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Enough of bully-boy policing

April 15, 2009

Generally speaking I do have great respect for police officers. I don’t believe that joining the police force makes you a fascist pig, and I’m happy to believe that most of them are hard-working people doing their best for the people who employ them – i.e. you and me (we’re the ones paying their wages afterall).

You might think it’s the dubious behaviour of some police officers at the G20 protest that has got me going. While some of the pictures and video of alleged police brutality are atrocious and spurred me to post, actually it’s something else that has been preying on my mind. Namely, Police Interceptors on Five. How I loathe Police Interceptors… and how glad am I not to live in Essex any more if these guys are representative of its police force.

Now, I’m prepared to accept that perhaps some judicious editing has gone on, but watching the Interceptors (and sometimes for that matter BBC One’s Traffic Cops) bully innocent people is not my idea of fun. They have plenty of dodgy drivers who should probably be banned from the roads for life, and good for them, for taking these dangerous idiots out of circulation for a while. But that’s no excuse for assuming young men in small cars are up to no good and taking offence when said citizens are anything less than reverential in their attitude to the boys in blue. You have to earn respect, lads, it’s not supplied with the uniform and handcuffs. Treating everyone as if they were drug-dealing scrotes will not earn you my respect, or that of the young men you’re bullying.

If you’re wondering “why watch it, if it winds you up so much?”, the answer is I don’t anymore. I have suffered it for the sake of sociability (I barely see my husband thanks to his appallingly long shifts) but he’s on his own watching it these days. He says it helps him ‘wind down’. Suffice to say it has a contradictory effect on my mental well-being.

I’d be interested to know how many fellow officers are left cringing at the crass way the Interceptors and Traffic Cops deal with members of the public. Here’s hoping a second series hasn’t been signed up…

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