originally posted by: Shiloh7
a reply to: EvillerBob
Its actually a very serious thread because we are seeing our police disregard certain types of crime and target crimes that make money that goes back
to them. They also remove property which they then sell and profit from. Not something that a police force should be doing if they are threre to
progtect the public who pay their taxes to have a fair law and order force in this country.
Were the police and the government interested in the welfare of the drunks or people who languish in our jails, they would have good rehabilitation
and education programmes being runb throughout the british jail service. They don't. Its only if you are a child criminal or sensational criminal
that you seem to get the chance at any decent education. A friend whose a prison visitor told us that some of our jails for women have things like
hair dressing salons - except they are empty as the government won't fund training so when women get out of jail, they have a skill and won't
re-offend. One reason is that it makes the police arrest numbers look good because many of those arrested are re-offenders. Without being givenb a
chance to lift themselves out of crime by being trained whilst in jail, they don't have a chance. That is something I would like my taxes to go
In the UK the government sure wants people to own their own homes because if they commit a crime there is a tangible asset from which to claim
But the point raised is should our police cherry pick what they wish to prosecute or abide by the law they are supposed to uphold?
My son is also a nurse as are many of his friends and one thing they all agree on is the abuse they get from drunks and friends. If a head doctor
wants change in this area, surely we should be listening to himn and wondering why the police don't do their job.
There are two separate elements there. What brings people into the system, and what happens to them once they are in the system. I agree entirely that
the support (and funding) just isn't there for the width and breadth of programs that might have a positive impact on reoffending, but that is
nothing to do with the police and it wasn't the point of the original post.
POCA is increasingly being used, but it's not a matter of people being arrested for the police to "take stuff". POCA is about the proceeds of
crime, not people's personal property that is unconnected with the crime. If you've made a few thousand pounds from selling drugs, is it right for
you be allowed to keep that money if you are convicted? What about making a few million from fraud? Should that be allowed to sit as a nice little
nest-egg for when you come out of prison? It's a valid question to ask why that money isn't going back to the victims, but it's rarely simple to
identify the "victims" - or, as the majority of POCA seizures relate to drugs, the "users".
That's the purpose of POCA and that is how it is being used. The police aren't holding drunks up by their ankles and shaking them until all the
loose change falls out of their pockets, which seems to be the suggestion from some people.
Some forces will even publish lists of recent POCA seizures. I've used Derby Constabulary as an example link below:
Also remember it's up to the courts to make the final decision, not the police. If you think that the magistrates are wrong in how they are use the
system - well, sign up. Magistrates are members of the local community, so join the bench and make a difference.
There is also the question of officer discretion, and that is a very good question that raises valid points.
The first problem is that a lot of the law comes down to the intention of the law. In fact a lot of our law comes from the courts. The reason is that
Parliament often drafts legislation so widely that it covers a lot of situations, and it is left to the courts to work out whether Parliament really
intended to cover the situation before them, or to give some definition to terms that are sometimes too vague to be useful. We don't even have a
statutory definition for assault or battery, it all comes from the courts.
Well, fine, that's the courts, but how does this filter down to the police? I would consider the primary role of the police - especially the ones out
in uniform on a Saturday night - to be keeping the peace. Sometimes that will involve exercising a bit of discretion over what the actual intent of
the law involves. Two drunks getting into a shouting match might well fall under Public Order offences, or Drunk and Disorderly, but was the intent of
Parliament to punish every single instance of someone getting a bit mouthy?
I'd suggest the primary intent was to give the police some statutory power to fall back on if the matter could not be resolved peacefully, or the
behaviour was beyond a level that made it appropriate for an officer to exercise any discretion. Sometimes, keeping the peace might be best served by
telling the two to head off in different directions, go home and sleep it off. I would rather see an officer handle the situation that way, than
immediately jump in with the cuffs. If it doesn't work... well, the drunks had their chance, next step involves a trip to the police station.
On a final more practical note - there simply aren't the resources available to handle the volume. Every arrest takes one or two officers off the
street for hours. They can do a good job of making it look
like they are flooding an area, but a lot of policing relies on "smoke and
mirrors". One of the reasons why the police can often come across as aggressive is because their training involves stamping their authority on a
situation. Sometimes the only thing protecting them from getting a beating from that group of 30 drunk lads is a tin stick, a can of glorified
hairspray, and the hope that no one calls their bluff because the nearest help is 10 minutes away tied up with another group of drunks.
I'm very pro-police, as you might have noticed, though I'm hardly a fan of their senior management. I have worked with the police for years in
various capacities and I have a lot of respect from what they are trying to do with very limited resources.