Thursday, 11 October 2012

Low Police Morale

Morale can't be too high in the police service and raising morale must be a priority for those who are standing for election as Police and Crime Commissioners. The police are facing significant cuts despite the major party in the coalition being the 'party of law and order' and add to that at least one member of that party who thinks the police are plebs. It also doesn't help morale when officers are murdered. Add to that the Hillsborough effect. The errors of judgement by some senior officers followed by an extensive cover-up must have tarnished the reputation of all officers.

Then yesterday evening there was an article on the news about an officer from Greater Manchester who used excessive force on a teenager This officer was given a suspended sentence and had resigned the previous day. However the CCTV that we saw did not look that bad. If there was CCTV footage of a fight in the street or a heavy tackle in a rugby match then the force used in this case was much less. I have been to one open day at a police training centre and the arm behind the back was a basic technique.

This particular youngster repeatedly ignored instructions to empty his pockets. He 'may have posed no threat to anyone' but he wasn't doing what he was told. Even his mother said he was no angel, so when I heard the words 'an exercise in deliberate degradation and humiliation' I thought it referred to how the officers must have felt when their repeated requests were being ignored. What is the appropriate technique for getting anyone to empty their pockets? The GMP say that the officer's actions were totally unacceptable but no mention was made as to what was acceptable.

The officer was described in court as a broken man. No wonder. The problem I have is that I have come across many people who have given anecdotal evidence of excessive force used by the police. There will be many officers, perhaps all serving officers, who are now concerned about there previous use of force. They must be wondering how they are to deal in the future with those who do not cooperate.

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