Monday, 18 January 2010

Uses for a riot shield.

Last week Youtube made the news because a Thames Valley police officer was pushed down a steep snow-covered slope by his colleagues using a riot shield as a sledge. It looked like fun but was it wise for an officer to be seen having fun whilst on duty? Superintendent Andrew Murray, their superior, said "I have spoken to the officers concerned and reminded them in no uncertain terms that tobogganing on duty, on police equipment and at taxpayers' expense, is a very bad idea should they wish to progress under my command". The sledging officer could easily have hurt himself, and then there'd have been all sorts of repercussions and questions being asked.

Fortunately nobody was hurt. The members of the public who witnessed the event thought it showed a good side of the police, with the one who actually filmed the clip, Rick Latham, saying "you don't always build up the most positive image of the police but they broke the mould. They were chatty and pleasant. It was just nice to see them in that situation".

In other circumstances, the police would have to work very hard to build up the positive PR that this clip has generated. And they were on duty, but the impression I get is that they had been called out to investigate a possible threat to public order - other sledgers using other impromptu sledges such as a Kayak. The other sledgers were certainly a threat, if not to the general public, then to themselves.

I hope the officers aren't too severely reprimanded and this use of a riot shield is much better than their usual use.

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