How the police could do a better job and protect our
cities more effectively.
I was almost as
appalled by the response of the police as I was by the recent looting in London.
I also found the constant apologetic, self-serving bleatings from politicians to
be almost as embarrassing as they were annoying. And I was almost speechless
when I heard it widely suggested that the problem would be solved if parents
kept their (teenage, hoody) children indoors. This was serious stuff. On Monday
8th August 2011, London looked uncomfortably like a Middle East hotspot. The
only big difference was that the looters and thugs in London were not
Do none of these people understand that the
hoodies who were having fun smashing up shops and stealing mobile phones don't
care what anyone says (or does) to them?
Forty years ago I worked as a
Community Service Volunteer in the toughest parts of Liverpool and later, when I
was a medical student in Birmingham, I ran a night-club called `The Gallows' for
kids who would otherwise have been on the streets.
Time and time again
the kids I was working with got involved in fights which resulted in serious
injuries. They simply didn't care because they didn't have anything to lose.
Only when they felt they belonged, had responsibilities, and had a future to
lose, did they behave responsibly.
When life is so bad that there is no
downside, the bleatings of politicians and threats from the police aren't going
to make any difference to young people who have become feral.
things are far, far worse because today's young people have been brought up
knowing that they have rights. For a new generation life is now all about
rights. There are no responsibilities.
There are only two solutions. A
short-term one and a long-term one.
The short-term solution is that
street violence has to be subdued with violence. The looting and the destroying
have to be stopped with truncheons and firm arrests in order to protect the
innocent, the hard-working and the honest. Nothing else will work.
long-term solution is that life must be made better so that the looters and
destroyers have something to lose: homes, belongings, work, pride and hope. They
have to learn respect and dignity. (And none of that will happen until
politicians and policemen start behaving honestly and honourably.)
Meanwhile, the police must be firmly told a few home truths.
Stop shooting people who aren't shooting. It tends to annoy and frighten people
who don't have guns.
2. Policemen who shoot citizens who aren't shooting
must be suspended and arrested. No exceptions. The police shoot far too many
people these days. And there never seems to be any justice.
who loot buildings and set fires must be arrested immediately. Even the ones who
look frightening (because they are wearing balaclavas) must be arrested. The
police are paid very well to take personal risks. That's the job. Any officers
who don't want to be policemen, protecting life and property, should become
librarians and take a massive pay cut. People have been looting and setting
fires because they could. The reaction of the police (standing around or running
backwards and forwards) seemed egregiously incompetent at best and cowardly at
worst. It was the failure of the police to take action which led to the
exacerbation of the looting and vandalism.
4. Firemen should put out
fires immediately. It is not the job of the police to stop firemen managing to
reach fires. And firemen, like policemen, are paid to take risks. Both the
police and the fire brigade should be ashamed of the burnt out buildings and
wrecked shops in London. There can be no excuses.