Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Friend or foe ?

Having just  got nicked for an illegally sized number plate on my ride to work this morning in an affable but totally ludicrous police mass spot-check,   I have to say this through gritted teeth -  but there's some interesting stuff over at the Third Estate about the Left's attitude to the cuts now facing UK police forces.

Inevitably references are being made to the fantastic scenes from Wisconsin where police joined municipal workers occupying the state capitol building in protest at local  union-busting policies aimed at state employees:

But I can't help wondering if in a similar scenario any force in this country would behave in the same way. This may be another instance where things here are not in fact so much more progressive and enlightened than they are in supposedly reactionary US.  Listen to the speech made by the  police office at the Wisconsin occupation. He cites 'protect and serve' as his ethos and duty as a public servant.

I just don't think coppers here have the same consciousness - after all they take an oath of allegiance and talk about keeping the 'queen's peace' - whatever the fuck that means these days. That's not just  a matter of semantics - it  seems ingrained that they apart and distinct  from the communities they police. 

Of course there's no denying the  humour in watching the Police Federation squirm to defend themselves and even try to behave like the very trade unionists and activists they have happily beaten the crap out of for years now. But that's a road to nowhere.  At some point we will need to have at least elements  of the police come over to our side. Recent events in Egypt showed that the defection of some of the state forces was a tipping point - as it has been in pretty much every revolution.  That won't  be achieved by our attitudes alone - it will essentially  be by the pressure of events - but having a hostile attitude is a sure-fire way of ensuring that it won't happen at all. So I'll grit my teeth and defend the 'workers in uniform'.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember being told that the police officer from my little village got shipped off to the miners' strike picket lines as they didn't dare use local officers, who would have had dads, brothers, uncles on the other side of the picket lines. Once officers realize they'll need to pay more for their sons and daughters to go to university, that they'll get less overtime, that some of them will face redundancy . . . they will be less likely to kettle marches and attack demos.