Discourage self-help, and loyal subjects become the slaves of ruffians. Over-stimulate self-assertion, and for the arbitrament of the Courts you substitute the decision of the sword or the revolver. – The Law of the Constitution, by A.V. Dicey (MacMillan, London 1885).
Yesterday I found this story (sorry, I don’t remember where I found the link that took me there) from Saturday’s Daily Express:
REPORTS of the law-abiding being serially neglected by the police when their property comes under attack are proliferating. Every day brings new stories about people who have been let down by constabularies that always seem to have higher priorities than protecting the public.
It appears that far from being an occasional aberration, such neglect is the norm in many parts of the country.
Too many forces have fallen under the command of politically correct top brass who think officers should be at best neutral when they intervene in altercations between harassed householders and gangs of thugs.
The latest examples are all too typical. In Lincolnshire, Ted Nottingham has felt compelled to advertise a reward for the capture of yobs who have vandalised his car more than 40 times and have now wrecked his neighbour’s vehicle.
In Stourbridge, disabled widow Brenda Hill has been forced to put up notices in her car, begging vandals to stop smashing it up after five attacks in the past year.
She knows who the culprits are and so do the police but nothing has been done to stop them.
We cannot go on like this. The current public outcry must be the catalyst for fundamental change. There is no more important task facing the police and the courts than reclaiming the streets from young hoodlums.
There must come a point when offering understanding and support to the fractured families of the underclass is not enough.
The time has come for the police to get tough and give decent people their neighbourhoods back.
I’d like to think the unspoken next sentence reads “Or we’ll take them back ourselves,” but I’m not sure there are enough dangerous victims left in (formerly) Great Britain.
But I can hope.
UPDATE: Reader “teqjack” links in comments to the latest bit of insanity from across the pond:
The public have ‘ unrealistic expectations’ that police will put themselves in danger to protect ordinary people, according to new safety guidelines for officers.
The Health and Safety Executive caused outrage by declaring that officers confronted with dangerous situations-while fighting crime or trying to guard the public ‘may choose not to put themselves at unreasonable risk’.
Its guidance published yesterday firmly plays down the need for officers to show bravery in the course of their duty if they make a ‘personal choice’ not to.
It states: ‘There is often an unrealistic public expectation that officers and staff will put themselves at risk to protect the public.’
The document concedes that ‘very occasionally in extreme cases’, police may be justified in putting themselves in jeopardy – in which case they may be let off without being prosecuted under health and safety laws.
The report – which has the backing of senior police chiefs – prompted anger and astonishment last night.
Paul Beshenivsky, whose police officer wife Sharon was shot dead by armed robbers in 2005, condemned the HSE as ‘meddling do-gooders’, saying: ‘At the end of the day a police officer’s job does involve putting your life on the line. Sharon knew that, and she got killed.’
He told the Mail: ‘The public are not allowed to take the law into their own hands, and now the crazy health and safety brigade want to stop the police dealing with criminals as well.
“Where would you draw the line? Would you say, “That shoplifter that looks on drugs, he might have a knife, I’ll walk away from that one?” The whole thing is madness.’
Police forces have been subject to health and safety legislation since 1998.
But it is the latest document’s advice on risk-taking by individual officers that has caused anger.
The report says police officers ‘may, very occasionally in extreme cases, decide to put themselves at risk in acts of true heroism’.
In these ‘rare circumstances’, the HSE adds, ‘it would not be in the public interest to take action against the individual’.
But it adds: ‘Equally HSE, like the Police Service, recognises that in such extreme cases everyone has the right to make personal choices and that individuals may choose not to put themselves at unreasonable risk.’
The guidelines have been backed by the Association of Chief Police Officers and the rank-and-file Police Federation.
But Sid Mackay, a retired Met Police Chief Superintendent whose daughter, PC Nina Mackay, was stabbed to death on duty in 1997, said: ‘They claim it is “unrealistic” for the public to expect the police to face danger, but that’s what the public believe the police are for, and rightly so.
‘The HSE will never understand, because they are completely risk-averse, but they have got their fingers into operational policing and they think they’re the experts.
‘The police are choking on paperwork, carrying out endless risk assessments for every operation, and then we wonder why they have become so cautious.’
Anthony Ganderton, the stepfather of ten-year- old Jordon Lyon who drowned in Wigan in 2007 after he jumped into a pond to save his stepsister, also attacked the guidelines.
Two police community service officers who arrived at the scene stood on the bank and radioed for help instead of jumping in to rescue the children, because they were not appropriately trained so risked breaking health and safety rules.
He told the Mail: ‘The point is they should do whatever they can to help people in trouble, especially when there are children involved.’
HSE chairman Judith Hackitt said yesterday: ‘This statement will assist senior police officers in balancing the risks involved in their duties to fight crime with meeting their health and safety obligations to their own employees and the public.’
The Home Office said: ‘Health and safety laws are there to protect the police as well as the public, but they must never hinder officers in the execution of their duty.’
They’ve gone completely batshit fucking insane over there.