20 May 2008

Keith Hellawell: The dangers we all face now Police cannot think for themselves

Daily Mail

This has been a difficult week for West Midlands police. It is rare for public servants to be sued for libel, and the High Court apology the force gave to Channel 4and the Dispatches programme was both humiliating and unprecedented.

For all its unique features, however, this case is symptomatic of a broader set of failings: a loss of nerve, a warped sense of priorities and, in particular, a culture of weak-minded politicisation that should concern us all.

Undercover Mosque, the edition of Dispatches at the heart of the legal case, made disturbing viewing.

Broadcast in January last year, it showed clerics at mainstream mosques making extreme and inflammatory statements, advocating the murder of homosexuals, for example, and praising the killer of a British soldier in Afghanistan.

Yet, instead of lauding the programme makers for their careful and enterprising work, West Midlands police said Channel 4 should be prosecuted for stirring up racial hatred.

They accused Dispatches of deliberately distorting the views of the clerics through misleading editing and, when their own investigations foundered, they complained to the broadcasting regulator Ofcom.

The whole sorry episode reached its conclusion on Friday with a joint apology from the police and the Crown Prosecution Service, and a promise to pay £100,000 - out of public funds, presumably. They had no evidence to support their case.

Such an astonishing lack of judgment is difficult to comprehend, perhaps, but it is by no means unusual. Police forces around the country grow ever more bizarre in their decisions on who and what to prosecute, leaving the public angry and confused.

How can it be, for example, that prominent figures from the worlds of art and fashion seem immune from prosecution despite clear evidence of drug-taking, while unassuming office workers are dragged through the courts for dropping an apple core or placing the wrong piece of rubbish in the wrong bin?

Why do complaints from ethnic minorities appear to be given so much more attention than those from the majority?

Why do police forces take action against parents who shout at their children while refusing to act in cases where property has been damaged by fully grown adults?

As a former police officer of 36 years experience, who worked my way up through the ranks to become Chief Constable of Cleveland and then West Yorkshire, later becoming "drugs tsar" for the Government, I am disturbed by what I see around me.

Continue reading:
The dangers we all face


Joanne said...

Perhaps the police should make a united stand against the bizarre policing that they are expected to conduct. The police managed to take to the streets and demonstrate when there was a problem concerning their pay. Why can't they take to the streets and demonstrate against the political influence stifling proper policing and upholding of the laws? The police are suppose to protect the entire populace, not be baby-sitters for the minorities.

Anonymous said...


For an answer to the question that you pose, may I please refer you to this!!!!


Joanne said...

Thanks, I'll try to make some time to watch that video.

Anonymous said...

Reverse @ 21-May-2008 00:23:00

Agreement there.

Found a link about West Midlands Police


Interesting some of the points made on site.

* The Police cannot reduce crime single handed. Local partners can contribute in a wide range of ways.

* Police authorities are obliged by statute to consult the local community, and many show innovative outreach to hard to reach groups of people.

I recall one of the theories about why West Midlands Police went through with trying to sue C4 was that they had a call from a local iman who said a lot of tensions were being caused by this and that West Midlands Police did not have enough manpower to handle the potential situation. Who knows if that's true but by their own admission they have to consult the local community who in this case would be the imans.

It seems too much of a coincidence that Police forces who call for more 'Asian and ethnic minorities' in higher ranks of the police force.

I have no objections of non-whites getting promoted in the police force but they being promoted by their record and ability to the job rather than on a whim of some 'trojan charity'.

Anonymous said...

Imagine it, a Police Force with a large enough number of "community based" higher officers to really influence decision making.
Prosecuting bloggers and channel 4 TV wouldn't be the half of it.
Not only would they ignore their heroin importers, they would ignore the safety concerns of any Brits unfortunate to be under pressure in certain areas.
This is what happens when you politicise the police force.

Lionheart said...

That is exactly what is happening now anonymous.