Category Archives: policing (weak)

Whited sepulchres: England’s no-good cops

Then: deliberately unthreatening uniform

Cowardice of the police in Great Britain

Dalrymple notes that in the UK, the Chinese flu

revealed how quickly the police could be transformed from a civilian force that protects the population as it goes about its business into a semi-militarised army of quasi-occupation.

The transformation is not new.

It has been a long time since the policeman was the decent citizen’s friend. Under various pressures, not the least of them emanating from intellectuals, he has become a bullying but ineffectual keeper of discipline, whom only the law-abiding fear.

Nice to the nasty, nasty to the nice

Dalrymple first sensed this many years ago when a traffic policeman asked to see his licence.

‘Well, Theodore…’ he started, calling me by my first name when a few years before he would have called me ‘Sir.’ I had gone from being his superior, as a member of the public in whose name he exercised his authority, to being a minor, whom it was his transcendent right to call to order. He was the boss, I the underling.

Now: festooned with the apparatus of oppression

The change in uniform has worked in the same direction.

Since the time of Peel, the uniform of the British policeman was unthreatening, deliberately so, his authority moral rather than physical. Now he is festooned with the apparatus of repression, if not of oppression, though he represses very little of what ought to be repressed — in case it fights back. The modern police intimidate only those who do not need deterring. Those who do need deterring know that they have nothing much to fear from these empty vessels.

Concentrate on the inessential

Dalrymple points out that the Wuhan virus has come as a boon to the British police.

Increasingly criticised for their concentration on pseudo-crimes such as hate speech at the expense of neglecting real crimes such as assault and burglary, to say nothing of organised sexual abuse of young girls by gangs of men of Pakistani origin, they could now bully the population to their heart’s content. And they could imagine that in doing so, they were performing a valuable public service, preserving the law and public health at the same time. Thus they transformed their previous moral and physical cowardice into a virtue.

In bullying the average citizen who was very unlikely to retaliate,

they took no risks, unlike with genuine wrongdoers and law-breakers, who tend to be dangerous.

Ordered to comply with the latest nostrums of political correctness

Most individual policemen joined the force

motivated by some kind of idealism, a desire to do society some service.

Morally bankrupt leadership

Before long, though,

they had these naïve fantasies knocked out of them by the corrupt leadership of the hierarchy which owes its ascendency to its willingness to comply with the latest nostrums of political correctness.

The faint embers of the policeman’s initial idealism were no doubt rekindled by the opportunity to prevent the spread of the China flu, as they supposed that they were doing, but

they far exceeded even their flexible and vaguely-defined authority and began to inspect citizens’ shopping bags to determine whether they were hoarding goods that might be in short supply.

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 reliable and trustworthy police force is not a denial of freedom but a precondition of its exercise

This ‘all coppers are bastards’ view of the police has spread, Dalrymple observes,

to a large section of the bourgeois intellectual class. Not long ago a journalist told me, en passant, that he hated the police. I asked why: had they falsely arrested, unjustifiably manhandled, brutally interrogated him? No, he replied: he had no personal reason; he just hated them for what they were. Well, as Lear said, nothing comes of nothing: and the journalist’s hatred of the police was unlikely to have sprung completely at random and fully formed from his consciousness. I suspected, as is so often the case with opinions lightly adopted but firmly held, that this one was forged from a combination of ignorance, dishonesty, and fashion. By expressing a dislike of the police, a bourgeois intellectual is establishing his solidarity with the poor.

But the bourgeois intellectual

needs to find reasons for his opinions: rationalisation is his métier. And it isn’t difficult for him to think up such reasons with regard to the police. Their function is to defend the social order: and since the social order is widely held to be responsible for the poverty of the poor, it follows that the police are in part responsible for that poverty. They are a part of the social injustice system.

This pretence, that the police are

but the executive arm of a hypocritical bourgeoisie determined to preserve its ill-gotten gains at the expense of the poor,

is

terrifyingly shallow when tested against the experience of people who suffer weak policing.

Dalrymple points out that the idea that a juster social order would render the police redundant is

utopian nonsense.