Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Plod – the truth about our wonderful police force

with 6 comments

I admit, I am not a 100% law abiding citizen.  I park on yellow lines.  I exceed the speed limit.  I smoke weed.  BUT I would describe myself as a strong supporter of the police.  Any society has to have rules and that means there has to be someone to enforce them.  I don’t envy the police in their responsibilities and I admire the way that many of them are fulfilled.  If you’ve ever been in a traffic accident and seen the way they deal with such chaos amidst the confusion, fear and danger, you have to admire their training and focus.  If you’ve ever lived in central London and experienced the little shits, wasters and a***holes who plague the streets then you have to admire their patience and persistence.

I think “institutional racism” was probably a fair criticism but then it was born out of the fact that the majority of street violence and crime was carried out by young black men – and still is.  If I was a policeman I’d probably be “stopping and searching” more blacks than whites.  It wouldn’t be my job to worry about the causes and the social whys and wherefores.  My job would be to protect the public.

There is another institution in the police though and its been there for years.  You can call it cynicism.  You can understand it by realising that they see themselves, inevitably, as separated from the rest of us – on another side.  You can appreciate how the ridiculous administrative load they are placed under grinds them down. BUT they can be their own worst enemies when they deal with people in a way that alienates and antagonises those that want to support them.

I had an experience with my local police in Havant recently that, at the end of the day, just makes me sad.  It’s a leadership issue really and whilst I feel pretty sore at the rather stupid young policewoman who tried to stitch me up, I don’t really blame her.  She’s a foot soldier, not gifted with huge intelligence and steeped in this destructive culture of “us and them”.

I had some property stolen from me in what you might call a “domestic” context.  In fact it wasn’t mine.  If it was I’d probably have let it go but I had to get it back and I had no option but to look to the police to do their job and enforce the law.

So, knowing all too well that if I telephoned it in or even went to the police station to report it, I’d just be brushed aside, I made a written complaint.

After two weeks I’d had no response at all so I managed (with extreme difficulty) to find an email address and sent a reminder.  It took several further emails and a number of telephone calls before, nearly six weeks after my initial complaint, a crime reference number was allocated.

Another week later I attended at Havant police station to make a statement.  I very much had the impression that the policewoman was just going through the motions and she was much more interested in any detail that would enable her to write the matter off as a “domestic” rather than deal with the real issue.  I did say to her that I felt I was entitled to rely on the police to take action but I didn’t think that was unreasonable.

Nevertheless, she took my statement and was pleasant enough.  She made some small talk and casually enquired how I had travelled to the police station and where I was parked.

As she showed me out of the police station we met two of her colleagues in the corridor who I held the door open for.  I returned to my car, drove less than 25 yards from my parking space and was suddenly and violently intercepted by a police van driving across in front of me.

The two colleagues I had met in the police station emerged from the van and told me that they proposed to breathalyse me.  They called another car in and I found myself on the pavement surrounded by four police officers being made to take a breath test – which I passed.

Draw your own conclusions.  Mine are that I have no confidence in Havant police at all, in their bona fides, good intentions, integrity, intelligence or even common sense.  I don’t blame the policewoman involved because she’s just a victim of the police culture that creates this sort of stupid, dumb, “us and them” culture.

In the higher echelons of the police force there are clearly some very clever people doing fantastic work on matters such as anti-terrorism and thank God they are.  Amongst the footsoldiers, as well as the heroes and those who understand their role as a public servants,  there are undoubtedly inadequate individuals who choose a uniform to bolster their own self image and who enjoy wielding authority that is beyond their ability.

It is a leadership issue.  If you antagonise, offend, upset and deal shabbily with those you are supposed to “protect and serve” then where do you expect your support to come from?

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Written by Peter Reynolds

July 15, 2008 at 11:20 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Dear Mr Reynolds,

    I read your latest blog with interest. I am a reporter for The News in Portsmouth and I’d really like to talk to you about what happened recently.

    My number is 02392 492 444.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    Elise

    Elise Brewerton

    July 16, 2008 at 11:37 am

  2. An odd situation for sure, did you stagger into the Police Station swigging from a can of Special Brew or something? Having worked in this kind of environment of ‘us and them’ I think you’re right to highlight that as one of the major issues, because in all public services that happens to a degree. A pity you had to come across some of the less impressive aspects of the Police force but don’t let the situation force you to write off every member of Havant Police, I’m familiar with the area and they seem (en masse) to be decent enough.

    scottcarless

    July 16, 2008 at 2:38 pm

  3. No doubt you smelt of alcohol and she was doing her duty and protecting the public from the possible dangers of a drink driver on the roads. To use a similar arguement to your own ‘it was born out of the fact that the majority of drink drivers are middle aged men. If I was a policewoman I’d probably be “breathalysing” more middle aged men smelling of alchohol than middle aged men who don’t. It wouldn’t be my job to worry about the causes and the social whys and wherefores. My job would be to protect the public.

    Two sides

    July 23, 2008 at 9:36 am

  4. Do you have some sort of inside knowledge? Who are you?

    I don’t entirely disagree with you.

    What I object to is snide, underhand behaviour from someone who was less than prepared to do her duty in respect of the matter she was interviewing me about.

    You can’t take the high moral ground if you only do so when it suits you.

    There are appropriate ways of dealing with people and inappropriate ways.

    If you antagonise, offend, upset and deal shabbily with those you are supposed to “protect and serve” then where do you expect your support to come from?

    peterreynolds

    July 23, 2008 at 10:59 am

  5. Two Sides or Two Faced?

    Yoiu seem to have one of those Hotmail addresses that appears and then…disappears!!

    What was that word? Oh yes – SNIDE

    peterreynolds

    July 23, 2008 at 11:53 am

  6. Having been nearly killed by speeding polices car on at least two occasions I have no confidence in the police protecting me at all. I also witnessed a police car overtaking a long line of cars on a bend (at high speed) leading up to a set of railway gates which then had to perform an emergency stop to prevent a fatal collision with a train. They were rushing to minor RTA that was already being attended to by at least six other police vehicles.

    M Stewart

    July 25, 2008 at 4:53 pm


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