Monday, May 14, 2007

Target culture alienates the public from the police

There is an interesting story on the Daily Telegraph site this evening. On the eve of its conference the Police Federation has published a dossier of absurd cases where the removal of the power to use their discretion has forced officers to take action.

Those cases include:
    • A Cheshire man who was cautioned by police for being "found in possession of an egg with intent to throw"
    • A child in Kent who removed a slice of cucumber from a tuna mayonnaise sandwich and threw it at another youngster was arrested because the other child’s parents claimed it was an assault
    • A woman in the West Midlands arrested on her wedding day for criminal damage to a car park barrier when her foot slipped on her accelerator pedal
    • The child in Kent who was arrested for throwing buns at a bus
    • A 70-year-old Cheshire pensioner - who had never been in trouble with the law - who was arrested for criminal damage after cutting back a neighbour’s conifers too vigorously
    • Two Manchester children who were arrested under firearms laws for being in possession of a plastic toy pistol
Of course, it cannot all be the fault of government. In some of these cases a complaint must have been brought by a member of the public.

But it is interesting to see libertarians and the Police Federation making common cause. Do we see the hazy outline of what a popular, anti-Blairite politics might look like here?

2 comments:

Edis said...

The bus and bun one is possibly an partial exception as the driver could not have known what was coming his way (sponge, jammy doughnut or stone) at the time of propulsion. But otherwise... A.P herbert should be living at this hour.

James Graham said...

It's also interesting to see the police attempting to have their cake and eat it. A lot of these incidents look like petty bullying by police officers which have retrospectively been dressed up as 'target chasing'.

That doesn't make the targets a good thing, but it doesn't make the police saints either.hj