Police must lose Robocop image

How humiliating that perhaps the greatest city in the world, known to everyone since the very first Caesar, has fallen to the latest incarnation of the Vandals. What happened last week has been headline news all around the world to what should be the huge embarrassment of every person living in these islands.

How did it happen? It happened because a group of amoral young people saw an opportunity to unleash their feral instincts and have what was to them some real fun. Underpinning this was a unique chance to help themselves to items that their state handouts would not allow them to buy. They did not set out to harm anybody, but that was the inevitable consequence. They just wanted everyone to get out of their way so they could do as they pleased. Where did the forces of law and order feature in all this? First they were caught asleep on their watch with the only two senior officers who might have made a difference pushed out of their job because of pettifogging nonsense over phone hacking. So the ‘Great Met’ was rudderless. They should have been monitoring the Twitters and realised that in today’s joined-up world they can get advanced warning of what is likely to happen. Wake up Met, the Internet is here! Then when they did spring into action they stood back, looking like RoboCops, and stared out from behind their shields. Were they afraid?

There is a terrible disconnect between the police and the lawless underclass, who view them as the despised enemy; someone, who in their take on the world, can be to blame for the boring pointlessness of their lives. But who, we have to ask ourselves, is truly to blame? Back we have to come as I said in my last spiel to the lack of values inculcated at family level. And who encouraged that? Why, the ‘bleeding hearts’ who said that discipline at all levels – be it at home, school, the policeman on the beat – should be eased. Reasons must be sought for bad behaviour. We must try not to be so judgemental. And as if we were not storing up enough trouble for the future with such policies, we failed to give these luckless kids a decent education.

A few decades ago there was one arm of the state which might still have saved these sad cases of hopelessness: the military. Two years before the mast (National Service) would have knocked some real sense into them and taught them many real and valuable skills. They might even have come to take some pride in their country’s military prowess down the centuries and come to love her. But, alas, we must deal with the situation as we find it now. First of all we must get behind the Education Secretary’s revolution in the classroom. Then we must support the policies which encourage people into work and penalise the workshy and the malingerers. But most all we must do everything we can to reinforce the family and ditch the silly notion that a father isn’t altogether necessary.

I am pleased that we did not rush into using water cannon, rubber bullets and tear gas. The foreigner may be shocked at the images coming out of London and elsewhere, but he should not get supercilious and start tittering. Germany, France, Greece and others have all resorted to these but, except for Northern Ireland, we never have. And our policemen are virtually alone in the world in not being seen to strut the streets with a pistol at their hip. Such is the British way and the foreigner stands in awe at such law enforcement. We have ethnic groups who do not yet understand these things, but in time they will.

Meantime, it would help if our police stopped dressing up like Robocops. If they are to connect with these feral young people they should look as casual as possible, not like someone who has leaped straight out of ‘Grand Theft Auto’ or some computer game they have been playing… someone they have just zapped into oblivion. Even our ‘Bobbies’ on the beat are padded out to an absurd degree and no longer look normal. Mrs. Thatcher’s police faced worse violence during the miners’ strike without these scary looking outfits, but yet they managed to contain the situation. But the difference is that they got stuck in; they didn’t cower behind their shields and allow the collieries to be torched. It was just the same when the print unions took on Rupert Murdoch at Wapping. All done without a lot of show-off, expensive paraphernalia, but with a determination to oppose lawlessness at any cost, even to themselves. I bet the boys presently in Helmand Province would laugh their socks off (or perhaps weep) at such pusillanimous as we have seen on the streets of London recently.

Ian Blair, the former head of the Metropolitan Police, has so much to answer for with his politicising of the police and his insistence on political correctness. What a disgrace that we must now refer to him as Lord Blair! But in all this sad litany of woe there is a very great silver lining: we can now be sure that the police will not allow themselves to be caught again with their pants down at the London Olympics next year.

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About tomhmackenzie

Born Derek James Craig in 1939, I was stripped of my identity and renamed Thomas Humphreys in the Foundling Hospital's last intake of illegitimate children. After leaving the hospital at 15, I managed to find work in a Fleet Street press agency before being called up for National Service with the 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars who were, at that time, engaged with the IRA in Northern Ireland. Following my spell in the Army, I sought out and located my biological parents at age 20. I then became Thomas Humphrey Mackenzie and formed the closest of relationships with my parents for the rest of their lives. All this formed the basis of my book, The Last Foundling (Pan Macmillan), which went on to become an international best seller.

Posted on August 11, 2011, in police, society, UK and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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