Friday, May 12, 2006
...details are still sketchy, at the time of writing, but she was either investigating a disturbance on the street, or disturbed burglars in her home. A very sad incident, especially with it being the loss of someone who was prepared to do an often dangerous and harmful job for free, in their spare time. It also leads to consideration of the wider matter of intervention when off duty.
NB This is not a critique of the officer or her actions, more a contemplation of the topic of off duty intervention in general.
Involving yourself in something that does not directly affect you, in this day and age, is a situation in which the disadvantages far outweigh any possible advantages. One risks death; serious injury; complaints; no support from others; ungratefulness from those you've 'helped' (whether you're a police officer or not) and, inevitably, paperwork and general mithering when they're next in the station.
Unfortunately it is difficult to shake the sense of duty and, to an extent, obligation one feels as a police officer towards those which we agreed to protect, leading us sometimes to put ourselves 'on duty' and assist in a situation that we are witnessing, be it a minor shoplifter or a group assault on one person. Gradually, experience (and sustaining injuries of varying degrees) iterates that this is, more often than not, a foolish thing to do.
When one is not being paid for it (or if you're a Special, booked on and working), you should NOT intervene directly in anything that does not have an immediate bearing on you or people close to you. The safety and well-being of the general public takes a significantly lower priority than your own personal safety, even more so when you are not even expected to be directly intervening in matters. A few people sustaining injuries in a street disturbance without direct intervention is better than the loss of life arising out of a sense of potentially fatal altruism.
Look after yourself first! The Job probably won't give you much support and may even turn on you if you don't do things 'right' (which changes depending on what day of the week it is) anyway, and you can't expect other members of the public to intervene if things go wrong. Make a 999 call and leave it to the people who are on and paid to deal with the matter (although see below).
If one disturbs burglars in your own home, then the mantra is simple - when burglar disturbed, you kill burglar or they kill you.
You are likely to be supported in law (indeed there's some good reported cases on this) if you kill burglars in the act of committing the offence in your home, as opposed to, say, shooting them in the back as they're running away. You'll have public opinion, and probably the police, on your side anyway (though we won't officially be able to say so) and it's better than dialling 999 if you suspect something, and being told there's no free patrols. I challenge any judge or magistrate in this land to say that someone who does kill burglars disturbed in thier own home was not acting out of genuine fear for their life and the lives of those in the house.
Going back to this tragic incident, apparently a knife amnesty is to be launched. I think people need to look at this rationally - does anyone with even an ounce of intelligence really expect that this will trigger an attack of conscience in the collective psyche of the offending population, causing them to hand the knives in and no longer be armed in future? Amnesties are an utter waste of time, effort and money and make not the slighest difference. This sad incident will not change anything, such is the irreperable state of regression and (paradoxically) progression towards anarchy this country now finds itself in.
People in these cirumstances sometimes quote Burke: ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’
In fact, that quote is incorrect, he actually said: 'When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.' That is illustrated by this case - don't go in alone no matter what. Evil will triumph many more times after just the one incident, so there's no point in potentially making the ultimate sacrifice for something that, in the grand scheme of things, will make no difference.
Fortunately, my travel tickets arrived today and I am leaving this cesspit of a society/country within weeks!
(c) Bow Street Runner. None of the material contained in this post, or this blog as a whole, may be reproduced without the express and written permission of Bow Street Runner. All rights reserved.
Yes, people do get stabbed in Oz, police officers included. If you are emigrating out here to join the job, you also face a greater risk of being shot than you do in England. You will not however, be expected to take on armed criminals while unarmed yourself.
I emigrated in the early 70s and am coming to the end of a police career here after 28 years on the job. Some things you will find are just "same shit, different accent." But overall, it is a significantly better life here, in or out of the job.
Good luck Runner.
Every person in the UK has "Any person powers of arrest" albeit restricted after SOCPA. The whole point of these laws is to allow members of public to uphold the society that they desire to live in and be protected by the state. Too many people see someone being assaulted or see someone lying in the road and look the other way. Nisha's husband said in a TV interview that she probably intervened because that was the type of person she was, not because she was trying to make an off duty arrest. I would do the same and I hope many more would. I'm not going to let criminals reign free because they think we are scared of acting.
I don't want to live in a society where no one takes pride in their community and is not willing to defend it. The government is trying to rebalance the publics perception of the criminal justice system which I believe has given rise to your feelings.
Society has been guilty of looking the other way with out-of-control children. Now look where we are...
I take your point about personal safety though.
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