Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The police are contemptible

The irrepressible JuliaM draws my attention to this story.
A woman was jailed yesterday after her false claim of rape resulted in an innocent stranger being arrested.

In an attempt to make her family feel guilty following an argument, Kerry Saunders invented a story that she had been sexually assaulted after a night out.

She was overheard making the allegation by a passing police community support officer.

Instead of admitting it was just a story, she told the officer that her attacker was a black man driving a blue car.

Within hours, Oladepo Otesile, a student, was picked up by police near the scene of the alleged attack.

He was held in a cell for 22 hours, where he was interviewed under caution and given an intimate forensic examination. Samples of his DNA and fingerprints were also taken.

Only after Mr Otesile was bailed to return for an identity parade did his 'victim' contact police to admit the allegations were false.

Of Mr Otesile, [Barry Humphries, prosecuting,] added: 'The victim is black, and happened to have a blue car which was spotted by police in the area where the alleged rape took place.

'It fitted the description of the car and he fitted the description of the attacker and he was arrested. He then spent 22 hours in custody where Miss Saunders still maintained the allegation that she had been raped.'

You what? As Julia puts it...
Am I reading this right? On the word of a drunken, attention-seeking chav, and with no physical evidence whatsoever, plod simply arrest the first black man in a blue car they come across? Jesus wept….

He should sue. Not just the chav, but the police force as well. I’m not normally in favour of ambulance chasing lawyers, but Mr Otesile needs to find the most feral beast in the legal jungle and sic him on Essex Police forthwith.

Quite right.

I am finally, as it happens, getting around to reading the excellent Wasting Police Time; whilst I have read the Coppers Blog for some years, and thus much of the material is familiar to me, reviewing it in a oner makes me has induced some quite exceptional rage.

As you will know, your humble Devil is a libertarian and, although many people still seem to think that this equates to the kind of Satanism that is encapsulated in "do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law", that is not my view at all. As many others have argued, libertarianism actively requires very strong property laws to operate; after all, how can one possibly uphold laws against the initiation of force against life, liberty and property if you cannot uphold said laws?

And Sir Robert Peel created the police to uphold the law on behalf of every person in the land, including the weak who are unable to protect themselves. So, let us remind ourselves, yet again, of the Principles of Peelian Policing.
  1. The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.

  2. The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon the public approval of police actions.

  3. Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observation of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.

  4. The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.

  5. Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.

  6. Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning is found to be insufficient.

  7. Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

  8. Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions, and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.

  9. The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.

Our police forces have become debased and ineffective; they need to be reformed now. And, as many others have advocated, we should start with the election of local police chiefs: people whose job depends on the serving the people who pay their wages, not the state.

That actually applies to every public service: the state fucks up everything that it touches and should therefore do as little as possible.


Anonymous said...

Our Government Elect are like Local Government employees with the Police as their personal security service.
Which they are, guarding them against terrorists whilst the public are left with cowboy Community Officers.

Mr Eugenides said...

Of course, his DNA has now been retained by the state...

Anonymous said...

I'd go further - I'd have elected judges too.

That'd certainly make sure the Gitterthing spent a few years getting it up the arse off Big Sid.

Anonymous said...

Constable Savage was obviously transferred to Essex after the Special Patrol Group was disbanded.

You can see a classic sketch here:

Anonymous said...

Essex police are subject to several complaints of this sort, where they have acted on false allegations with little or no actual evidence.

They usually pick on people they think they can bully and whose complaint will be dismissed if it is ever put forward. Every now and again they misjudge the determination of relatives, but mostly they get away with it.

Sky News 2:49pm UK
Friday September 22, 2006
Cops Spur TV Crime Writer To Quit
The man behind the hit TV detective series A Touch Of Frost says he will not be writing any more of the stories - because he is annoyed with the police. The Daily Mirror says writer Rodney Wingfield is unhappy with the way the police handled a case of alleged shoplifting involving a nephew.

The paper says the 54-year-old relative was accused of stealing a battery from a shop in Essex and locked up overnight before being released.

Mr Wingfield said the nephew did not match the thief's description and police officers did not check CCTV footage or contact alibis. "They also urged him to confess, saying if he did he'd be cautioned and allowed home," he added.

"Their actions make it impossible for me to write any more pro-police Frost novels. The book I'm working on will be my last." A police spokesman is quoted: "It would be a shame if Frost was killed off because of this."

Tomrat said...

Here's a thought experiment - indulge me for a minute:

1. The government encapsulates the concept of policing in very focused, very statist terms, breaking down every action in its vast plethora of laws, rules and regs to its "social cost"; lets assume the worst in that they are more interested in "attention grabbing, media friendly" crimes like paedophilia or rape or murder and little about the crimes that cause harm to the most peopleand are the most expensive to prosecute (i.e. embezzlement of company pension funds).

2. Said government then lays out private business practices, such as PRP, whereby the entire police force is turned into a target driven system, not a results driven one (there is a difference...)

3. The police adjust working practice to meet said targets - certain number of traffic violations, rape violations, murder violations...etc, are all recorded, tallied and compared against reported averages for said crime. Thus it appears things are being "done" about said "crime".

4. Now, lets imagine that the police have become so effective at meeting their targets that their is little financial incentive to criminals to carry out a certain type of crime (i.e. "oh, a cannot murder that gangland yardie competitor on my turf as my DNA was collected for jay-walking and will give me up instantly; I best take up gainful employment in the public sector instead"), thus the number of incidents of that crime decrease (anyone who has read freakonomics will know that this can occur quite rapidly whilst the controls are intergenerational, making it difficult to gauge the impacts).

5. The "source" of the polices' "crime numbers" dries up; their is effectively a smaller pool from which to record certain crimes; in effect they have "won" the points battle without having to look at the wider problem of other crimes overlooked through central targeting - thus they "infantilise" the numbers; taken to the extreme it means a parent disciplining an unruly child can now be classed as assault ( or, as is the case here, rape allegations made by a crack-smoking fantacist can be investigated against innocents on the most whimsical of charges and assertions; they become desperate.

6. Meanwhile the justice service is bogged down with the petty targeted "crime number" cases; already filled to the rafter with socialist, aggrandising yes-men they "prosecute" the crimes minimally; rapists go free after 3 years, murderers go free after a decade, burglars are let off completely and drug addicts are incarcerated in facilities where supply is cheap, illegally operated and their is little incentive to get clean.
The effect is that little if any justice is done, in the prisons, like the hospitals, beds are still warm from the previous covict when a new perpetrator enters them, and judges, in a move to satisfy their very clear allegiance to the political elite water down the meaning of law to make it apply to an ever-widening clientelle of criminals.


Fewer prison places being given to a decreasing populace of criminals due to an incentivised police force prosecuting stupid crimes while letting serious ones slide; judges then letting the lighter ones off as their are is no space left showing quite clearly that crime does pay; as long as you dont mind the odd inconvenient night in a police cell. Innocent civilians are caught in the cross-fire, everyone is miserable because noone is in charges and this can all be traced back to the abandonment of one peelian principle:

The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.

We should abandon "police targets" for this very reason altogether; they are not and should never be considered a service - they are a force.

Roger Thornhill said...

Sounds like a case of "round up the usual suspects".

Anonymous said...

"the state fucks up everything it touches".

I would go slightly further, devil - I would say that ANY and ALL human endevour involves a spectrum of fuck ups.

The logic of your statement [applied to our various institutions] surely demands that we simply privatise EVERYTHING, including the army, education, fire service, etc ?

I agree, the case in question highlights an injustice.
But it might just be possible [and I'm only guessing here] that the attitude of police officers has been ever so slightly tainted by the high number of chavtastic blokes who skip away from court after being found not guilty [natch] following rape accusations.

Either there is an army of Kerry Saunders out there [i.e. thousands of female liars/fantasists] or rape and justice are two mutually incompatible concepts given the conviction rate for this crime.

Anonymous said...

"I agree, the case in question highlights an injustice.
But it might just be possible [and I'm only guessing here] that the attitude of police officers has been ever so slightly tainted by the high number of chavtastic blokes who skip away from court..."

*slaps forhead* Oh, I see, it all makes sense now! Og course, that's why they detained a blameless teacher who has never been in trouble before...

I might, might, ascribe to your 'Oh, poor police, they are just freustrated..' theory if they'd pronptly arrested Darren or Dwayne Chav with a record as long as your arm. They didn't.

And even if they had, would it have been right?

The key word here is no evidence. They had none. None whatsoever. They just stopped a black man in a blue car and thought 'He'll do!'

Once upon a time, that would have been the cause celebre for a few crusading journalists, and no harm done once Mr Otesile got his compo.

Now, thanks to the 'if you've got nothing to hide' brigade, Mr Otesile's DNA and arrest is forever recorded.

Not so 'excusable' now, is it?

Anonymous said...

Not my point, juliaM - you have already dealt with the victimisation/miscarriage of justice [against an innocent man], I'm sure I began by acknowledging this fact, but I'll re-state it again for the sake of clarity.

Perhaps such calamities would not have befallen a privately run police force - I believe there are some very exciting independent security providers in South Africa, for example ?

Yes, I'm sure if the fat cats could only muscle into the security market [akin to Bransons posturing in primary care] then we would see far more convictions and hardly any miscarriages of justice.

Hell, they might even be able to level the playing field when it comes to the rapist/innocent man vs victim/fantasist conundrum ?

By the way I object to the retention of DNA [in the absence of any conviction] but I must admit I have no idea if any of the other parties are committed to overturning this infringement of personal liberty.

Nu Lab are doomed but I doubt if this will put an end to the sort of ineptitude highlighted here.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps such calamities would not have befallen a privately run police force..."

Sure they would. We hear enough horro stories about British Gas hounding pensioners for a few pennies, or unscrupulous double-glazing salesmen tricking people into unwanted contracts.

"Nu Lab are doomed but I doubt if this will put an end to the sort of ineptitude highlighted here."

Given that the alternative is Dippy Dave's Blu Lab, no, probably not. That's why you shouldn't allow them the opportunity to write such laws in the first place, even if it's 'your' team in power. You ought to know your 'opponents' will be in power soon enough and will use it gleefully.

Sadly, there's few principled people in either party...

Anonymous said...

My team - I can't stand 'em.

Anonymous said...

Hence the '' around the words...

Roger Thornhill said...

What is being missed here.

Just because the State always screws up does not mean the the Private Sector will ALWAYS screw up less. Most of the time when there is the constant threat of bankruptcy, they will do a better job. Sometimes, when it is an unavoidable monopolistic situation, the advantages are less to zero, so the State may well be the least worst option.

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