Sunday, April 10, 2011
Army medals out, Gay Pride badges in, and theft blamed on badgers to cut crime rates: How political correctness is crippling my police force
By a senior British police officer
The suspect stared at me with hooded eyes, devoid of any emotion or conscience. His emaciated figure was so wrecked by heroin abuse that he could barely raise his arms. ‘Hello, inspector, it’s me again,’ he said, his voice dripping with disdain.
He had every reason to sound cynical, even contemptuous. He was a one-man crimewave, a prolific offender whose miserable life was dominated by violence, drugs and thieving, yet in all his years of delinquency he had never been properly punished by our laughably misnamed justice system.
When he was brought into the station last week, on a charge of stealing from a 94-year-old woman, I had a look at his record. It was a lengthy indictment of the incredible leniency of our courts. Aged only 23, he had been arrested 80 times and convicted of an incredible 140 offences. Among his crimes were assault, aggravated burglary, blackmail, theft and possession of Class A and Class B drugs.
His behaviour has long been out of control, showing respect for neither the law nor the rights of others. But despite his lengthy catalogue of offending, he has spent just 12 weeks in prison. The only lesson he has ever learned is that he has nothing to fear from the courts. No doubt he will receive another ineffectual slap on the wrist the next time he is up before a judge.
As a long-serving police inspector, I despair of the reluctance of the state to deal vigorously with serious criminals such as this thuggish drug addict. This soft, destructive stance not only weakens public faith in the fight against crime, but also undermines the morale of the police.
What drags down our effectiveness, however, is not just the useless courts system that so often undoes all the effort we put into building cases, but also the highly politicised, target-driven, dogma-fixated culture of the police hierarchy.
Instead of allowing us to focus on the real task of tackling criminality, police chiefs and politicians have bogged us down in bureaucracy, much of it driven by fashionable obsessions with multiculturalism and meaningless performance statistics.
Official determination to manipulate crime figures has reached new heights of idiocy. Data is no longer a reflection of performance, but an exercise in deceit of the public. In this brave new world of propaganda — conjured up by a string of directives — a vast array of crimes are reclassified by ‘crime managers’ to lessen their seriousness.
So burglaries of potting sheds become ‘badger damage’, broken windows are blamed on ‘frost’ and stolen handbags are listed as ‘lost or misplaced’. Even vandalism to vehicles can be ascribed to ‘stones thrown up by speeding cars’.
The warped priorities of this culture are also reflected in the ridiculous amount of time we have to devote to the creed of diversity. At times it seems as if the modern police force is seen by senior managers as a vehicle for social engineering rather than deterring crime.
My internal office phone directory lists no fewer than 32 officers with ‘diversity’ in their job title, all of them working nine-to-five in desk-bound jobs, while we slog it out on the front line. I was half-hoping that, given their irrelevance to the battle against crime, they might be made redundant in the public-sector cuts, but that was far too optimistic. Diversity is sacrosanct, its commissars are protected and its influence is all dominant.
So in our training, for instance, just one day a year is devoted to practical instruction in officer safety, dealing with procedures such as correct use of handcuffs, Tasers and batons, or how to put a violent suspect in a van or cell.
Yet the effort devoted to diversity is far greater. We have to carry out two days of diversity training a year at headquarters, another day at our divisions, go through an eight-hour ‘e-learning’ package on our computers and, in our annual performance appraisal forms, show that we have accomplished three separate objectives ‘to raise diversity awareness’. In addition, during weekly individual meetings with our supervisor, we have to explain what we have done to promote cultural diversity.
The minutiae of Hindu festivals, details of Black History month and the rituals of gypsy culture are all drummed into us. The whole pantomime is idiotic, especially in my neighbourhood where the ethnic minority is tiny. Once, as one of my personal ‘diversity objectives’, I stated I had listened to some Indian sitar music in a Manchester park.
Such absurdities can be found everywhere in the police. So we were told recently that former servicemen like me were no longer allowed routinely to wear medal ribbons on our uniforms, as had previously been customary, because such insignia might be deemed offensive to Muslims and Irish people. However, we have been encouraged to wear Gay Pride badges.
Similarly, Welsh and Scottish police forces are allowed to wear their national badges on their uniforms, but the St George’s flag appears to have been banned by English forces, as if our national identity is an embarrassment.
The neurosis about diversity is also reflected in the requirement to cater for every type of inmate, so our custody suites have a menu of no less than 16 choices, include low-carb, vegetarian, fat-free, kosher and halal.
The ideology extends to the front line. When visiting a Muslim household, we are instructed to remove our shoes, but I have refused to obey that edict because I believe it is disrespectful to my position as British police officer. On one occasion, I had to call on a Muslim family and the daughter refused to let me in until I had taken off my boots.
I simply told her that, while on duty, I was not prepared to remove any part of my equipment, footwear included. So she went off to her father to report my non-compliance, only to find he did not object at all to me keeping my boots on.
When I reported this back to the Diversity Unit, the officer implied that I must have intimidated the father, which was nonsense. This diversity officer was indulging in just the kind of stereotyping he condemns in others, clinging to the belief that every Muslim adheres devotedly to religious custom.
On another occasion, I was given a reprimand because I told a family that their son was a drug dealer. The mother had made a complaint that we were harassing him. When I turned up at her home, which appeared to be well-equipped with the proceeds of his drug crimes, I told her frankly: ‘We keep arresting him because he’s a dealer.’
Such honesty prompted another complaint from her, and I was told I should have shown more ‘tolerance and politeness’ in my language towards the family. It was just another indicator of how political correctness has destroyed the moral self-confidence of senior managers.
Almost as depressing is the dead-weight of bureaucracy. Form-filling has become an end in itself. For example, we were recently asked to fill in a 14-page document called a Display Screen Risk Assessment, which was meant to detail the safety of our working environment, including computers and furniture.
The whole exercise was absurd, since all our office equipment is supplied centrally — and therefore, by definition, approved — by the very bureaucrats asking us to fill in these safety forms.
Bureaucracy also means that crime figures can’t be trusted. Successive governments have been fond of boasting about falling crime rates, but I’m afraid the statistics are less and less reliable.
To take one classic example, a group of youngsters binge-drinking in a town square could be dealt with under Section 5 of the Public Order Act, which would mean their behaviour would be recorded as a violent crime, leading to action through the courts. Or it could just be handled as an incidence of drunk and disorderly conduct under more ancient laws, with the result that the crime would not be recordable and the offenders would be sent home or kept in the cells until they sobered up.
So, often, the police response will depend entirely on that month’s crime statistics. If the local chiefs think the crime rate has been too high in recent weeks, they will demand that no arrests be made under Section 5. Instead, all miscreants should be treated under the less rigorous category of drunk and disorderly. This does nothing for police or public morale, particularly if crimes have taken place.
At one stage we were issued with a fleet of fast-pursuit vehicles — standard saloons fitted with all the mod cons of policing, such as radars, radios and computers. But we found that, at speed, the cars were uncontrollable. The only way of making them safe was, believe it or not, to put a quarter of a ton of sand in the boot.
There were similar problems with new four-wheel-drive estate cars for firearms officers, which were discovered to be simply not big enough for four armed officers with all their equipment. So, though we didn’t need such gas-guzzlers, they had to be passed on to the rank and file. More money down the drain.
At a time of financial cuts, none of this has raised our spirits. Nor has the aloof attitude of some of our senior personnel.
In one ludicrous instruction, they barred us from having a cup of tea with paramedics at the ambulance base beside the local hospital because they said the water boilers might be unsafe, though such camaraderie has long been an integral part of the emergency services.
Even more offensive was their decision to bar the playing of radios at police premises, on the grounds they could not afford the £20,000 fee under new licensing regulations. Yet these same high-minded, prudent chiefs can be seen swanning around in £60,000, top-of-the range BMWs bought at the public’s expense.
On coming to power last May, the Coalition was meant to have changed all this. As the parties of reform, the Tories and Lib Dems would lead the fight against crime. Yet the culture of bureaucracy and diversity remains intact.
Often the rhetoric of the Coalition is simply ignored. So Home Secretary Theresa May recently announced she had abolished a raft of performance targets. These included the specific requirement that, as part of their annual performance appraisal, officers had to set out three objectives for raising public confidence. This bureaucratic ‘public confidence’ order, she said, was consigned to the dustbin of history. Yet, in reality, it carries on, just under the new title of ‘public satisfaction’ objectives.
Dogmatic officialdom continues on its own sweet, expensive way — and we in the poor bloody infantry are continually hampered in the struggle to do our job, which is to actually fight crime.
Harriet the hypocrite: Labour Party eminence accused Tories of encouraging nepotism... but her son got first proper job working for his mother's best friend
Harriet Harman has been accused of hypocrisy in the row over internships after it emerged that her eldest son’s first job was at a public relations firm owned by one of her influential friends.
The Government said this week that the system of informal internships – whereby youngsters get placements because of who they know rather than ability – must end.
It prompted Ms Harman to accuse the Tories of encouraging rich parents to lever their children into jobs. Mocking the Conservatives for auctioning off internships to the highest bidder at a recent Party fundraiser, Ms Harman said in the Commons this week: ‘Is that not the Government’s idea of social mobility? We have further to go, but they are turning the clock back.’
Now Ms Harman’s eldest son Harry Dromey has revealed that he got a foothold in the notoriously competitive world of advertising thanks to his mother’s connections.
Harry, 28, had just graduated with a degree in politics from Bristol University when he jumped straight into a job with a PR consultancy founded by key Labour Party adviser Deborah Mattinson, a friend of his mother.
Ms Mattinson, 54, said she had known Harry for years by the time he got a job at her firm, the Smart Company. Aged 16, he volunteered at her market research company, Opinion Leader Research, which has won contracts worth almost £3 million across an array of Government departments and agencies.
Harry described how his job at the Smart Company gave him the chance he needed. ‘I was a dogsbody,’ he said. ‘I was working there for hardly a year for a small amount of money so I could do what I want to do.’ Harry said his job at the Smart Company had nothing to do with his current role as an account director at advertising firm Leo Burnett.
One of his first tasks at Leo Burnett was working on the launch of the Home Information Pack for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The advertising firm won the £6 million Government contract to sell the idea to the public.
Ms Mattinson and her fellow director at the Smart Company, Amanda Jordan, are both former Labour Government advisers.
From draper's son to judge ... THAT was social mobility -- in Britain of the past
By Peter Hitchens
The phrase ‘social mobility’ has been twisted round by the elite to mean the opposite of what it once did. In their mouths it signifies ‘crude discrimination against those who seek to advance themselves or their children through effort and talent’.
This is a wicked perversion. Here is what it really means: when this was still a free country, you could climb thanks to your talent and hard work. My favourite example is that of Lord Denning, one of six children of a Hampshire draper who became the greatest judge of our time.
One of his brothers, Reginald, helped plan the D-Day landings and became a general. Another, Norman, became an admiral, and Director of Naval Intelligence. The boys’ mother, Clara, must have been quite a person, but Whitchurch National School and Andover Grammar School should take a little credit too.
In their austere, disciplined, orderly classrooms, children from poor homes could learn real knowledge, and gain the habits of work and diligence that might take them to the very summit of our once-open society. If they had talent, it would be nurtured and encouraged. If they were studious, they would not be bullied for it, but rewarded.
Faced with ferocious exams, which it was possible to fail, they learned that real life wasn’t easy and had to be tackled with application and determination. That’s how a proper middle class, confident, strong and open to talent, is made.
But those who now shape and direct our society long ago destroyed these places. Believing it was kinder, they scrapped the discipline, the order and the rigour, and turned the exams into feeble jokes. When the truth became clear, they refused to change their minds but carried on as before. The three Denning brothers would rapidly have had their hopes crushed by today’s state school system.
If three such boys – or girls – now exist, we will never hear of them, except perhaps in the courts, because the corruption of the best is the worst of all, and a bright and energetic mind, when all the doors of ambition and hope are slammed in its face, can easily turn to wrongdoing.
I cannot express on paper just how angry this makes me, or how angry it ought to make you. The nearest I can come to it is this – to say to Nicholas Clegg, David Cameron and Edward Miliband that they are all three of them cruel, contemptible and stupid, enemies of promise, enemies of their country, and enemies of the poor. And in each case the crime is especially serious because of their own immense personal privilege. I hope all their political careers end in abject, howling failure, preferably with them being laughed out of office, the only punishment they are likely to understand.
Because all three of them, and their wretched parties, have set their faces against the honest self-improvement that is the mark of a free society. Instead, they gargle the discredited slogans of equality – an equality they don’t even believe in for themselves or their children.
You will have to ask yourselves why the leaders of supposedly democratic parties in a supposedly free society have endorsed a policy that is more or less identical to that of the Eastern European communists of the Forties. More importantly, you will have to ask yourselves why on earth you have continued to vote for them, knowing what they are and what they stand for.
Australia: Abortion is OK but selecting the sex of a baby is not?
A COUPLE who have had their bid to choose the sex of their child rejected by VCAT say they may go overseas in their desperation for a baby girl.
The couple, who are still grieving for a baby girl they lost at birth, had appealed the Patient Review Panel's decision against their wish to select sex by IVF treatment.
The panel - an independent, hospital-based authority - ruled that under Victoria's 2008 Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act, any conflict between the welfare of the child to be born and the health of the person undergoing assisted reproduction must be resolved in favour of the child.
"They (the couple) believe having a child of the same sex as the one who died would assist their recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder, or assist their psychological health or wellbeing," the VCAT judgment read. "The tribunal was not satisfied the matters relied upon by the applicants gave paramountcy to the welfare and interests of the child to be born."
The couple, who have three children, said they may go overseas to fulfil their wish. "We expected that result. We were trying to do the right thing and do it here in Australia and it looks like they're stuck in the 1980s on the panel," the father said.
"I can understand that a woman coming off the street and asking for that, they'd say no. But this isn't about choosing the sex, it's about the chance of having a child we should have had, that we lost.
"The pressure is on for change. The legalities will eventually catch up with the science. We have to move with the times."
All IVF clinics in Australia must stay within National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines that say sex selection should not be done, except to reduce the transmission of a serious genetic condition.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.