Law Review: “….and then there was silence”

Photocredit: Minimum Cover blog

I don’t know much about Police work.  I suspect that few of us outside the criminal justice system do. 

May I ask you to read this remarkable blog post from the Minimum Cover blog? An extraordinary piece of writing about a very tragic situation which a police officer had to deal with.  It made me think – very moving.

Media and TV doesn’t always present a picture of the legal and police system in the raw – or even accurately…at the risk of offending the armchair generals on twitter et al.  It isn’t all riots, #G20 abuses, the Met using the Official Secrets Act to threaten a journalist’s right to protect a source (Although they have now pulled back from that brink) – far from it.

11 thoughts on “Law Review: “….and then there was silence”

  1. The Sheehy Report (written by David Cameron et al) states that policing is “just another job” – and that the police should be treated like any other employee.

    Sheehy is the ideological foundation of Blair Gibbs’ Policy Exchange recommendations for police cuts.

    Could you imagine doing that job to 65?

    The Conservative’s rationale for cuts is they want more police on the front line – and civvies can do the “back of the house” roles. That does not tally with the fact that the HR function has already been stripped from the organisation (the Met at any rate) and police sergeants are now expected to fill that role, as well as supervise staff, as well as report to their seniors and elected officials and other stakeholders about “police effectiveness” on a weekly basis, as well as police the streets.

    My point is police are being asked to do more and more, whilst the Blair Gibbs of this nation want them to do so in the face of a salary and pension cut.

    Who’s going to do Minimum Cover’s job? Does the government not get that Minimum Cover must just quit the police – because if he’s going to get paid and treated like he’s doing *any job* – he might as well get one and leave it to Camcorderdirect to attempt to phone it in.

  2. A very poignant article which highlghts just one aspect of the immensely difficult work which the rank and file Police Officers do. Policing never was an ordinary job and never will be.

    The recent riots alone show that the coalition government is wrong in persisting with cuts.

  3. Indeed – but then policing is a working class occupation and looked down on by many in middle class professions…

    I’m fascinated by those who are already putting this tragedy down to the effects of cuts of public expenditure when it would appear to be no such thing. They seem to have missed the real message.

  4. What I object to is the use by the Conservatives of “consumer” discourse in describing police duties. Unfortunately, when I hear Police Fed reps on TV, they attempt to deal with the politicians on a “commercial” level, rather than adopting their own discourse of service and duty.

    and Steve, I know a shift sergeant whose had to “man-up” a compliment of 16 rather than his usual 20 because of the cuts -which are already happening.

    So what you say? His catalouge of what he typically deals with on a 12 hours shift would make your eyes water. If there are not enough people to deal with the shootings, the rapes, the robberies who will?

    People and over-time pay cut, do you think cops can stay on to do that work for hours on end, for free, indefinately?

    As Minimum Cover demonstrates, the thin blue line is being stretched to breaking point.

  5. Well first things first, there have been no significant manpower cuts as yet. Police numbers are at the highest they’ve ever been, yet we already have people claiming this tragedy is a result of them.

    The fact is you can never cover every possible incident fast enough. Whatever level of manpower you throw at things, there will never be enough. If you don’t manage public resource efficiently you will have a complete financial collapse, and what you see at the margins now will become more the norm. Many of us have had to work in industries where we have had to find ways of being more effective on more limited resources. The latter simply can’t grow forever.

    However, the real point is the sneering attitude and lack of understanding that many comfortably off people have for the real difficulties of those in the front line.

  6. Thanks for pointing to the Minimum Cover blog which I hadn’t seen before. I watched a couple of people die during my service. Not easy and hard to put a price on.

  7. @steve

    Policing is not an “industry”.

    Batman-Howe has just declared “war” on crime. How many cops does he intend to throw at this multi-front operation?

  8. “policing isn’t an industry”

    Call it what you like; public service, vocation. It changes the financial position not one jot; any society has limited resources and they need to be used efficiently. I’d argue that water, food, transport, housing, power, waste management and many other services are just as necessary for a civilised life and the maintenance of civic order as policing. Yes, they might not come up against the same extremes of human nature and fate, but many more lives have been saved through good nutrition, housing, public hygiene and the like than emergency services. It’s just we take those for granted – go back to London pre-Bazalgette, and you’d find a very different place.

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