Friday, July 18, 2008
Was This Tragedy Unavoidable?
In a remarkably swift investigation, it has been decided that the police officers in this dreadful tragedy acted quite properly, or so the BBC tells us. This is the Telegraph's report.
That does not stop some of us from questioning whether the public good might better be served on occasion by allowing a car thief to get away, rather than taking positive 'action' to stop him when the potential price to innocent passers-by is so high. This car was under helicopter surveillance, so the decision to stop it was a calculated risk that went horribly wrong.
Police officers are human, and it would be a miracle if none of them was ever affected by the tyre-squealing glamour of the myriad reality TV programmes showing chase after chase. With hindsight, it would have been preferable if someone with a bit of rank had ordered the car to be followed rather than forced to a halt.
Policing is about priorities. The officers at the sharp end do their best, but it is, or should be, for those of higher rank to monitor these situations and to decide priorities and assess risks.
I don't think we have heard the last of this one.