The erosion of consent and respect

Some things make you go ‘hmmmmmmm………?’

You see something online, on TV or, heaven forbid, in person, and it brings you up short, thinking about what is right and wrong, if we agree with the approach, what it means for us as a society.

I saw a video today showing police in conflict with a group of teenagers, which showed exactly that. I’ll not go into detail but suffice to say that it set me pondering about the current state of the relationship between police and the public. For the police to do their job effectively, they do need a public to be co-operative and willing to support the police in their efforts. It’s policing by consent, community policing, being proactive to gain intelligence and all of it is under threat in the UK.

Gone are the days you’d see a bobby walking the beat, talking to people, having a relationship with the community, being part of it. Now it’s all about reactive policing and response times, where the community or CCTV is the eyes and ears on the street, or PCSOs, who are basically civilians in uniform, policing on the cheap. They have no powers of an officer and although they were intended to do the job of community policing, they now are part of the response system in place now.

Such is the state of policing in the UK, it is now maxing out the resources we do have, less experienced officers on the streets as they leave the service and from what I can gather, intelligence is now harder to come by as a result.

In the video clip, my thought when watching was that the police had created a group of people who would now have no respect for police, would not help the police and this would be taken into their adult years. In my opinion, and it is that of someone sitting on his butt looking at a video on a screen, that situation could have been avoided with calm, common sense and reasoning with the kids instead of taking them on, creating confrontation, creating hostility in youth.

The questions remain.

Are we still policed by consent? Are we happy with the style of policing, response as opposed to community policing? I’m not sure they have much choice with a reduction of officers by 19,000 in the past seven years. There has to be a breaking point and I think we have reached it, at the very least passed it.

Whatever stage we are at, we need a change to where we are now, equip the police with adequate numbers to do their job and get back the relationship with an increasingly concerned public. We’ve lost the caveat that existed before, that of the police were part of the public face, part of the community, reduced now to intruders whenever they appear. It’s almost an event and you see people watching when they arrive to see what they are doing, who they are speaking to, what incident they are attending.

They have now moved from part of the community to something to be watched and not knowing any of the people they are sworn to protect.

For all of our sakes, I hope this can be reversed and get back the relationship to help police do their job effectively and with the backing of ordinary people.

I support the police. Let’s do what we can to help them get back onside.


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