7th April 2012: It is axiomatic that a police officer should not abuse or ill treat a person on account of that person’s race, nationality or ethnic origin.
It has been reported that the Metropolitan Police Force has referred the cases of twenty officers to the (allegedly) Independent Police Complaints Commission for racism*. Whilst one case of an officer allegedly assaulting an arrested person and another of an officer being abusive to a member of the public, have been cited, most seem to involve just conversations between police officers. Indeed, the Metropolitan Police Commissar (sorry, Commissioner) has urged officers to report colleagues if they made inappropriate remarks. His Deputy, Mr. Mackey, spoke approvingly of officers who had informed on their colleagues for using racist language. Why does Squealer from Orwell’s Animal Farm come so vividly to mind?
Newly-appointed police officers take an oath, when appointed, that they will serve in the office of constable, “with fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality, upholding fundamental human rights and according equal respect to all people”. (The Police Reform Act 2002)
The earlier version (from the Oaths Act 1868) stated: “I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of this realm, without fear or favour, affection or ill will”.
I shall leave to others the ticklish task of comparing the two and teasing out nuances of meaning that Blair’s apparachiks might have introduced in the 2002 version, for their demonic purposes.
Whilst all racially-motivated partiality might be bias, not all bias is racially-motivated. Bias might just as easily be politically motivated*, class-motivated, influenced by whether or not the person concerned was ‘on the square’ or determined by the personality, attitude or life style of the person concerned.
Bias can be tackled in two distinct ways.
The conduct and words used by each officer can be monitored to prevent and record any verbal abuse, misuse of powers or physical assault from officers. Any serious examples of these should indeed be reported by other officers, although most officers prefer to look the other way.
The other approach is to root out from the force those individuals with that bias of which the force disapproves. That is the approach of the Metropolitan Police Force which recognises and disapproves of only one kind of bias: that which is racially- motivated. So long as there is only one sin, that of racism**, it can be eradicated quickly and with that zeal, at the expense of justice, that must have brought job satisfaction to many an Seventeenth Century Witch-Finder General.
There does not have to be any indication that the sin has been acted upon, against any real victim, any more than Matthew Hopkins had to show that congress with the Devil had been consummated in any particular case. The word of an informant, especially denunciation by an ambitious colleague, that a forbidden word has been uttered or a heretical view harboured, is all that is needed to bring a promising career to an end.
Of course, those of us who live in the real world know that biases take many forms: class; political; personal; and religious. To root out from a police force all people who have biases of any kind would be to remove the entire constabulary. We cannot remove all biases from an individual without eradicating an officer’s personality. We cannot, for example, expunge an officer’s political opinions and it is not our business to do so.
However, we could teach our police officers to embrace a professionalism that would enable them to be aware of their own biases and to set them aside when dealing with members of the public. That is something that all people dealing with the public must do, if they are to work efficiently, effectively and with humanity.
No bias is better or worse than any other. A pretence that the attention of the authorities can be focused on one form of bias and the others disregarded is itself a manifestation of tunnel vision and partiality.
How many officers have been suspended or reported to the IPCC for ‘inappropriate language’ about different classes, members of political parties or followers of lobby groups? If prejudicial ideas and attitudes lead inexorably to biased behaviour, then such ideas could just as easily lead to verbal abuse, assaults and wrongful arrest.
Of course, the Metropolitan Police chiefs do not want to rid the police of bias. They want to rid the force of biases of which they disapprove. The Political Class wants to ensure that its apparachiks in the police, the prison service, the civil service and in education share the ideology of that class. To do that, they must eradicate racism (in all its forms and meanings) and implant their own ideology.
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner might be called, Mr. Hogan-Howe and his Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Mackey but they talk, mutatis mutandis, like Mr. Gradgrind of Coke Town.
* Many Nationalists have experienced openly prejudicial behaviour from police officers. Indeed, the ban on police officers being members of just two political parties, the BNP and the NF can be seen as a coded message to police officers to treat us in a quite different way from members of other parties. I was on the receiving end of brazen police perjury in 1984 and the fruits of that perjury affect me to this day. However, I must say that I have also encountered pleasantness, honesty and professionalism from many others.
** Racism is a wonderfully imprecise word that was invented by a Trotskist and can be used to refer to anything from a mild preference for one’s own people to wholesale genocide. A successful application of one meaning can immediately justify the application of all of the other meanings.