work in the public sector, many of whom treat the former with total contempt. That causes resentment and hostility from the "not have's" towards the obviously better off "have's" who are usually very well paid to monitor and control the "not have's".

George Galloway, the Respect MP was on BBC's Question Time last week, and he made a very insightful comment about the "simmering resentment" felt by the under-privaliged poor in society towards those who have a better standard of living. His insight was dismissed by others on the panel, but George Galloway was accurate in what he said.

It is an "Us and Them" situation which has evolved due to an overly powerful and controlling state.
The bloated public sector workers and the rich have become richer, whilst the poor and the unskilled working classes have become poorer, and condemned and disapproved of by the better off.

The "underclass" were just waiting for a "hero" who stuck two fingers up at the system, and along came the bullying murdering rapist Raoul Moat, and 24/7 rolling news.

18 July, 2010 04:12

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the blog post :

"Certainly reading comments about the arming of police, many members of the public seem to think the firearms given to the police are there to be used against the public and that therefore they want to have guns too. I always thought that the police force in any civilised country is the weapon at the belt of the public."

A country where the police are armed and the public are denied access to guns falls into the classic definition of a "Police State".
Now, I'm not suggesting the UK is quite at the point of what we think of when we hear the words "Police State", but it all starts somewhere.

I don't think I need a gun, but then I don't think Plod does either, nor does he need tazers (in case he shoots me in the nuts in an "accidental discharge" on a routine traffic stop, as has been reported as happening to some poor geezer today).
I was taught that when a Policeman says something, you obey, because we respect their authority (Cartman?). Alas, these days, I don't respect anyone who dresses like Robocop and might tazer me if I don't show enough submission. In other words, the Chief Constables falling over themselves to buy new weapons and armour have driven me into the camp of people who now wouldn't cross the street to help a cop in trouble, or phone them to grass up someone like Mr Moat.
Sod it, if you are driving around in armoured cars FFS, find him yourself, and if he manages to get a lucky shot in and pop one of you, like David popping Goliath with his slingshot, be prepared for people like me to give a wry grin.

I'm not going to glorify a dick like Moat, but most "ordinary" people like me found it hilarious watching news footage of phalanxes of officers shuffling around with shield Testudos, and the seemingly increasing desperation in the appeals for someone to turn Moat in. I thought the guy doing the appeals was going to cry at one press conference because the public weren't playing ball. Perhaps he was thinking of his career going down the toilet. Snipers, armoured cars, RAF Tornados, 17 police forces, total lockdown of the town and what happens? Moat gets killed by a tazer...erm, I mean he blows his head off with a sawn-off, skilfully managing to leave no visible gunshot wounds (according to his uncle). See, not even me, Mr Ordinary MOTP, believes the official story of Moat's death, and I consider myself to be a rational, educated fellow.

Ho hum

Dr Brownfinger, England.

20 July, 2010 18:59

 
Blogger PC Bloggs said...

Last commenter, in the "routine traffic stop" you refer to, the driver became aggressive and the officer went to draw his tazer as a warning. Yes it's pretty embarrassing that he let it off as he drew it, but it wouldn't have been drawn if the guy wasn't threatening the officer.

Unfortuantely the sentiments suggested in your last paragraph are exactly the reason why more and more officers would like to be armed.

21 July, 2010 16:08

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, well, I suppose we have been reading different reports, in every one I have seen the driver "appeared to become aggressive", I wonder what that entails?

Getting out of the car, slamming the door, throwing his arms up and going "FFS! Why have you stopped me?" Or perhaps he grabbed an iron bar and strode towards Plod snarling "You're dead Porky"? Which is more likely? Who knows? Of course the policeman says he "appeared" to become aggressive, so of course he is right, because policemen never lie or exaggerate, do they? Not forgetting, of course, that appearing to become aggressive and becoming aggressive are two completely different things, as well he knows.

It's getting to the point where arguing is deemed as aggression, I doubt it will be long before "looking like he was thinking aggressive thoughts" becomes a tazer-able offence. Of course there are circumstances where argumentative people are going to kick off, usually where they are blind drunk, but you know when someone is going to attack, and when he is just being a gobby arsehole. If you are pointing a tazer at someone for 20 seconds, as claimed by a witness (albeit a non-neutral one), you ought to know whether you are in imminent danger, and I would surmise that in this case the officer wasn't. He was acting "in accordance with protocol", in other words, it'll soon be standard practice to point a tazer at anyone who doesn't immediately hit the pavement in silence or dares to eyeball the policeman. Nice. What was I saying about a Police State above?

I'm not anti-police, far from it, but the obscene haste to tool up with more and more weaponry has made me very suspicious of them, they want to be Dirty Harry. I'd rather be back in the Good Old Days where PC Plod clipped kids' ears, everyone knew he did, and he wouldn't be making up BS about scrumpers appearing to become aggressive by climbing over the orchard wall to run away, leaving him no option but to tazer them unconscious before he took DNA samples for the database.

Finally, my previous post's last paragraph is a good reason why more officers want to be armed? Are you kidding? Because I expressed an opinion that they looked incompetant, or because I don't believe the offical story about Moat's death? Riii-iiight, OK, yeah, I can see why that would leave more officers desperate to be tooled up, in case someone like me dares criticise them or laugh at their Keystone Cops impressions and inability to apprehend a bull-necked halfwit, despite having more gadgets gizmos and utility belt thingamys than Robocop. That's dangerous dissent, I suppose, I ought to watch my step, good job I won't be carrying any table legs about in a carrier bag, we all know what happens to disruptive elements who do that, don't we?

If that's the case, I'd like access to guns too please, you know, for "personal protection", in case someone sends me a harshly worded e-mail or laughs at the way I do my job. Scary.
I'd venture that those officers need to be weeded out, they are obviously teetering on the brink, perhaps they can emigrate to Chile, the rozzers there are always looking for more headcases.
They can take the dickwit officer who tazered Mr Cox, he obviously had his finger on the trigger as he lowered or raised, depending on whose story you believe, his weapon, and as even kids who have airguns know*, you NEVER put your finger on the trigger until you are at least in a position to shoot. Sounds like he panicked to me, and panicky Plod are the last people I want to get their hands on any weapons, it might just be me who gets slotted for being a smart-arse. Lucky for Mr Cox it was a tazer and not a H&K MP5, that would have really spoiled his day.

*Well, they should know that, it was drummed into me as a kid with my first pellet gun

Dr Brownfinger

21 July, 2010 21:35

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did a quick search on facebook and it appears there is a much larger following against Mr Moat than for him. Also at the time of searching the numbers of both sets of groups combined would have approached 18k. These groups would have had a lot of duplicates where the same person joins the (poorly spelt) "Moat you ledgend" and "Moat our Hero."

Seems another none story from our lazy sales orientated press.

22 July, 2010 15:05

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Dr Brownfinger. I agree with you 100%, and you are most certainly not wrong in what you say.

There has been, and still is, a very nasty influence at work in this country that has "infected" a lot of people in all the public services, including the police force.

There was Intel held by "bosses" in London giving accurate info as to where Moat would be hiding out, in a tunnel under the village - the storm drain. But that info was sat upon and not shared with those who were searching for Moat. Why?
Because they wanted to use that incident, like the Derrick Bird killing spree, to justify the argument for arming ALL coppers.

How much money was wasted on the week long search for Moat? And that at a time of cuts in the police's funding. A disgrace.

Having received strong warnings from the prison about Moat's intention to do serious harm, he could have been met at the prison gate upon his release, and sectioned under 136 of the MHA.

I wonder how PC David Rathband feels about the facts of this case, as he was blinded by Moat due to the bad faith and incompetence of some on his OWN side.

23 July, 2010 04:38

 

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