Back to Front PageAfter posting our original item on Dead Wood, we received the distressing story below, which requires no further comment on our part as it reinforces our point very nicely.

The Most Harassment for the Least Offence

What sort of police force are we getting for the vast amount of taxpayers' cash thrown at it these days? Chief constables are always moaning about lack of resources but could we not afford to lose a few coppers like the ones described here?

Take the case of Mr. A, a pensioner with a long record of service to his community. His noisy neighbour complained about the height of Mr. A's hedge then erected a fence HIGHER than the hedge and added Mr. A to his blacklist. Not knowing that he was persona non grata, Mr. A continued to offer routine greetings in passing to a neighbour of many years. He also added comments about the neighbour's increasingly bizarre behaviour, which included coming over to their boundary and glaring at Mr. A.

The neighbour started recording Mr. A's remarks and, after persecuting Mr. A with his bizarre behaviour for the best part of a year, cobbled together a harassment complaint, which he took to the local police. In due course, Mr. A. received a letter inviting him to report to the local police station for an interview under caution. He made two appointments with the rather ineffectual local bobby, both of which were cancelled at short notice by the policeman.

Out of the blue, the local police inspector decided to have Mr. A arrested. So, early one morning, Mr. A found a scruffy looking thug sneaking around in his garden; he turned out to be a police sergeant. The local bobby was also on arrest duty. Mr. A asked to be allowed to change into clothing more appropriate for going out but he ended up being assaulted in his own home, handcuffed and hauled out to the pavement to be searched for the entertainment of his neighbours. The sergeant also made an illegal search of Mr. A's home.

Rather than a police car, the police officers had brought a police van. Mr A was obliged to stand in the cage in the back of the van, being thrown around by every bump in the road and the sergeant's bad driving. He was taken the long way round to his local police station, a distance of around 12 miles. The police officers disappeared into the building to collect a supply of sandwiches for their lunch, then they carried on to the "custody suite" for the area, making the total journey 30 miles.

At the custody suite, 70-year-old Mr. A was processed and the nurse who mopped up the blood from a cut on his arm blithely told him that it would continue to bleed for a while, and the nerve damage from the viciously applied handcuffs would last for a couple of months, or so. Mr. A was then locked in a cell, which was in a filthy state.

Mr. A was arrested early in the morning. The interview took place in the afternoon, after the police officers had enjoyed their sandwiches – a privilege not afforded to Mr. A. It was conducted by the local bobby with the sergeant glaring silently at Mr. A as if he had been taking lessons from the vexatious neighbour.

A duty solicitor, who had been summoned for the interview and who rebuked the sergeant for his attempted intimidation, told Mr. A that he ought to be released by 4 p.m. In fact, Mr. A was kept in his cell with nothing palatable to eat, nothing to do but brood on the unsanitary condition of his surroundings and no means of knowing that time it was until 11:30 p.m.

He was then evicted from the building (with a spot of routine intimidation from the custody sergeant) in the middle of an industrial estate with no idea of exactly where he was, no phone, no money for a taxi, no credit or bank card, inadequate clothing for a cold night, suffering the effects of a prolonged and unnecessary period of solitary confinement (with some sensory deprivation thrown in), and facing a journey home of some 30 miles.

Fortunately, he was able to borrow a phone from another of the custody suite's "clients", whose sense of decency remained intact, and arrange a lift home.

Mr. A now faces a choice between:
1. The cheap course of pleading guilty to whatever he is charged with, knowing that he is innocent, and accepting the unjustified damage to his reputation, and
2. Taking the risk of ending up thousands of pounds out of pocket through court costs if he fights the charges but he is found guilty on some legal technicality which creates an absolute offence unreasonably.

Some choice!

We hear a lot about human rights these days but it would appear that they are the province of the undeserving few. Honest, decent citizens who are the target of a Mickey Mouse complaint by a neighbour are liable to be assaulted and dragged from their home for ritual humiliation in the street by police officers who would be right at home in Nazi Germany's Gestapo.
    "Duty of care" would appear to be a concept foreign to both the rank & file and the senior officers of Mr. A's local police "service", who seem to be quite happy to drag a pensioner from his home without ensuring that he has adequate clothing, necessary medication and enough money to get home when he is turfed out of the police interrogation centre late in a dark and cold night.
    Police officers might think that they are entitled to treat anyone who is the subject of a complaint as an evil and vicious criminal, who deserves all the ill-treatment in the world. But when did Parliament pass an Act giving them this power?
    A truly professional police force would treat its "customers" with courtesy and offer a due measure of respect to "senior citizens" who have been accused of a thought crime but not convicted by a court.
    The presence of the likes of Mr. A's "window dressing" local bobby and the thuggish sergeant in the ranks of a modern police force explains why the British public now assume that when they meet a police officer, they will be dealing with an ill-trained jobsworth.
    Who is to blame for this? Well, we have to start with their senior officers, who have failed to ensure that their staff are properly trained and "fit for purpose", and go on to the politicians who let them get away with it by creating a society with rights but no responsibilities.
   The British justice system used to be lauded as something really rather special. Not any more, it's not!

Let us close with a sad story from the Littlejohn column of the Daily Mail, which tells how a Stockport man was persecuted by Greater Manchester Police for confirming that GMP just can't be bothered when someone reports a theft to them, and they turn nasty if someone tries to tell them where the stolen property is.

It has been pointed out to us that not all coppers are useless jobsworths. Let us, therefore, restate our point:
   Large organizations, like the police "service", accumulate dead wood and if there are cuts, that is where they should be. As well as restoring public confidence, getting rid of the incompetents would improve the morale of good police officers, who feel that their own reputation has been tarnished by association. But we have little confidence that senior officers, who are trained to massage New Labour's self-serving targets, will be up to the job. Especially if, like Labour councils, they start their cuts at the front line as a political gesture.

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