It comes as no surprise that the officer who clearly assaulted a G20 protestor was cleared today - this incident follows a string of police attacks on innocent members of the public in which the victim has been cheated by the Courts. Policing is not about instilling control through execution as seen in the Menezes case, assault as in Nicola Fisher's case, or death by what can only be described as overplay and police panic, as seen with the shooting of a London barrister by Met police officers. Policing is about community harmony, maintaining order through diplomacy and effective management of legislation through interaction with the public.
The reality is worrying. Policing has lost its way, and it is commonplace to watch police officers use CS spray, Tazers and telescopic batons when in many cases the use of their voice would do just as well. Why do we now find that violence conducted by the police is more acceptable than from members of the public? Surely this shows that society now accepts punishment without trial. It's a step closer to a police state in which the police sentence alleged offenders without trial, yet do not face the same punishments when they get it drastically wrong.
When we consider the cumulative effect on society of police officers being afforded an uneven hand in the judicial process, we have only ourselves to blame for allowing these breaches to go unchallenged. The criminal justice process must start to treat alleged offenders within the police with the same culpability as civilians within society. Their pay levels suggest that police officers are well educated, respected members of society, but this could not be farther from the truth - more so today than ever before. Training in most forces is now 'in house'; they receive no legal training whatsoever, they receive no education in law, and as such they cannot use discretion or judge the legislation they are using. Yet they are permitted to attack the public more and more frequently with a level of force that exceeds what would ever be accepted in any self defence case at court.
The introduction of Community Service Officers (CSOs) is wasteful. The Special Constabulary are better trained and can use the same powers as serving full time officers, yet they receive no pay. In times when the economy is struggling it is disgusting that so much money is being wasted by the employment of CSOs who are ineffective, overpaid and simply gloss over the crisis facing the service. The Special Constabulary could be far better used if it was treated with more professionalism. These community-minded persons should be given a pro rata salary for the time they devote to the community, and be used much more to reduce crime and resolve paperwork issues - which is an excuse often used by police officers who spend far too much time at the station.
Paperwork is another issue that can be easily resolved through the implementation of dedicated arrest process teams, who would be used solely at every station to complete the paperwork files needed for trials. Much of this paperwork is available on present IT systems and could be simply printed off and signed, or managed to suit each individual arrestee's circumstances. This would also help reduce court costs when files are delayed due to poor police attitudes to the processes they need for a committal file. It may also help reduce the loss of paperworkm which also delays trials at a huge cost to the taxpayer. The arresting officer would need to simply submit a witness statement, and the rest would be completed methodically by the arrest process team. CCTV footage recorded within police stations or vehicles should be downloaded to a secure main base to which the police have no access, which would safeguard evidence and stop interferences by those who are disingenuous with the truth.
Unless we look at policing with a view to real reform we are in danger of sleepwalking into a police state.