Sunday, August 14, 2011
A police perspective on the London riots
Brian Paddick was one of London's highest-ranking police officers. How would he tackle looters?
It would be hard to find a better-qualified candidate to sort out the looting and policing crisis than the former inner-city commander who helped revive relations between public and police in Brixton after the 1981 riots.
"I would have certainly been in my element," nods Paddick. "I would have been in Tottenham on Saturday night or first thing in the morning on Sunday. For Boris Johnson to turn up three days late brandishing a broom is not the sort of authority needed in these circumstances – in my humble opinion."
After 30 years in the Met, he still constructs his sentences with the pedantic care of a sergeant entering a crime into a little black notebook. Alongside this slightly circuitous precision, however, he also has a police officer's attractive habit of answering questions very directly.
As the riots spread across London at the start of the week, police tried to contain disturbances and arrest afterwards using CCTV evidence. Was this wrong? "Yes," says Paddick. "The reason we've seen such widespread rioting is simply because people believed they could go out there, do what they want and get away with it. If the police had acted robustly and quickly on Saturday night then we might not have seen the copycat violence all over the country."
Four years retired, Paddick remains remarkably relevant to the Met's current predicament. The grandson of a policeman, he climbed the ranks to become commander of Lambeth, south London, where he famously initiated a pilot in which officers cautioned, rather than arrested, those in possession of cannabis. Despite falling victim to untrue tabloid stories and probably having his phone tapped, Paddick became deputy assistant commissioner, the most senior gay police officer in the country. His rise was halted when he revealed, five hours after Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by armed police at Stockwell tube in 2005, that senior officers had known he was carrying a Brazilian passport, and was therefore unlikely to have been a suicide bomber.
The police's release of misleading tales to the media following the death of an innocent man has become a familiar pattern. It was repeated when newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson died after being shoved to the ground by a police officer during the 2009 G20 protests. Then, nine days ago, when Mark Duggan was shot dead by police in Tottenham, police accounts told of a shootout with Duggan, and an officer's life freakishly saved when a bullet lodged in his police radio. There was a wearying inevitability about the Independent Police Complaints Commission announcing this week that in fact the bullet in the radio was police issue, and a non-police weapon retrieved from the scene was not fired.
Paddick "completely" agrees these inaccurate accounts disastrously undermine public confidence in the police. "There is still this belief among some senior officers that it's better to cover up than own up. The trouble with that is usually people find out, and then it looks twice as bad," he says.
How do you tackle that culture? Is it institutional? "Well, if it's institutional it didn't persuade me. I told the IPCC exactly what I knew on the day of the shooting of de Menezes, and as a consequence I was sidelined and eventually pushed out. That's what happens with people who aren't institutionalised."
Paddick seems scarred by his experience in the Met hierarchy and, unsurprisingly, has no friends left there. Witheringly critical about former boss Ian Blair, Paddick believes he was briefed against by the Met's communications chief Dick Fedorcio. Blimey, I say, the Met sounds like a box of snakes. "Absolutely. It is," nods Paddick.
Paddick does not think the power vacuum created by the resignations of Met commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson – an appointment he presciently criticised – and assistant commissioner John Yates over the phone hacking scandal contributed to a failure to combat looting. But his critique of the boss class is more fundamental than simply pinpointing tactical failures and an inadequate use of Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger. Public order policing is not part of an officer's routine duties, but volunteered for. And the rank-and-file have stopped volunteering in droves, says Paddick, "because they felt if they did go in and do what the public wanted, which was pretty tough policing, they would end up under investigation or subject to complaints". He does not accept the rightwing critique that our rights-based culture means troublemakers have lost fear of the police, but believes ordinary officers worry "they would not be supported by their bosses when it came to complaints. So it's a loss of confidence in the hierarchy more than anything."
There is a tension between loss of faith in the police and the desire for tougher policing expressed this week. It is a hard time to be liberal. Paddick declares he is, none the less: "I agree that providing people don't harm other people, they should be allowed to do more or less what they want. The people on the streets this week were hurting a lot of people, and that puts them in play. Even though I'm a liberal, the police should've gone in much harder."
There is always "a fine line between robust police action and reasonable force and unreasonable and criminal assault", he says – but reasonable force for Paddick is not what you might expect of a liberal Lib Dem. Like former Northern Ireland chief constable Sir Hugh Orde (Paddick's choice for next Met commissioner), he has no time for the idea that unwieldy water canons could confront a mobile mob. It would be "like an elephant with a bucket of water". But Paddick has argued in favour of kettling and, most controversially, believes plastic bullets would quickly stop the rioting looters. "These are people who, if you say 'Boo' to them loudly enough, will run away. If you've got a crowd intent on looting and someone levels a plastic baton-round gun at them, they'll run a mile. That is upping the ante to a level where they don't want to play any more," he says.
Multiculturalism = Racism
by Phyllis Chesler
The civilizational war that Jean Raspail once envisioned in his brilliant, dystopian novel The Camp of the Saints is now fully underway. What Raspail once only imagined has come to pass. People of color from many formerly colonized countries have created "no go" zones all across Europe; ambulances and the police enter there at their own risk.
The "youth," the opportunistic criminal elements, the proto-jihadists (all of whom survive on the European dole), are torching cars, looting stores, battling the police.
Even as I write, black Brits are killing Muslim Brits and rioting against the police. Muslim Brits are threatening to kill whatever and whoever.
Have Europeans traditionally been racists? Yes, of course they have. Remember the Holocaust against the Jews. They learned no lessons.
More recently, did European governments allow immigrants to stay because they were willing to do work Europeans refused to do? Yes they did.
Are Europe's "multicultural" policies—which allowed immigrants, up to the third generation, not to integrate, not to westernize—also really racist policies? Yes, of course they are.
All you anti-racists: Now hear this. Multicultural relativism and multicultural policies have failed not because they are too indulgent but rather because they are essentially racist policies which have one standard for ethnic Europeans and another standard for immigrants of color.
Are there immigrant, class, faith, and color issues that need to be resolved in Europe? Absolutely—but due to the nature of jihad-via-satellite and jihad-via-internet the violent rioters in England resemble the violent rioters in Gaza or on the West Bank, or the violent rioters all across the Arab world.
The ski masks and keffiyas most resemble Arabs participants engaged in an "intifada," or uprising. It does not matter if the European participant is an African-Caribbean-Brit or a south east Asian Brit. The model of nihilistic insurrection is Arab and "Palestinian" in style.
Non-violent demonstrations (and there have been many in Europe, certainly in England), about college tuition, housing, and employment, do not look like this—although, 'tis true, many European, allegedly pacifist political demonstrations have turned ugly in jihadist-like ways.
These issues are not confined to Europe nor are they confined to European immigrants. The underlying, perhaps intractable problems are simmering and boiling in a new kind of "non-melting pot" stew in which all standards have been lowered, both by Western government employers, unions, educational institutions, and the media.
The solution? In terms of Europe and the chosen Intifada template: The same world that allowed the Arab terrorists to practice their diabolical arts mainly on Israelis and Jews have now reaped the whirlwind. May God have mercy on us all.
Anti-prejudice programs may backfire
Educational programs designed to persuade people to be unprejudiced may often backfire and actually stoke racial hostility, a study has found. Its authors are advocating a more positive approach in which educators stress the benefits of tolerance rather than moralizing or threatening.
"People need to feel that they are freely choosing to be nonprejudiced, rather than having it forced upon them," said Lisa Legault of the University of Toronto Scarborough, coauthor of a report on the findings to appear in the journal Psychological Science.
Organizations and programs have been set up worldwide in the hopes of urging people to end racism and prejudice. Legault and colleagues conducted two experiments which looked at the effect of two types of motivational intervention: a "controlled" form of telling people what they should do, and a more "personal" form explaining why being nonprejudiced is enjoyable and personally valuable.
In the first experiment, college students were randomly assigned to read one of two brochures about a new initiative to reduce prejudice. The first, designed to take a gentler approach, declares that "social justice is the vital ingredient in a free, fair, and peaceful society." The harsher second brochure notes that the law "prohibits discrimination in employment" and that "teachers and students displaying racist attitudes and behavior can face serious consequences." A third group of student participants was offered no motivational instructions to reduce prejudice.
The authors found that those who read the "controlling" brochure later demonstrated more prejudice than those who had not been urged to reduce prejudice. Those who read the brochure designed to support personal motivation showed less prejudice than those in the other two groups.
In the second experiment, participants were randomly assigned a questionnaire, designed to stimulate personal or controlling motivation to reduce prejudice. The authors found that those who were exposed to controlling messages regarding prejudice reduction showed significantly more prejudice than those who did not receive any controlling cues.
The authors suggest that when interventions eliminate people's freedom to value diversity on their own terms, they may actually be creating hostility toward the targets of prejudice.
"Controlling prejudice reduction practices are tempting because they are quick and easy to implement," Legault said. "They tell people how they should think and behave and stress the negative consequences of failing to think and behave in desirable ways." But it may not work, she warned.
Catholic nurses use Equality Act to protect their pro-life beliefs
Two Roman Catholic nurses have won the right not to work in an abortion clinic after they accused the NHS of breaching equality laws. The case is believed to be the first in which the Equality Act has been used successfully to defend a “pro-life” position as a philosophical belief and could have implications for other Christian medical staff.
The nurses, who are both from overseas and do not wish to be identified, were moved from their normal nursing duties at a London hospital to work once a week at an abortion clinic.
They were required to administer two drugs to pregnant women - Mifepristone and Misoprostol - to cause an induced miscarriage. The process, known as “early medical abortion”, is an increasingly common method of terminating a pregnancy and does not involve surgery.
When the nurses discovered that they were participating in abortions they objected but were told by managers that they must continue with the work.
One hospital manager allegedly told the pair: “What would happen if we allowed all the Christian nurses to refuse?”
However, the hospital later backed down after the Thomas More Legal Centre, which specialises in religious discrimination cases, took up their case.
After receiving a letter from the centre, the hospital initially told the nurses that they would be excused from administering the abortion-inducing drugs but would have to remain working at the clinic.
The nurses’ lawyer, Neil Addison, wrote again to the hospital stating that the nurses would still be “morally complicit in abortion” if they continued to work in the clinic as nurses in any capacity. The hospital eventually conceded and the nurses were allocated to other duties.
Mr Addison, director of the Thomas More Legal Centre, argued that the NHS had wrongly denied the nurses their right as conscientious objectors not to take part in abortions, which is set out in the 1967 Abortion Act.
He also invoked the Equality Act 2010. In a move that is believed to be a legal first, Mr Addison claimed that the nurses’ belief in the sanctity of life from conception onwards was “a philosophical belief” protected under the Equality Act. Therefore any attempt to pressure them into working in the clinic would be illegal.
“This particular interpretation of the Equality Act has never, to my knowledge, been argued before,” Mr Addison said. “However since the courts have accepted that the philosophical belief in global warming is protected under equality legislation, there seems no reason why belief that human life begins at conception should not be equally protected.”
By invoking the Equality Act, the nurses would be given greater protection, as it carries the potential threat of discrimination, victimisation, or harassment action at an employment tribunal.
Mr Addison said he felt “privileged” to have represented the “brave” nurses.
“Taking the stand they did took immense moral courage and I am delighted that they have been successful,” he said.
The case marks a rare example of equality laws being used to protect the rights of Christians. Previously judges have been criticised for interpreting equality and human rights legislation in ways that allegedly “marginalise” religious beliefs.
Last month, the Equality and Human Rights Commission warned that the courts had failed to protect religious freedom by ruling against Christians who wanted to wear the cross at work.
The watchdog said judges had interpreted the law “too narrowly” and must be more willing to accept that staff who have been prevented from expressing their beliefs have suffered discrimination.
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.