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Can we really trust the Police?

This was a peice i wrote after i heard an incresaing number of stories of police brutality and corruption coming from not only 3rd world countries, but America and Britain too. It’s a little ranty but hey, isn’t that somtimes more fun.

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Can we really trust the Police?

What are the police? Are they here to “protect and serve” or beat and abuse. Over the past few months I began to ask myself that very question. The police have never been saints, that’s a given, however, we are now in the year 2012 and in my mind police brutality and corruption should be left in the 70’s. Though with the recent and previous UK riots, the American protests and other major countries problems we have been shown on numerous occasions, that this is not the case. Students being pepper-sprayed, defenceless woman being dragged out of a crowd by their hair and of course who could forget the death of Ian Tomlinson who was knocked to the ground by riot police while walking his dog. Events like these should show that the police are growing out of control. Countries are in turmoil and the people are angry, police should be there to diffuse the situation and keep things controlled, but instead they seem to bust heads and break bones making already bad situations even worse. A good example of this is the American UC Davis protests, in which students, who were peacefully sat on the floor in a line showing no violence towards any authority figure, were pepper-sprayed four times then arrested (pepper spray can cause temporary blindness, pain, breathing problems, panic and if used excessively, say four times over and over, it can very well kill). There are rules and guidelines in which a police officer can use pepper-spray they are to…
1.  Protect himself, or another from danger. (the protesters were unarmed and not moving)
2.  Gain physical control over a subject who is resisting arrest. (the were sat on the floor and also hadn’t committed a crime)
3.  Gain control over a emotionally disturbed subject (they were all intelligent students attending college, very unlikely they were emotionally disturbed)
4.  To defend themselves against a wild animal intent on attack (they were HUMAN BEINGS, even if they were treated like dogs)

This is just one of the many stories filling our TV’s and computers and it has to stop. I understand that today’s media can blow situations way out of proportion, however when videos of such acts are freely available online, its hard not to see anything but the cold, hard fact that police are becoming more and more angry and abusive. I am also fully aware that it is a minority of police that are turning to the dark side, however with there being an estimated 140 thousand police officers in the UK alone, this minority is still a rather large amount of people to beat up innocent protesters. One final point I would like to raise in my defence, is that I know the people don’t help the situation, however the people who are trained to deal with situations calmly and by the book (which costs the taxpayer on average £13,000 per officer), shouldn’t be breaking under pressure. Their overworked, fine, but taking frustrations out on other people is unacceptable by normal society.

So I ask you now, why do we stand for this? Those that attack others should be punished, surely, if a civilian attacks a man out of frustration or stress or just because he’s a little miffed, he’s charged, sentenced and banged up for assault. Should an officer for example kill a man under the same circumstances, it seems very few people in power care, Such as PC Simon Harwood, the man, who killed Ian Tomlinson during the G20 riots, has received little punishment though a trial date has been set…. October 2012, three and a half years after he died. It is outrageous, and shows a viscous circle in action, people get angry, police react badly, no repercussions are seen, people get even angrier, etc, etc.

Violence is only half of the problem, the other half is corruption. Something that was once the bane of society during the probation era and can be seen in movies like “Goodfellas” and “The Untouchables”, is still prominent in today’s society, though a lot less publicised. To deny its existence is just plain ignorance and it’s not just in third world countries either.  For example on February 11th 2011 cops in upstate New York pulled over a suspect and restrained him; then as one officer took the suspect away the officers dashboard camera showed Officer Paul Palidino taking a bag containing a white substance from his back pocket, and placing it in the suspects car. I have not been able to find out what happened to the two officers aside from a small statement claiming “we are looking into it”. When problems like this are dealt with in such a blasé manner, it makes you wonder how far up the corruption might have spread. How sure can you be that the next time you call the police, an honest man or woman will come.  I am not saying that every officer is corrupt, I know, I believe that there are honest men and woman who joined the force to make a difference, to help people no matter their ethnicity, religion or status, I’m sure there are many of them but the problem is corruption can spread. Unless something major is done it WILL take over. 

So it’s obvious, something does need to happen, but what? I won’t pretend to have the answer as any option seems to have a major downside. We could abolish the bobby’s, this would eradicate the abuse of power and the corruption however, the many officers that do, do their jobs well, won’t be there to stop legitimate criminals. Maybe we just leave it as it is, pretend it’s not happening and keep our heads down. No, just like a child, if you allow bad behaviour, the child becomes more and more unruly. It seems we are at an impasse, human behaviour is the cause of these problems and human behaviour is one of the hardest things to change.

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