Friday 9 June 2023

The Police have lost the Middle Class

Growing up as a very middle-middle-class child (you knew that, didn't you?), respect and benefit-of-the-doubt for the Police came up with the rations.  It wasn't until I mixed with the soldiery in my first regiment that I had regular dealings with people for whom "All coppers are bastards" was axiomatic.

These things don't change overnight but it seems now that we've gone past the point where the middle classes would give automatic credence to the police.  The symptoms are many and various.  For me, the last straw has been how they allowed themselves to be captured by woke doctrine, typified by their being in thrall to Stonewall's outrageous protection-racket proselytizing on the trans issue, to the point where fairly moderate Guardianista feminists fear for their freedom of speech at the hands of the police.  Others would point to the way the police seem often to lie and prevaricate as a first reflex on sticky issues.  Or the way that a Safety Case must be defined before anyone can get stuck in.  (In my street last week, 5 (five) police attended to round up a perfectly peaceable, indeed rather bewildered, lost dog.)  Or the way recruiting standards have been remorselessly lowered, firstly to accommodate "diversity" targets and nowadays just to recruit anyone at all.  And that's before we get onto the outright criminal behaviour of some individual officers.

This is a very bad state of affairs indeed.  We know from places like Mexico and a hundred other hell-holes that when the police feel themselves totally beleaguered and unloved, they retreat into their corporate shell and become just the biggest and best-armed gang on the streets.  (Well, in some countries, not even the best-armed.)  Large-scale corruption and worse follow swiftly.

Reputations can be turned around: but it ain't easy - particularly when the zeitgeist runs strongly against tough, dictatorial leadership of the sort that can (sometimes) turn around, e.g., a foundering corporation or a military unit;  though it seems the new Chief Constable of Manchester is giving it a go.   But the likes of Cressida Dick?  Don't make us laugh.

(An example of deep and successful reputational turnaround one might have noticed over the years is Private Eye: under Ingrams it became a byword for casually inaccurate stories and consequent lawsuits, and the courts pretty much gave plaintiffs the benefit of the doubt.  Bit by bit, Hislop turned this around, to the point where today the courts actually give the benefit of the doubt completely the other way around.   Ask any PR firm how they'd advise a client who was contemplating suing the Eye just now.)

But these things aren't quick to achieve, and are in any case many times easier for a small organisation.  It's gotta be done, though.  And in terms of the biggest force, the most pivotal force of the lot: does anyone imagine Sadiq Khan is the man to reform the Met he's notionally responsible for?



Bill Quango MP said...

My son and I have a line we like to use from a football commentary.

World class Manchester City keeper Ederson was out with injury.
Third world class reserve goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was on in his place.

The commentator, attempting to be charitable, says that goalie Bravo has had only a patchy record that season. But when he is playing second fiddle to one of the best on the planet, he has to make the very most of the opportunities he has to play, when he can.

Few minutes later, an only semi-decent shot at goal from quite a distance goes beneath the keeper Claudio, and into the Man City goal.

Commentator says …”I’m not saying Ederson would have saved that … .. but….Ederson would have saved that.”

This amusing and accurate observation can be easily tweaked to apply to almost all of the UK’s most unwelcome, unwanted and baffling public institutions and social fabric changes of the 21st century.

“I’m not saying this is ALL the fault of Tony Blair … … .. but .. .. this is all the fault of Tony Blair.”

Matt said...

There probably are some good coppers who are let down by senior ranks and deserve better. However, there is no good way to identify them from the outside, the the best approach is to save your piss if you see one on fire.

dearieme said...

Wish I hadn't sold my rifle.

Anonymous said...

“I’m not saying this is ALL the fault of Tony Blair … … .. but .. .. this is all the fault of Tony Blair.”
Tony gave us
Reform of the House of Lords
The Supreme Court
The Welsh Assembly
The Jock Assembly
Unlimited immigration from the new EU states.
A great, great man.

Anonymous said...

OT but so far the Leopards are proving a great sales aid for US tanks

and NATO exercises start in 2 days.

Anyone got any potassium iodide tablets?

Anonymous said...

could not agree more. the police are _hopeless_. in deepest darkest most dangerous suburban surrey collectively all faith in them is gone.

not because we afraid of being wrongly chucked in the back of the van a knee on our neck and no able to breath, but they just dont meet basic fit for purpose requirements of protect the taxpayers and give the wrong un's a hard time.

not to go into details, but we ended up with a small mob being organised to turn up on via whatsapp as the assumption was correctly the police would be nowhere to be seen. 200+ vans done and 20+ burglaries with the same MO in 12 months make this happen. police - told us to stop it. talk to the 101 call centre. they might of well of called my old mum.

is this a unique to the badlands of surrey thing. i doubt it.
first person who shows a hint of solving this and our myriad of similar problems gonna do well.

Sobers said...

All thats happened is that the police have joined the rest of the public sector in being utterly sh*t. The wonder is why they weren't for so long. The police aren't going to reform themselves any more than the NHS is.

I also think that technology has done for the police - it used to be that it was the word of the police vs AN Other(s), and everyone took the police's word, because there was no third party evidence to suggest they were lying. Now everyone has a TV camera in their pocket, and its commonplace for people to record the police breaking the law behaving like d*cks, and lying their @rses off. And we can all see it. Chances are they were always like it, but the general public weren't able to see it.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of technology - with all the money-making cameras on the roads (speed, red light, bus lane, &ct) the police are seen by everyone with a driving licence as the enemy. You cannot make an honest mistake out there without being heavily penalised.

The councils don't help with their parking enforcement and LEZs charging all the civil penalties, as from the cash perspective they are all part of the same cartel.

A friend had her Land Rover stolen, amazingly found on a Pikey caravan site as part of another enquiry. We were impressed with the Police over that, until they refused to prefer charges against the protected species.

Elby the Beserk said...

Matt said...
There probably are some good coppers who are let down by senior ranks and deserve better. However, there is no good way to identify them from the outside, the the best approach is to save your piss if you see one on fire.

7:51 pm


Unless you piss fire.

Regardless, it's not a problem in Somerset where we live. There ARE no policemen. Or women.

jim said...

Seems to me the police are stuck with being piggy in the middle. Politicians on one side and the effects of our economy on the other. Not helped by kicking wronguns upstairs for 40 years and having the Home Office as the boss. Back a while a copper on a charge got a free barrister to defend him. I had an interesting chat with one - always got his man off - as intended. Government don't want no trouble from the cops.

Some WW1 general got a shock seeing the UK working class actually had white skins - such is the class divide. What he was doing in the bath house heaven knows.

The politicians are frit of demonstrations and banner waving and the competent lobbying of journalists - hence the police toe the line re Woke & LGBTQIA+ and god knows what. Rather that than hanging round public bogs or kicking a black lad down the stairs. BTW we don't have public bogs any more, just a dark doorway without cctv.

So we wind the police numbers up and down to suit the political need. Pay off and hire back - genius.

Now what do you do about young tearaways on dumptown estates - its the economy stoopid. But our genius strategists swallowed the line that manufacturing was all over - so nowhere for middling folk in dumptowns to work - remember the thousands pouring out of factories at whistle time. Even the dimmest got a job sweeping up swarf. Now the need is just filtering through to the brainboxes in parliament, in time to see the last steelworks close.

Manufacturing requires a spot of investment in people and skills and ignoring the mess, the roads and the houses needed. All a bit of a bore for a metropolitan polly. We can't all work for the National Trust or the BBC or flip houses.

Through a geriatric haze Biden can see the need to keep the very few really good technologies to himself. The US has the same problems as the UK. Sunak is hoping for just a few crumbs. Why? because we have found we cannot build time machines or galactic transporters and it is impossible to teach tensor calculus or Lacanian psychoanalysis to 14 year olds. So we are stuck with boring smartphones and writing screenplays and cutting each other's hair.

BTW anyone can de-limit a leccy bike - zoom zoom crash - plenty more to come.

dearieme said...

"it is impossible to teach tensor calculus to 14 year olds."

I wonder - the elements are not that hard. Still, I'll grant that 17 might be more sensible, and limited to the mathematically gifted.

I used to work in an academic department where tensor calculus was used in two different lecture courses. Naturally the two used different sign conventions.

Anonymous said...

I do wonder if the introduction of the Police and Crime Commissioner has had a hand to play into the politicastion of the Police.

I like the idea in principle, if meant getting Police leaders like Sheriff Grady Judd (Polk County, Florida) , here's a quote:
"[To looters] I would tell them, if you value your life, they probably shouldn’t do that in Polk County. Because the people of Polk County like guns, they have guns, I encourage them to own guns, and they’re going to be in their homes tonight with their guns loaded, and if you try to break into their homes to steal, to set fires, I highly recommend they blow you [looters] back out of the house with their guns!"

But instead we're offered people who have often never even worked in the Police - my local won worked in banking and then as a local councillor.

dustybloke said...

The fate of all organisations that worship Diversity Inclusion Equity is plain to see…

Anonymous said...

It was 30+ years ago that I spent an afternoon chatting with a guy who was about to retire from the local force. He was a Chief Superintendent, not an ACPO rank but senior enough. He predicted everything that has happened in the intervening period. When he joined the city had its own force; senior officers were pillars of the local community and were not in post for a couple of years before moving on to the next rung of the Home Office-controlled promotion ladder. His view was that the loss of local ties (and control) to a Home Office-dominated system would eventually lead to a loss of public confidence.

Nessimmersion said...

Here is how Surrey Police are protecting us against the menace of Mum-of-5 Caroline Farrow:

Surrey police have applied for a stalking protection order as a result of material I have posted on Twitter.

On page 1 of the bundle repeated misgendering is cited.

I will be assigned an “offender manager”.

I will not be allowed to use any Social Media, Social Networking, Gaming, Dating (lol) site without this person’s written permission and having supplied them with usernames and passwords for all sites within 3 days.

Here are the prohibitions they are seeking tomorrow morning.

In addition the following requirements are added:

1. Allow Police Officers to enter your registered address(es), between the hours of 8am and 8pm, to conduct a risk assessment, monitor devices, and manage compliance of the order

2. Provide your Offender Manager with any mobile, digital, or internet enabled devices for examination, review, and monitoring purposes, immediately upon request. You must also your provide your Offender Manager with any access PINs, passwords, or patterns. Examinations may be completed manually on scene, or could entail them seizing your device(s) for examination by agencies contracted by the police for that purpose. Failing to disclose the existence of a device in your possession to your Offender Manager will count as a failure to comply with this condition.

3. Re-register home address every 12 months at a Police Station (within 365 days of last registration)

4. Provide your Offender Manager with list of all mobile, digital, or internet enabled devices that you own or have access to use. The list must be provided within three days of the order being granted or within three days of any changes

Signed by Surrey Police Superintendent

“I consider that in accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 8 of HRA, an interference by this force as a public authority is in accordance with the law and is necessary.”

I left out another condition Surrey police are asking for.

5. Possessing, owning or using more than one mobile phone and one SIM card, unless with written permission from your Offender Manager in the area that you reside. You must provide the telephone number and unique identifying numbers of all device(s) within three days of this order being granted or within three days of and supplying any changes within 3 days of any such change.
10:50 am · 7 Jun 2023

Caeser Hēméra said...

Having seen the police from the position of family members (always finished their brew before going out for a call, xmas and birthday presents sourced from, errr, non-traditional sources, and a large dollop of racist and sexist opinions to be found), needing them (couple of burglaries) and youthful errors of judgement (not wanting to a dob in a foolish associate, now high up in the public sector, woken up from a drunken stupor fists first) I've several tales fit for firesides with ale at hand.

By and large I found them generally a bit lazy on low level crimes, not the most observant (said foolish associate had class Cs on him, luckily handcuffs were a minor inconvenience for my range of hand movement, and there was the time a trail of blood from door A to door B was not followed), but highly motivated on the worst crimes and it was pot luck if you got a useful one or a noddy bobby. They were also very good at watching each others backs and, if not breaking the rules, quite happy to see how far they could be bent.

So, pretty much standard human beings in the Public Sector.

As far as I can tell, centralisation and number tweaking has led to something of a two tier system, the ones working in the bits of the building with older carpet and cheap teabags are as above. Then there are the nice carpets, the expensive coffee machines, expensive chairs... These are the greasy, Mandelson types. Paint some rainbows on cars, do a float, don't upset the minorities, boogie with XR, get a promotion.

In both cases, the kind of low level crime annoying the public is not a priority, not unless it directly impacts them anyway. At least previously the bosses were keen on keeping the public happy, now, not so much.

Had a friend call them over his car being vandalised, when they eventually turned up, it was suggested he'd done it himself.

Supermarkets in some areas stopped (and may still do so) fuel thefts, because someone would call out and do little other purchase a snack and write some notes.

People are just not reporting many lower level crimes, because it is useless, but it still has an impact on their lives.

We already see some vigilantism going on, and this is something the government needs to wake up to.

People stopping reporting crime to the police may bring the stats down, it doesn't bring the crime down. And if the police aren't doing their job, well, it follows there's a gap to be filled, and it won't be filled with anything to do with the rule of law.

Some tit in a suit can point to all the PowerPoint presentations in the world about what a great job they're doing, at the street level no one believes it as it isn't their lived experiences.

Out of government, this would be something I'd suggest the Tories laser-focus on, it's nationwide, and it's unlikely Labour will do much about it. Recognition of the problem will go a long way with the electorate, both at local and national level.

But they to recognise the issue first, and that's won't happen in power.

Nick Drew said...

Excellent tour d'horizon, CH. Picking up on a couple of things:

highly motivated on the worst crimes - I was recently on the jury for a complex murder / multiple GBH case (essentially gang warfare), neither perps nor surviving victims would talk (on principle, I think: they all seemed fearless); false alibis etc. Police did a really cracking forensic job in these unpromising circumstances with telephone / CCTV / taxi / hotel records etc. As CH says, they can pull the stops out when something is deemed worthy of the A-team

already see some vigilantism going on - this was at the heart of one of the two big arson incidents during the Croydon phase of the 2011 riots, as I wrote at the time (the Broad Green incident - see when a Certain Community took revenge on the very effective private patrolling of Another Community

Out of government, this would be something I'd suggest the Tories laser-focus on - good strategising. It would of course have the effect of driving plod even further into the embrace of the Left, though. Then, watch out for any few remaining civil liberties ...

Wildgoose said...

I was born and bred in Rotherham and so my current opinions of the Police (who actively protected the criminals responsible) can probably be understood.

The worry should not be losing the support of the Middle Classes.

The worry should be losing the support of the otherwise law-abiding Working Classes. As one friend has told me, the definition of true friendship is the ability to call someone in the middle of the night and simply state "I need your help, bring a shovel".

Anonymous said...

We seem to have travelled a long way from the Peelian principles:
To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.
To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.

Bill Quango MP said...

Fortuitously an article appears over at Going Postal.

“ High up in the list is the almost entire absence of the symbol of law and order in our streets — the policeman on the beat, a man who, in my day, knew everyone worth knowing (and to be avoided!) and whose appearance on the street was a proved deterrent to those about to commit a crime and especially to the criminally minded juveniles and teenagers.”

Modern Policing – A Copper’s View From 1950

( seems no one in authority has been able to do much about criminals for at least 75 years.)

Caeser Hēméra said...

@ND - thank you, and with regard to the forensics, it was a lot of the backroom staff that got hit by the cuts and many of those were the "force multipliers", and not just in forensics, but also supporting police to reduce admin time. I can only assume Dave, George and Nick used to have CSI:Miami nights in Number 10 and thought it was a documentary.

And replacing those, with systems from the likes the ever unreliable Crapita, have been unqualified failures - ask GMPTE.

Vigilantism has been creeping out of the minority areas - Failsworth, on the Oldham/Manchester border, has a group patrolling, whilst, further up towards the town itself, a group ran by a "reformed" villain with ties to an ex-council leader (she may be back, Oldham Council goes through leaders like Spinal Tap does drummers) is active.

I also know of a few Hindi an Sikh groups that are a little less tolerant of scrotes. Anyone who has spent any time in the vicinity of places like Speke in Liverpool can appreciate such intolerance.

And as for the police deciding to head further left, I might suggest a government would first train up a few more military personnel and architect a plan for a temporary gendarmerie (not carrying guns as standard) consisting of those with enough between their ears to know how to handle the general public, before ruffling any peacock feathers. Might take a few years.

The public wouldn't stand for it for too long, but a lot of forbearance could be bought by taking local worries seriously and bringing the more feral youths to heel. A set of teenage scousers terrorising the locals on their chicken-chaser off-road bikes vs some rock apes... There would be a lot of gnashing from the Graun, some bad press.

I'm not particularly keen on seeing the military policing the citizenry, but some kind of reset is needed, and I suspect the Police Federation, under fear of a shower of P45s and the genuine risk of being wholly replaced, would reverse ferret away from the left.