Read this piece from today’s Sunday Telegraph – Night the thin blue line snapped. By David Barrett and Patrick Hennessy to read an excellent analysis of why zero tolerance policing will fail without many other changes being made.
Sadly, there is a complete generation of fast tracked (2 years on the beat and then no more getting their hands dirty) whizz-kid coppers at the top of our police forces – I refuse to call the police a service, that’s what the refuse collectors do when they pick up my rubbish, they give me a service. As an aside, why did the senior cops of the time roll-over so easily? Why didn’t they tell the politicians to get stuffed and stick their name change?
Unless you can send these senior cops back to the staff college, where they were first indoctrinated in to the PC world our police now operate in, then nothing will change. Even then, this can’t happen in isolation, because as soon as the police throw the PC rule book out of the window, the civil rights lawyers will be all over them like a virulent and nasty rash.
Police officers need to be given the political backing and most importantly, the right training, to apply the law robustly and fairly, if zero tolerance is going to work. I have serious doubts that the American super-cop will last much longer than his first scathing report, or make any difference in the long run.
Perhaps the police should take the opportunity presented by David Cameron’s invitation to Bill Bratton, to assist him in producing the evidence needed to make their case for them.
The police are telling the Prime Minister that the cuts are wrong, whilst others are saying that the police’s hands are tied by red tape and political correctness. If the politicians insist on continuing to ignore their own police officers and the public, why not allow an outsider, in the form of Bill Bratton, to come in and put the politicians straight?
I have little doubt that, after a very short time in the job, the American super-cop will be singing from the same hymn sheet as everyone but, the politicians. News reports are already highlighting the fact that much of Bill Bratton’s success in New York and LA, came from increasing significantly the numbers of cops on the ground, so this is the first issue he will be out of step with the politicans on. These increased police numbers were then used to apply a zero tolerance policy, that saw even the smallest of infringements met with the full force of the law and this is another area of potential conflict.
As long as we continue to allow the straightjacket of political correctness to paralyise the thought processes of senior police officers, any attempt at a zero tolerance approach is likely to be equally paralyised. The final reality check for super-cop will be our courts slavish adherence to the Human Rights Act, that seems to allow so many criminals off the hook in someway or another. Good luck Bill, you’ll need it!