Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Pass Me The Long Spoon Dear

I usually feel a bit uneasy when I find myself agreeing with Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn. Yes, he is a right-wing polemicist, and he writes with an eye to selling newspapers, but I can't really hold that against him.
I find myself in sympathy with the argument if not perhaps the tone, of this piece in which he deplores the increasing trend for some police officers to dress up like something out of a Hollywood movie or a video game. We are in danger of the army and the police blurring not just their appearance, but their functions. I made this point some time ago following the tragic death of the barrister Mark Saunders, and it holds good today.
Yes of course there is officer safety to consider, but there is also the relationship between the police and the public they serve that is worth protecting.
In France they have the Gendarmerie, who are controlled from Paris rather than locally. In Italy they have the Carabineri who used to be under military control, and may well still be so. In these countries whose democracy is a deal younger than ours they feel a need to have a force that is separate from the citizenry. I don't want to see that here.

84 comments:

  1. Two posts in a row citing articles from the Daily Mail. It's living up to its claim to be the world's most read newspaper website by far, and BS is doing his bit to help!

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    1. Yep, and just about the same level of saloon bar observations, based on little or no knowledge.

      BS, sponsoring the daily Heil.

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  2. Why didn't the police just pop along in their capes and clip the blighter round the ear? That'll teach him and then all home for tea and muffins.
    What is the obsession with Dixon of Dock Green? He wasn't real.And he died at the end.

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    1. Actually he was already dead, having been murdered in the film The Blue Lamp, only to be resurrected for the TV series.

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  3. I made a point here a while ago that I found police officers dressed in military-style garb somewhat intimidating, to the point where I would probably be sub-consciously more reluctant to approach a police officer dressed in such a way.

    Last time I mentioned this I recall one or two police officers took me to task, but having since discussed it with friends I find that I'm far from being alone in finding some modern paramilitary police uniforms intimidating.

    I suspect the police service is losing valuable intelligence if a significant proportion of the law abiding population feels similarly intimidated.

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    1. I would suggest that says more about you than them

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  4. Here in Holland we have the ME, the Mobile Eenheid, who are the heavies, and look suitably paramilitary, but they only come out on special occasions. The average Dutch policeman/woman, however, is not so different from the average British one. My impression is that you can approach them easily, despite the fact that they carry guns, which I still haven't got used to. And nobody pretends that the easy-going Dutch are more lawful than anyone else! We have our problems. But they are recognisable as Police - recently in Britain I notice Police often wearing high-visibility jackets, which frankly makes them less distinct.

    Littlejohn IS a narrow-minded polemicist on whom I waste no time. But if there is a point to be made, it could be made with another article today, that schools are teaching less British history. Instead of concentrating on world wars and empire, interesting as they are, schools could encourage students to follow the excellent social and economic history GCSE and A levels. There you will find lots about developments in British society, industry, commerce, politics and law, including topics on the development of the Police and the idea of policing by consent. It's all there to be used for exam courses and citizenship classes, and definitely helps youngsters (including me) understand the immediate world around them, but Littlejohn and his ilk appear to have little time for constructive suggestions. What a pity.

    Can magistrates order offenders to do a compulsory history course?

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  5. Gadget won't like this. I do however agree with the sentiment though Bystander.

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  6. gadget wont like it because he does it.....you do not.

    those officers were doing what they are trained to do. As one of them says nicely on youtube...putting themselves on offer to protect you....

    ANON

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  7. I have no criticism of the officers, but my respect for police middle and higher management is limited.

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    1. Have no illusions, that feeling is reciprocated ten fold.

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    2. Yet again, you demonstrate the bias, uninformed & spiteful "little man" nature which damages the reputation of your office and makes you entirely unsuitable to sit in judgement of your peers.

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  8. Apart from the word POLICE on his body armour, what else identifies him as a police officer? He is not in uniform, he is concealing his identity and is not wearing any badges of rank or personal number. Looks more like the terrorist the police are supposed to be saving us from than any police officer I've ever seen. Just cos you got a lotta guns don't stop you looking a complete dickhead!

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    1. Ed (not Bystander)2 May 2012 04:06

      Apart from the word POLICE on his body armour, what else identifies him as a police officer?

      Is that a trick question? Or is this the really, really slow class? You're a JP, right?

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    2. As I said, what identifies this armed thug as a police officer?

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    3. The word "POLICE" sounds like the main thing...

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    4. Thug? On what do you base that? What do you know of his history, the commendations for bravery which may have been won, his family life or the time he spent with a victims family comforting them? Or the myriad of other good, decent, human acts of courage or kindness.

      Oh I forgot, he's just filth to you.

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  9. British policing: Overkill, underreaction, too little, too much, too late, too early, too much information, too little information, all at the same time.
    You couldn't make this up.

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    1. Ed (not Bystander)2 May 2012 04:07

      And yet you did.

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  10. As you suggest, Littlejohn is a sensationalist journalist who regularly produces ignorant, poorly researched drivel that appeals to the average Mail reader. There is little to commend such tripe or any sympathy with it.

    Firstly, criticising the police for the 'over the top response' is easy with hindsight. These same armchair critics will be the first to demand to know why the police did not shut the area down and evacuate when this offender sets off a bomb killing innocent passersby. And why, he asks, were specialist nuclear, chemical and biological experts there when the police were well aware this was not a dirty bomb attack? If it all went horribly wrong, the same author would be asking why they weren't there when we have an unknown threat with gas canisters strapped to his waist.

    The suggestion that police officers dressed like this are routinely patrolling our streets is completely disingenuous. I can understand that seeing pictures of officers dressed like paramilitary's is uncomfortable. These officers come out and do their job and then disappear into the ether again.

    If Mr Littlejohn picked up a phone and asked, he would be told why some of these police officers are wearing balaclavas. There are a number of reasons, but two main ones. Firstly, any officer that may be involved in entering a building, where there may be a suspect, will wear a balaclava to protect themselves from fire/blast, including flash bangs. (Stun grenades.) Secondly, many firearms officers work on under cover operations and they need their identities protected.

    Mr Littlejohn seems to have forgotten that the police were castigated for the amateur way in which they dealt with firearms incidents in the era of Dixon of Dock Green. He, and you BS, criticised the police for their lack of response to the riots last summer.

    You are right to have concerns regarding management within the police service but not for the reasons Tom Winsor promulgates. The problem with police management is that senior officers are too focussed on career progression and becoming politically correct lackeys to the politicians.

    You should be more concerned about; the, almost total, politicisation of the police service that comes about as a result of the introduction of Police Commissioners; the destruction and privatisation of the police service that Winsor will bring about; the ever decreasing morale within the police service, which is the only part of the justice system that is still effective.

    When there are just a small number of armed paramilitary police left and the remainder of policing is carried out by G4S, the same rose tinted glasses looking back at Dixon of Dock Green will wish we were back in 2012.

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    1. "Firstly, any officer that may be involved in entering a building, where there may be a suspect, will wear a balaclava to protect themselves from fire/blast, including flash bangs" Really? So that explains why his arms are bare. And why he isnt wearing fireproof coveralls (or whatever they are called these days). The actual boys who were prepared to go through the door (or did) were wearing full nomex suits, masks, kevlar etc etc. And featured in the media.

      The reason that some have faces covered is to protect their identity. And given what they do, that's fair enough. We should stop giving a hard time for that.

      But they do look a bit warry for my liking, esp in this case when they are not covert, know the media will be around etc.

      I wonder if they have been hanging around the Hooligans from Hereford too much and want to look like "them". Actually quite comical..!

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    2. I could spend my time, typing away to adrees all your points and educate you in such ops, kit and the purpose behind it all, but you have already made up your mind that it's "comical".

      Yep, matters of split second decisions, saving life by putting your own on the line, years spent training and perfecting techniques and equipment, to ensure that in that split second the right people live and the right people die. All the stress, risk and harm that comes with the role.

      Trust me, it's only comical to those who comment from the safety of their breakfast table, over their copy of the daily Heil.

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    3. We can hardly blame them for wanting to hide their faces.

      Who can forget the gurning oxygen thief from the Raoul Moat pictures, or the Muppet faced individual with Trenton Oldfield, both proudly wearing the same military style helmet emblazoned with POLICE in a comical A-Team font.

      No doubt they thought they looked great when they posed in front of the mirror back at the station.

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  11. "The tragic death of Mark Saunders"?

    Erm, BS, he was discharging a firearm at MOPs and then the police, what exactly is tragic about such a person being shot dead?

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    1. What's not tragic about anybody who suffers a mental health breakdown, alcoholism and ultimately throws their life away... sounds like the very definition of a tragedy to me.

      Dictionary.com defines tragic with the words fatal and pathetic, which about sums up the end of Mark Saunders life.

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    2. I think in fairness no-one could question that his death was tragic, but by quoting it in the original blog post, then there is an implication that it was unnecessary and perhaps over the top for the police to have handled the situation as they did, fatally.

      I would guess that was the point that Hibbo was making, not that it is not sad that he is dead and that the circumstances were not tragic, rather that once someone picks up a gun and starts shooting it at MOPs then the likely outcome is them being fatally wounded.

      His death may have been tragic but that does not mean the actions of those involved at the end were incorrect or inappropriate.

      Of course I haven't seen the investigation into the shooting so am commenting in potential ignorance.

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    3. tragic for the poor sods who had to endure him pinging off rounds all afternoon.
      The man was a menace and unhappily if you pick a gun up and point it at someone then the chances are you'll get shot.

      There was a lot of Hogwash talked 'cause he was 'middle' class and a bit of a posh.

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    4. He was drunk/drugged using firearms towards members of the public. Then towards police officers who arrived to protect those members of the public. Cause and effect, when shooting at people who can shoot back?

      Not tragic at all. He chose his path.mthankfully he didn't get the opportunity to drag some innocent poor soul down his chosen path with him.

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    5. I had thought that the rule still held that 'Epaulettes with identifying letters and numerals or insignia of rank must be worn and must be correct and visible at all times.'

      I also think that such clothing is an attempt to intimidate the public rather than to gain co-operation .. we drift further and further from the original Peelian principles of policing

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  12. Specialist Firearms Officers don't patrol, on the few occasions they do patrol, dressed that way. When they're called out to deal with "situations" then they should be allowed to dress in the most practical and effective way possible. Something about their health and safety rights if anything else!

    SO19 were there to potentially have to storm a room containing a man with a bomb. They weren't there to do community engagement, liase with any family, handle the media etc. There were other, more appropriately dressed officers for those jobs.

    The SAS dress in one way and the Guards dress another, a guardsman outside Buckingham Palace dresses differently from when he's in the Afghan desert. This simple concept has passed Littlejohn by.

    That said it would be nice if the Met discovered the meaning of the word uniform. Officers on patrol usually strike the "2 cops, 3 ways of dressing" standard...

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  13. I was on a bench some time ago when a uniformed and armed officer came in to give evidence. I questioned later why he was wearing his sidearm whilst in court. The reply was that he should not have been. All armed officers visiting our magistrates’ court to give evidence, and doubtless other courts too, have instructions to lock their weapons in the safe in their car or leave them at the nearest police station. In our case it’s just a few yards away.

    Interesting that such an officer, despite the doubtless very significant amount of training he had received, managed to forget what should have been a pretty fundamental point.

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    1. Oooh aren't you the tough guy? Do you challenge the criminals that appear in front of you in such a heroic manner?

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    2. SouthLondonJP2 May 2012 15:44

      Sorry, what's your problem? The police have instructions - INSTRUCTIONS - not to go to court with their firearms. This officer apparently CHOSE to disobey that direct instruction. What other instruction might he "choose to ignore" I wonder? And you're criticising the JP who had the temerity to point this out??

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    3. Read Inspector Gadgets blog, he is very proud of his ability to disobey or ignore instructions making regular posts about it.

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    4. Brontosaurus3 May 2012 14:26

      Firearms officers are instructed to take their weapons into Court. It encourages magistrates to make the right decisions.

      Delete
  14. Steve_the_cat2 May 2012 13:54

    They do look a bit tooled-up at first glance, but which bits of equipment would you ditch?

    The balaclava? As has been said above, the officers often work undercover and need their identities protecting.

    The goggles? Might be an explosion and/or smoke - eyes need protecting.

    Helmet and armour? If it were me, I'd want as much protection as I could get.

    Stun grenades? Maybe excessive, but they might be useful and it’s not like you can nip back to the van and get them.

    The guy from the front page of the Mail on Saturday carrying three guns admittedly sounds a bit over the top, but from what I've heard, it's common to carry a sidearm in case your main gun jams/misfires/whatever, so two seems sensible.

    So all I'd criticize him for is a third gun and wearing what appear to be civilian clothes (the police do look a lot less thuggish when all wearing the blue overalls), but maybe the officer was undercover when called to the situation and didn't have time to change.

    I'd agree maybe the overall response might have been over the top with so many officers, but it's easy to be wise after the event. Also, the police are probably still smarting following the Trenton Oldfield episode at the Boat Race, and all the resultant hand wringing about how easily someone might disrupt the Olympics.

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  15. We are the ones who have to "put ourselves on offer" to protect you the public. Please excuse us for having the audacity to use whatever kit/equipment best serves that role, the info that we have at that time & the possible threats we are facing.

    If you don't like it, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand on a post, to borrow a phrase.

    Well bystander? Are you going to put yourself on offer? Or are you going to long range snipe at the police in harms way from the safety of your keyboard?

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    1. Ed (not Bystander)2 May 2012 15:52

      He won't reply. Physical courage is no more his thing than moral courage.

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  16. There is a purpose to every bit of kit being used, every item of clothing worn and the manner in which worn. Check your facts before your snide little attempt to have a pop at more courageous men than yourself, bystander. When was the last time you ran towards a potential bomber/active shooter when everyone else was running the othe way?
    Those who can, do. Those who can't, belittle from well behind the lines. Pitiful at best, cowards at worst.

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    1. Those courageous men in their full body armour?

      Just a bunch of overgrown boy racers with a shoot-em-up obsession who couldn't get into the special forces.

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    2. And what have you done, that you can criticise them? Or are you just another spiteful keyboard warrior who overcomes their inadequacy by nasty little digs at better men?

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    3. And if you had the first clue about the subject, you would know that quite a number of the specialist firearms teams have their fair share of ex special duties. People who have been there, done that and got the t shirt.

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    4. SAS trainers denounce ‘gung ho’ armed police


      TWO senior SAS soldiers who trained many of the firearms teams now serving in Britain’s police forces have warned of their concerns about the officers’ skills and psychological suitability for the job.
      The two SAS officers, who have left active service, claim the police they trained had not been subjected to adequate psychological and physical tests to establish whether or not they were suitable to use firearms. The police officers were often “gung ho” and unfit.

      The soldiers believe members of the Metropolitan police team that shot dead Jean Charles de Menezes, the innocent Brazilian, on the London Underground in July would have been among those they trained, although they are not certain.

      The two men have detailed their concerns in a written statement to The Sunday Times. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is expected to study their claims as part of its investigation into how de Menezes, wrongly suspected of being a would-be suicide bomber, came to be shot by a team from the Met’s CO19 firearms unit.

      Leaked documents from the IPCC showed that de Menezes was not behaving suspiciously, as had been claimed, but was restrained by an officer before 11 bullets were fired at him at close range. Three missed.

      A spokesman for the IPCC said: “If there are concerns being expressed about the wider issues of selection and training, I’m sure our investigation team would look at the evidence and make recommendations.”

      The two soldiers describe a number of alarming incidents during police training at the regiment’s base in Hereford. The trainers have no authority to fail police officers they believe are unsuited to the job.

      One of the soldiers said: “When the tension starts to rise and the adrenaline is flowing, the ‘red mist’ seems to descend on armed police officers who become very trigger-happy. This has been shown time and again in training exercises.”

      The second soldier said: “We thought that police firearms officers were far more concerned with their personal image, dressing in body armour and looking ‘gung ho’, rather than their professional capabilities. I’m not surprised at the number of mistakes over the years.

      “There is no assessment of physical fitness, no psychological profiling, nothing. It’s a major problem.”

      The statement also describes a police training exercise run by the SAS in which an armed terrorist group was threatening to kill a hostage. The police team were to rescue the hostage using minimum force.

      “I was playing the leader of the armed group and instructed the other members of my group to surrender peacefully once the final assault was initiated. Therefore there was no need for the police to open fire.

      “But as the police assault group entered the room they began firing at everything. No one had moved; we were all stood with our hands on our heads.

      “The response would have resulted in the unnecessary deaths of all the make- believe terrorists and the hostage alike. So much for the rule of minimum force.”

      The SAS officers claim they often found police firearms units to be small “cliques” with professional standards below those found in the military. “In the bar after exercises, the police would still be carrying their pistols and have MP5s (machine guns) slung over their shoulder so they could pose for photos. The first question they always asked was whether we had killed anyone.”

      They added that many security firms operating in Iraq had a policy of not employing former police firearms officers.

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    5. Yep, every single armed firearms police officer is unsuitable, gung ho etc etc.

      To back up your point, provide names of the sources (not just some anon source attributed to a journo), provide times, dates and places that these incidents took place.

      Prove your point, please. Unless your point is that everything journalists print is gospel truth, therefore we must accept your argument without question?

      From personal experience of working with police firearms teams, as a military man, I would disagree with your above assertions. Using the words of anon SD personnel, who cannot be named or come forward to state the truth of the matter, is a cheap attempt at attacking police just because you have a personal issue with them.

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    6. Is it just me who is wondering how many Anonymi are debating here?

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    7. Anonymous John2 May 2012 19:57

      Well, there's this.
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2121463/Elite-police-marksmen-kicked-unit-shocking-photo-discovered-raid.html

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    8. 'Yep, every single armed firearms police officer is unsuitable, gung ho etc etc.'

      I'm glad you agree

      'From personal experience of working with police firearms teams, as a military man, I would disagree with your above assertions. '

      Hang on, I though you agreed with me, now you just show yourself to be another Walt. Back to eBay with you to buy some medals for the next Remembrance Day.

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    9. Oh dear. Just another bone argument, based on little or no knowledge, which when asked to back up, can't.

      I have neither the time or inclination to discuss the topic with someone whose only way forward is to deride the service of others, when they have no fist hand knowledge.

      And I have generally found its only "wannabes" who use the term "Walt" in an attempt to insinuate some sort of ally credentials.

      I am hoping you bring a bit more to the fight than that?

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    10. As i suspected you clearly do have the time and inclination, must be all your 'fist hand knowledge'

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    11. Brontosaurus3 May 2012 14:18

      The SAS don't train police firearms teams, so please ignore that tripe.

      Delete
  17. Having stood on many a public order cordon thats been under sustained missile attack whilst being told not to don our NATO (riot) helmet because the powers that be do not like the 'look' of it I can guarantee that this isn't being done for the look of it!

    StillAnon

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  18. I agree there all are looking a bit too much like Robocops, but can you wonder why?
    At one time if you assaulted a cop you were off to klinq, now it would have to be something very serious before you get there. We do not protect the police enough and I can see why they get tooled up. Having said that some of these CC who haven't been on the streets for years and only appear in their posh limos, they try to creat an image, which is an image we don't want.

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  19. italian lawyer2 May 2012 19:11

    Your Honour,reading this post one would be justified in thinking that our Carabinieri get around armour clad like Cromwell's Ironsides striking terror into the souls of us hapless natives. Let me assure you, this is not the case: their street uniforms are just cloth, as those of your bobbies, their shoes are considerably less celebrated for weight and toughness than the bobbies's boots (matter of fact, not celebrated at all: hardly ever mentioned),and their headgear always consisted of cloth hats, not helmets. Strange as it may seem, they are generally relied upon to defend the laws and liberties of the land, and accordingly they deliver.

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  20. Bloody hell - this is all getting a bit nasty.

    BS - I disagree with you. I think our public servants need to be properly equipped and sometimes (though it pains me to say so) that means firearms, masks, body-armour...

    I've been lucky enough to see how firearms officers are trained and they are not chosen for their ability to kill people - they're chosen for their ability to NOT kill people (apologies for the split verb).

    I agree that we UK citizens aren't used to seeing armed police on our streets (and long may that continue), but to use a Littlejohn article to make a cheap point is beneath you.

    And finally
    BS - Bar me if I've overstepped the mark..

    Italian Lawyer - Your Worship ('Your Honour' is for Judges, not Magistrates)

    Anonymous (all of you) - at least give us an idea of your credentials (i.e. your right to comment on things most people don't understand).

    Otherwise, your comments are worthless...

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    1. italian lawyer3 May 2012 22:02

      Apologies. I seemed to remember Bystander's mentioning sitting in Crown's court.

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    2. #Italian Lawyer: Justices of the Peace sit alongside a judge in Crown Court on appeals against sentence or conviction in the magistrates' courts. Almost always two, but in law up to four.

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    4. italian lawyer7 May 2012 11:23

      Ah, yes. Yet another of those admirably thought out ways of keeping the judgment of one's peers up front in the dispensing of justice. How very, very far from our system of almost priest-like judges. That , indeed, far more than the way our police corps are organized, is the symptom of a younger and sicklier democracy: the concept of justice as a bureaucratic function only to be entrusted to an elitarian body of lifelong civil servants. Justice as a power of the sovereign, rather than a necessary responsibility of society. I don't think I'll live to see it evolve.

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    5. Isn't a lot of Italian justice dispensed not by the "elitarian body of lifelong civil servants" but rather by a host of (very poorly) fee-paid honorary (sic) judges, who do the donkey work of keeping the family, petty criminal and civil courts going, whilst the elite corps of established judges get to pick and choose their cases according to how high a profile they may have? Or is that too cynical a summary?

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    6. italian lawyer9 May 2012 09:33

      Well, they don't get to -pick and choose-. What matters are dealt with in which court is set down in statute law. And it is set down that matters that matter at all ( pun unintended)stay firmly in the hands of our civil servants judges. Besides, yes, the number of cases disposed of by honorary judges is large. But their decisions are subject to appeal to courts composed of -established- judges, and the appointment and discipline of the honorary judges are entirely in the hands of the governing council of the -established- judges, which the latter control, while honorary judges have no representation in it. Our honorary justices are law graduates, but their poor pay and heavy workload means that no lawyer of any standing would dream to apply. They're mostly retired civil servants from other branches of the government, young lawyers with too little work, high school law-teachers. They are very ill equiped to gain any degree of independence from the -established- judiciary and to attempt to influence its outlook. The system is built to ensure that honorary judges "toe the line", and the line is drawn by the bureaucratic elite, whoever may happen to do the actual work.

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  21. Oh dear.

    I spend a bit of time to sort out my wife's birthday (buy card and present yesterday, make tea and coffee for friends calling in today, then out for a meal this evening) and I find that waspishness has broken out. Keep it reasoned and reasonable, chaps.
    And could a few anons sort themselves out a nom-de blogue so we know who you are?

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    1. I'm quite shocked that you left it so late!

      Happy Birthday to Mrs BS.

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  22. As a more senior time served officer, I always find these little articles a valuable and informative insight into the attitudes of those I police. I tend to print them off and add them to a folder, as a reference. Daily mail, guardian, BBC & even Bystander has found its way into the a4 plastic dividers. They are a valuable teaching tool. When another bright eyed, idealistic young man or woman arrive at my team, they get the obligatory party line chat. Then they get the " forget all that crap they taught you in training ivory towers" talk. They get a nice cup of tea, made by my own jaded hands, sat down and presented with the a4 bible of clippings.

    We don't discuss, we don't debate, we don't mmmm @ arrrr about the content. They finish their tea and are sent out onto the nasty, dangerous & frequently violent streets they police, with two bits of advice.

    Firstly, digest that which you have just seen. That's the public who you are in such a rush to put yourself in harms way for. Remember the jibes, digs, insults and hatred they hold for you. Just take that extra second to think before you rush forward. Because they won't give a rats arse if you end up dead or maimed (I am counting two colleagues dead and two permanently maimed so far in my service). But I will, which is why, when I ball you out, it's because I want you to go home to your family at the end of your shift, in one piece. And more importantly your parents, wife, husband kids etc care as do the troops around you.

    Secondly that's the first & last brew that gets made for you until the next sprig comes along. Get a list. Drawn up of who drinks what

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  24. I'm amazed at some of the comments that seem to suggest that wearing certain equipment and clothing is some sort of lifestyle choice made by individual officer. It isn't: It's Personal Protection Equipment that is mandatory for a number of situations, with bollockings dished out for not wearing correct gear.

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    1. What is the SOP for balaclavas? And why?

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    2. It's an anti flas hood. It is fire retardant, and gives limited protection against burns, from flash bangs, petrol bombs and the like. It also acts as a "sponge" to soak up sweat,

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    3. Apologies that should read "flash". It also protects the identity of the officer/operator from daily Heil journo types who would put them at risk, by publishing their pictures and pandering to the hate brigade.

      Next question?

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  25. As can be seen from the comments by officers on this stream, the police posit themselves as separate from the rest of the population.

    In relation to the current situation, the BS charge stands.

    If the police would like to rejoin society, I'm sure most would welcome them back with open arms. It's up to you officers.

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    1. No, not separate from the rest of the population. Just some of the population.

      I would rather not join that section of the population that you belong to thankyou. I am quite happy amongst the decent people.

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    2. No, not separate from the rest of the population. Just some of the population.

      I would rather not join that section of the population that you belong to thankyou. I am quite happy amongst the decent people.

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    3. But you have no idea which section of the population I belong to, do yo?

      In any case, if you are a serving police officer, then your duty is to all sections of society.

      And if you really are as sensitive and thin-skinned as your knee-jerk insults indicate that you are, they even you must agree that the whole population would be the beneficiaries of your ceasing to serve as a police officer.

      Ever thought of a career as a Dot Cotton impersonator?

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  26. "I always find these little articles a valuable and informative insight into the attitudes of those I police".

    Shouldn't that last word read "serve"?

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    1. Brontosaurus3 May 2012 19:25

      BS - your butler serves your breakfast, tea etc. We provide a public service but the main role is, or at least should be, policing the law breakers, not serving them. More 'below stairs' attitude, I am afraid.

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    2. That sums up the problem in modern day policing to me - for different situations you need a police force and also a police service - most of the time, the modern day police try to be both while apologising for using the force required as it doesn't tally with the service side.
      Both are needed, both are totally seperate. In my opinion

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    3. Brontosaurus4 May 2012 09:35

      davek74 - your wish is just around the corner and you may rue the day. The implementation of the Winsor report will bring about a small paramilitary police force, probably armed, to deal with serious violent incidents, arrests and confrontation. That will be your police force. Your police service will include everything else including patrolling, investigation of crime, responding to incidents etc. That will be carried out by private companies, such as G4S. When profit is the focus of the service provider then you can be sure that the number of staff will be pared to the bone and the quality of staff will be the cheapest they can get away with. How about accountability? Do you think a private company will waste time and money investigating complaints about its staff? People in this country need to wake up and smell the coffee. This is just around the corner and God help you when it arrives.

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  27. No, police is an adequate description. Much like a nurse "nurses", a soldier "soldiers", a judge "judges" etc etc.

    I "police" my communities. There is the implicit understanding that incorporates " service", not servitude.

    Whilst I fully grasp your intense dislike of the police, which you demonstrate time & time again, I really don't need a prompt from you in regards service. I have given service since I was 16 years old.

    Cheap shot, BS. Try harder next time.

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  28. Personally I'm a Guardian-reading leftie type who doesn't exactly get off on guns etc - but these police are dealing with a dangerous situation and have a standard set of kit for such occasions.

    And it's easier to kit people out with a standard set of gear that will handle pretty much anything that happens, than to tie up attention trying overly hard to ensure people aren't 'over-equipped'. If you tend to give people a standard set of gear then - yes - sometimes they will appear overly militarised for the situation. But I would rather have that than have the lives of the police put at risk because they end up missing something useful.

    This is as distinct from what police wear when they patrol in a more routine context. At that point you are sending out signals about how you interact with the population at large and it's worth spending more of your attention on how threatening the policeman appears, since the scarier the policeman looks, the harder some aspects of their job will become.

    So I don't really see what the problem is. It was a dangerous situation. They load the police up with a bunch of gear, not all of which may turn out to be necessary for that particular situation. Why should I particularly care?

    The question of whether some police in armed units are trigger-happy or have Rambo fantasies is different. An appreciable proportion of the population are idiots. I am sure this is as true of the police as it is of everywhere else. I am sure that the police try hard to keep the idiots away from the armed units. I am sure they sometimes fail. That's not a reason for under-equipping the armed units! But if people in the armed units do show that they are idiots then they need to be kicked out pronto. I hope that is what happens and don't have any particular reason to suppose otherwise.

    Anyway, first time I have commented on this blog after years of lurking. Was moved to do so because of the somewhat testy nature of the posts here. I like the comments on this blog because you have soggy liberals like me, somewhat-less-soggy-in-fact-positively-dehydrated police like Gadget etc, and the legal contingent. The day that things get so uncivil that one or more of these groups stops bothering to comment will be the day I give up reading the blog comments and do something more productive. Perhaps that would be no bad thing for me, but it would be a shame.

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    1. Addition to post at 1207hrs. Forgot to say thanks for your considered support. Not necessarily unqualified support, but thats what makes it so valuable and appreciated.

      People like you remind us why we do this job, and that some public are worth it.

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    2. Well said, Arkestra.

      I'm also a fuzzy Guardian reading leftie and I agree with what you say.

      As I ubderstand it, the officers Littlejohn was complaining about were those dealing with the potential bomb/hostage situation in Camden. I think anyone who is willing to go into abuilding knowing they be be shot at or have someone heaving bombs at them should have whatever protective clothing they need. And I would not presume to suppose that I, with no trainng or experience, am a better judge of what is needed than the people *actually* putting themselves into that situation.

      Officers on the beat / on patrol are in a slightly different situation , as the risks are lower (I appreciate that all police officers do face dangerous situations, but the risks they face are lower than the risk of tackling a gunman or bomber, even though they are greater than the risks faced by most members of the public) ans also as the role of the polce i that situation is broader, and includes providing a reasuuring presence, and being accessible.

      My *personal* view is that patrolling officers wearing uniform, including stab-vests, and armed with a baton not a gun strikes the right balance for *that* role, but that different situations call for different gear.

      If Littlejohn had evidence that officers were routinely going out on patrol in fuill body armour, armed with sub-machine guns then I think his point would be valid. But I'm fairly sure they are not.

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  29. I am one of those dehydrated positively unsoggy types. It's when I read comments and insights like this, it reminds me of why I do what I do,

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  30. "It also protects the identity of the officer/operator from daily Heil journo types"

    And using that logic shouldn't balaclavas be mandatory wear by every officer when on patrol?

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  31. Interesting thread. One does wonder however why there is this prominence of what people describe as robocop attired police when we are under far less threat than the IRA etc terrorist campaigns?

    This protective attire is now being donned by officers in the UKBA/Border Force at our ports. Admittedly there are no helmets, balaclavas and firearms yet but the attire is the same nonetheless. This all black attire with no id visible was described in court (Hoverspeed v HMRC) as being intentionally intimidatory to passengers returning to the UK.

    Who's next for this attire one wonders? ... Traffic Wardens?

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    1. There were two in riot gear chatting and wandering down St.Martin's le Grand (City of London) Wednesday about 2:15 p.m. Baseball caps, long boots, heavy equipment belts, etc.

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