Category Archives: police laxity

British policing in the old days

A policeman who was taking early retirement said to Dalrymple:

In the old days, we was nice to the nice people, and we was nasty to the nasty people.

The policeman told Dalrymple that

now that the police were professionally obliged to be nice to everyone, he could no longer stand the work. The strain of exercising no discretion was too great.

A frivolous, hopeless wreck of a police force

Nero’s fiddling was effective firefighting by comparison

Britain has by far the highest rate of violent crime in Western Europe, about five or six times that of Spain, for example. What is the response of the British police? Dalrymple writes that it is a fact of modern British life that

as the police appear more and more to resemble the paramilitary force of an authoritarian régime or military dictatorship, they become less and less effectual, whom only the law-abiding fear.

They seem to concentrate ever less on real police work, and

engage in parallel pseudo-activities, such as commiserating with the victims of the crimes they have failed to prevent and in the vast majority of cases make no attempt to solve.

He notes that a break-in during which an elderly person is murdered, for example,

is increasingly apt to be described as ‘a burglary that went tragically wrong’.

The British police love to

waste their time on the pseudo-pastoral care of those whom I suppose we must now call their clients.

Their primary object appears to be

work avoidance through work creation, a seemingly frantic activity — while never having to do anything that actually conduces to any conceivable end other than early retirement on the grounds of ill-health through stress. This is a world that is forever developing training packages, building and delivering capacity, etc., while actually doing nothing. Nero’s fiddling, by comparison, was effective firefighting – evidence-based, of course. It is always time for thinking outside the box, ringfencing a safe space for blue-skies thinking.

A Holy Office

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 08.53.25The police in Britain, writes Dalrymple, show a

sinister propensity to make mass arrests after a public outcry about something or other. It is not so much that the people arrested are innocent, but that the police appear to act in response to mob sentiment rather than to transgression of the law. Having ignored evidence of wrongdoing by people in high places for years or even decades, they suddenly act as a Holy Office, perhaps to deflect criticism from themselves.

Both the initial laxity and the subsequent zeal

undermine the impartiality of the law, with serious social consequences: for if the law is not impartial the moral imperative to obey is fatally weakened and people feel morally free to do what they can get away with.