Wheres the sense of proportion?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Storeman Norman, Nov 28, 2005.

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  1. I have thought long and hard before getting this one off my chest - but recent events have driven me on, so here goes...

    We have recently been told that the casualty rate (and that means deaths folks) of people involved in 'police incidents' is on the increase. This year is some sort of record. These range from entirely innocent people / bystanders killed in car accidents to scrotes killed trying to outrun the police. However, the fact remains, they are all innocent nonetheless. Even if we leave the Menenzes incident well alone (and by all accounts none is going to be charged for that) - it is a fact that not one policeman has been successfully charged as a result of these deaths. A rough law of averages must mean that some of these occurences will have been 'questionable'.

    The record of the military in this respect is less good - and I have no need to repeat examples here.

    Yesterday it was revealed how a gang of Booties spent some of their spare time (decided to wind up the press) and, leaving aside the utter madness of the potential fall out in terms of PR, the incident is pretty small beer. That same day a young family of 3 were killed in yet another incident involving the police. A child was involved, albeit delivered prematurely as a result of the incident, only to die later. So where were / are the screaming headlines? 3 deaths versus a bunch of naked loonies.

    So, I say again, where's the sense of proportion?
     
  2. What? And have the papers accused of running a campaign that goes against a uniformed force that is there to protect the people? They'd never do that, not against the police. If the uniform is green however, crack on.
     
  3. The difference is that the coppers didn't crash into that car for sh1ts and giggles...
     
  4. Norman, I don't know where to start. Leaving aside the fact that the comparison is, frankly, daft let's have a look.

    First, the police vehicle casualty figures. Casualties are unacceptable, but if we accept that there is a need for the UKs 100,000-odd coppers to drive fast occasionally to respond to emergencies then there will be accidents. It's just a sad statistical fact. Why not have a little think around some of these issues whilst you're at it:

    * An accident where the mere presence of a police vehicle on the road might have been a factor is considered a "vicinity only" police accident (POLACC) and is counted in the figures. Example: Mrs. Miggins sees flashing blue lights in her rear view mirror, panics, veers to the nearside, hits a lamp-post and gets a minor whiplash injury. This is now a POLACC with a member of the public injured and goes into the statistics.

    * Coppers do get prosecuted, but more or less to the same standard of other members of the public. The ones where the cops "get off" are the ones we all hear about because (as is gospel on ARRSE) the media are a mendacious bunch who self-select stories for their impact and to suit an editorial agenda. "Pc Smith gets three points for running a red light in a police car" (not an uncommon occurrence, believe it or not) does not a Currant Bun headline make. The issue of courts not taking road traffic offences seriously enough is another matter, but that isn't the fault of the police.

    * We have had massive expansion re. recruitment. There are a lot of young in service coppers out there, and in large semi-rural forces they will be driving police cars. I'm sure you want to see young officers out of their depth crucified in the press because they are doing what their management sent them out to do?

    I'm not surprised that many in the military are feeling pretty raw about public perceptions at the moment. You are the public face of a hideously unpopular war the public couldn't give a toss about. The Media is unflaggingly unfair about you. Your top brass is kidding itself that implementing HMG agenda is more honourable than resigning, despite the obvious damage being done. The future looks like more and more ops tours in sandy places that we've never heard of. People don't look at the army any more and think that you are defending us. Of course, you are, but life isn't fair.

    To turn this argument around and have a pop at us in the police, who face all sorts of difficult operational situation, suffer the same indifferent managment, political pressure of the sort you get as well as Media scrutiny 24/7 is just bloody cheap and inappropriate. If the "marines in the mud story" involved a squad of coppers it would be a bigger story and you know it.

    We've faced the possibility of "gripping the rail" in court for years for simply doing our jobs and facing politically-motivated complaints and discipline systems. This is a recent phenomena for the army, in NI successive governments had your backs until this lot came in after 1997. Rather than look around for others to vent your anger at, sort yourselves out and lobby for a proper staff association like the one we've got. A fiver a month each would buy you a pretty big legal budget from independent lawyers as well as a proper PR machine that works for the operational soldier outside of the MoD machine.

    Just my 2p.

    V!
     
  5. V

    You may have missed the point here. This was not a direct pop at the police, it is all about a sense of proportion. I see you have focused on the traffic casualties etc. As you well know, police have been involved in many high profile incidents where casualties were incurred and there was not a car in sight. The infamous table leg incident is yet another. The threat of 'action' by comrades saw that one off and no-one will now face charges. Again. I'm not having a go at the coppers here - you have to ask who has got it right and your last paragraph might well be the answer. If the fcking politicians want to play by PC rules then let's not tie one hand behind our backs.

    The sense of proportion has to come from somewhere - and only by comparing the military with another uniformed security service can a reasonable comparison be made.

    SN
     
  6. I have made my feelings about policemen shooting people known in an earlier thread. Here, I would like to say two things:

    1 Concerning the police, just as in the case of the military forces, there is a lot of difference between the attitudes and influence of the blokes at the bottom of the hierarchy and those at the top.

    2 'The police', in the sense of those senior officers who make the longer-term decisions, have their own agenda and it is not a libertarian one. I think they should be kept on a very short lead indeed. The sight of a British PM proposing compulsory identity cards and 90 days detention without charge because 'the police want it' is disgraceful.

    Has this anything to do with Storeman Norm's original post? You tell me.
     
  7. I should say that if the Prime Minister puts forward proposals about what the Police say they need to fight crime, that's a good thing. What if the PM said on behlaf of the Army "They are not happy with their rifle and want a new one, lets get it for them", would that then be an Army with its own agenda? Yes of course; an Army whose agenda is to get the kit it needs to do the job. Why are you afriad of asking the police what they need to do the job?

    Finally...the car crash that killed two people and injured two cops. Didn't it happen because the family were driving on the wrong side of a motorway/dual carriageway? Must be the coppers fault, string them up!
     
  8. As of yet a soldier hasn't had to wait almost six years for a final outcome to a criminal and/ or disciplinary process, unlike these two officers. No doubt it will happen eventually.

    If we want to talk about some recent army cases, fine. The "duct-taping Iraqis to fork-lifts" was a legitimate case to prosecute and people were found guilty, although not high enough up the chain of command perhaps. The parachute regiment case was pretty grim, would never have got to a civilian court in my humble and so justice was done and the men found not guilty.

    Most policemen who shoot people do so because their job put them there and they made a decision in difficult circumstances. Very few have stood trial for offences as serious as Manslaughter (although some have) but if in doubt the System always seems to try to prosecute coppers, it's in the "public interest."

    Whats happened here is a paradigm shift for political and legal reasons. Our government sees peace-keeping operations as akin to policing and the legal paradigm has shifted (unfairly) in that direction. Furthermore, they need to balance the unpopularity of the war with the backbenches by being seen to be extremely tough on any soldier who crosses an ever-shifting, nebulous line of the ROEs of the day.

    What that has to do with coppers is neither here nor there. I didn't vote for this lot, so I'm not culpable there either. When you look at it closely, all of us who serve the public at the sharp end are subject to media-driven decisions by people who invariably haven't done anything more taxing than work as a policy wonk, or a Quango member, or a local government apparatchik.


    V!