Monday, June 22, 2009

A desire for unaccountability

One of the fundamental rules of policing in the UK (and in NZ), going right back to the Peelian Principles, is that police must be identifiable so they can be accountable to the public:

Every police officer should be issued a badge number, to assure accountability for his actions.
The UK police however seem to be increasingly unwilling to abide by this principle, and the regulations which enforce it. And they are willing to use unlawful tactics such as assault and false imprisonment to defend their impunity:
After challenging a police officer over his failure to display a badge number at a protest against the Kingsnorth power station in Kent, the two women were wrestled to the ground, handcuffed and placed in a police van. They were held in custody for four days, three of which were spent in HMP Bronzefield.

Swain, 43, was arrested for assault and obstruction and Apple,33, for obstruction. The charges were later dropped.

Fortunately, the whole incident was caught on the police's own surveillance video, and the incident has now been referred to the UK's "Independent" Police Complaints Commission.

This is indicative of a wider problem among the UK police: an increasing desire for unaccountability and impunity. And that must be stamped out. The UK's out of control police force must be brought to heel and made to understand that they are accountable to the public and subject to the law. Otherwise, they are no better than any other gang.