While TB is lying in the sun he will keep one paw on the keyboard every few days as well as putting up the occasional guest post. Ever since the whole Nightjack affair, TB has got into reading a fair few police blogs. Often anonymous and cutting, these bloggers are risking their careers and security by bravely blowing the whistle on the reality of Britain's police forces, that have been bought to near breaking point by failed Labour policies. Here "
I probably considered myself fairly liberal before I joined the police. I might even have harboured feelings that criminals are born of circumstance and that people are generally jolly pleasant chaps.
Standing in custody last Friday night, waiting to book in my snarling, swearing, vomiting seventeen-year-old prisoner, it occurred to me that it may only be possible to be a left-wing liberal if you have never experienced the true face of crime. On Friday, there were twenty prisoners already in custody. Nine of them were under eighteen. Twelve of them needed the doctor to prescribe them sedatives, anti-withdrawal drugs or insulin, to prevent them literally dying during their time in custody. Five of them had been violent to the police on arrest, another seven had been abusive. One had never been arrested before. As I entered, an ambulance crew passed me in the other direction muttering something about ‘fakers’. And when it was finally my turn, the prisoner behind me in the queue decided to explode in a frenzy of kicking, urination and swearing, and we all had to drop everything to bundle him forcibly into a cell.
I’d say the collection was a pretty good snapshot of criminality in this country. It is a never-ending parade of drug abuse, alcoholism, untamed testosterone and furious youth. The same faces appear day after day - often literally - and roll round kicking and screaming on the conveyor belt of criminal justice. They neither seek, want nor accept help, and in any event we haven’t got any to give them.
Of course, none of what the police experience of criminals is actually admissible in court. Judges and magistrates see the offender one or two years down the line, dressed in their ‘good’ tracksuit, their lawyers declaring how they haven’t been in trouble at all since the incident. (Apart from the five other cases still pending a court date, your honour.) Stories are bandied around of childhood abandonment, the clutches of heroin, bullies preying on the weak and simple. Nobody, not even the offender, believes any of them. And yet he/she walks free at the end of the day and is back in custody the following weekend.
I do despair when I read yet more news of the government’s plans to keep everyone out of jail and put over half the country through higher education. Why not just cut out the middle man and send convicted criminals straight to university?
I never thought I’d become a hardline traditionalist through joining the police – if anything I care more than ever about human rights and freedoms. But I care more about myself: my family walking down the street at night and my possessions locked in my house and car. The people paraded before me in custody on Friday night would take away those things in a single blink of an eyelid, and forget doing it straight afterwards. All the new laws, new sentences, and new attitudes just aren’t working. Perhaps it’s time to try something old.
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