PC Ellie Bloggs has written a lovely post about the convictions for misconduct in a public office of a PC and a custody sergeant in Manchester. I don't know anything about her but she appears to me to be a very thoughtful and aware individual. I particularly liked her comments about looking out for her troops and making sure they don't drop themselves in it. The lady will do very well and go far in life.
Unlike her I do actually have some sympathy with the officers. 18 months for some over firm handling is one hell of a deterrent let me tell you. Misconduct in a public office carries a tariff of life imprisonment and is used where the primary offence (common assault in this case) would lead to an insufficient sentence when set against the public interest. The PC takes his chances but 18 months for not stepping in? Harsh on the criminal side for the skipper says I.
I am obviously from a time past where I recall as a young probationer attending the custody suite with my gobby prisoner who then proceeds to lay down the law and abuse the desk sergeant. I'm asked to leave the room for a few minutes and when I return I find said same prisoner stood to attention and politely calling the desk sergeant "Sir". I don't know what wise words were administered to bring about this transformation but the prisoner obviously selected the wrong option from the menu. I'm not saying it was right but that's the way it was at that time.
It was the same in School when there was always one teacher selected to dish out the punishment. I don't recall if we had the cane at my school as it never usually got that far in the discipline stakes. We were however gripped up and verbally admonished.
Same in the army step out of line and best you'd get was a verbal dressing down from a distance of approximately 1 inch. You'd be grateful for that too escaping a beasting in the guard room.
If society now wants totally professional then so be it - I'm too near pension to go back to the way it was of firm handling, and don't fancy sharing a cell with Ali Dizaei. There have been times when I've had to reflect on my own conduct, two wrongs don't make a right and I admit I've not been an angel in the past. I did however learn from those unprofessional lapses and do try to pass that onto others.
I think some more passive non-confrontational officer safety techniques should be considered in the training. At present it's all straight in kick, punch gas and asp with a bit of "get back" thrown in. We all have a level when your buttons are pressed and end up reacting - sometimes it's better to come back to reality at the outset. With recent events it's far too griefy to take the firm route.
Only last week I was called by security to a shopping centre with an internal McDonald's where a young pissed ladette was being a pain. I had to listen to her patiently laying it down for 10 minutes before physically taking her by the arm to remove her from the private property as she "ain't F ing going anywhere". Pretty thing with a foul mouth who struck out at me and really deserved to get nicked .. but busy Friday night it just isn't worth it. I did however have to record a pocket book entry for use of force and obtain witness details from security on whose behalf I was acting, just in case.
I would like to see the deterrent principle tried out on the prisoners who attend the custody suite on a near weekly basis. They know that if they do get convicted there's no way that prison beckons. If it works on us there must be a chance it would work on some of them too.