With the shocking allegations that The Metropolitan Police Force used undercover officers to smear the reputations of the family of murdered teen Stephen Lawrence. Now I don’t wish to speculate whether the allegations are true or false. If true it’s a shocking and damning indictment of a service at a time subsequently found to be racist to it’s very core who were meant to protect society, more importantly support the victims of a tragedy. Arguably it was a different time and different service to the one that polices the streets of London today. If the allegations are false then questions need to be asked about the motivations of the person making the allegations. I’m not wishing to speculate about this case, but I do echo the calls for a independent inquiry and suitable prosecutions resulting from it’s findings.
Now regardless of the truths about this shocking story I wanted to focus more on the sentiment of ACAB that raises it’s ugly head when policing is raised in the news. For those of you unaware of this acronym it stands for All Cops Are Bastards. It is my opinion that this isn’t fair or accurate. In every walk of life the actions of a few cloud he image of the many. It’s easy to say all police are thugs, when we read stories of innocent people walking home from work being pushed over by a riot-gear clad police officer resulting in a fatal heart attack. It’s easy to say all MP’s are thieving bastards when a few are publicly seen to be serving their own interests instead of their constituents. It’s easy to say all young people are violent thugs because we hear of some being sentenced for appalling crimes. It’s easy to say victims of sexual abuse will go on to perpetrate such crimes because some perpetrators claim they were victims in their childhood.
I think by now you not only get my point but probably know where I’m headed. I’d like to do something that isn’t often heard of. I’d like to stick up for the police, or at least my experience of them. I’ve had relatively few encounters as a citizen with the police. When I was a teen I was an active member of the Volunteer Cadet Corps (the police equivalent of army,air, sea cadets). Other than that I had a couple of occasions during mental distress there were a couple of occasions where the police dealt with me on a welfare call. Besides that there have only been 2 occasions where I have had contact with the police as a victim of crime, firstly years ago I had my bike stolen from the Bike Shed at college. Secondly and probably more significantly When I disclosed my abuse to the police in 2007. If you aren’t aware of my story you can read it in my post Pandora’s Box. I can not tell you how wonderful support I had from the police, particularly in York. From the moment I walked in to weeks after making the statement I was treated with respect, compassion and at times almost parental-esque concern, precisely the sort of treatment a victim of such a crime should be able to expect. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for the men and women of the police to remain professional when a victim is bearing their heart and soul. If I remember correctly I swear WPC who started taking the initial details winced a couple of times, and when I finished at the station I do remember her smiling at me and wishing me all the best.
Please don’t think I’m a sycophant or that I’m not acknowledging there are some bad apples, I guess depending on one’s experiences that a judgement will usually be clouded and that maybe we need to remember that from time to time that with everything, there is some good, some bad and if we are too busy vilifying everyone we risk making the good bad.