Can’t find it online as yet, but when/if it does show up the Indy has a pretty naff four page spread in the ‘Extra’ section on police blogs consisting of a half column of editorial and a bunch of material lifted from various blogs, including most the usual suspects (PC Copperfield, Intelligence Detective, even the sadly missed World Weary Detective) and given the usual half-arsed ‘look we got if off the internet’ presentation – blocky monospaced font and fuzzy pictures all dressed up in Mac-a-like windows.
One hopes the Indy have observed the usual niceties and got their cheque book out before publishing other people’s work.
The material lifted from the police blogs is pretty much what you’d expect if you’re familar with them, blunt, honest to the point of brutality and, like many public service blogs, exhibited no small measure of gallows humour – this being precisely what makes them worth reading. Police blogs may give the PR obsessives in the upper ranks an attack of the vapours but they put a human face on policing in ways that the senior ranks could not even conceive of – if police blogs convey a common message, it’s that coppers are real people too.
Naturally, the editoral column includes the usual denunciation of police blogs:
Inspector Simon Hepworth, of West Yourkshire Police, is one officer who believes the unregulated thoughts and rantings of underlings – who claim they are officers of the law – are threatening to undermine the work of the police. Writing in Police Review magazine, he argues: “Part of our role is to fight fear of crime… or reassurances, as long as they remain credible, bring matters back into proportion and thereby improve the quality of life for the general public.
“It is not particularly helpful in this respect to write that ‘only three officers are available to cover a borough of 100,000 residents’, to quote one blog. Even if it right [sic], is the public any better off knowing?”
Ignorance is bliss, eh?. Of course, Simon’s belief in the palliative efficiacy of police reassurances is heavily qualified by the phrase, ‘as long as they remain credible’, or to put it another way, ‘as long as no one is actually a victim of crime and then has to wait three days for a copper to show up to investigate’.
Elsewhere we find that far from providing public reassurance, the police are demanding new powers to arrest demostrators who cause ‘offence’ including the power to proscribe protest chants and slogans.
Yes, its the return of the Met’s assistant commissioner, Tarique Ghaffur, who’s last foray into media relations involved called for the criminalisation of flag-burning and who’s been pushed front and centre of this issue, no doubt, in the mistaken belief that if they route this illiberal crap through an ethnic minority officer, then at least the can’t be accused of racism, that or Ghaffur’s angling for a transfer to the Moscow police, where he’ll slot in nicely.
There are two obvious problems here, first the Police are ‘demanding new powers’, i.e. gettting completely above themselves – their job is to enforce the law, not make it.
Second, the demands amount to the further criminalisation of free expression and setting up the police as a kind of official state censor, roles characteristic of a totalitarian police state not a liberal democracy.
It’s seem therefore, that I have to agree with Inspector Hepworth in one respect, the unregulated thought and rantings of police officers are undermining the work of the police…
…not when they’re voiced on blogs but when illiberal twats like Tarique Ghaffur are allowed to brief the media.