Home > Ethics, Local Politics, National Politics, Policing, Uncategorized > Plebgate: Have Police Officers scored a spectacular own goal?

Plebgate: Have Police Officers scored a spectacular own goal?

Watching the report on Channel 4 News last night by Dispatches Reporter Michael Crick concerning the Andrew Mitchell ‘Plebgate’ affair, probably sent shivers down many more spines than just my own.

Only a short time ago, the scornful way in which politicians are viewed today by an understandably cynical press and public, probably left the majority of people assuming that the then Chief Whip must surely have done all as was being suggested by headlines, and like many other high profile MP’s on the rack, was merely making excuses just to save his own skin. After all, is it not the case that our default setting is to trust a Police Officer?

Hindsight is of course a wonderful thing, and considering the obvious questions first is admittedly difficult when the media know they have a great story to run with which is completely jam-packed with all the negative fireworks which are the must-haves of a big seller.

But why was nobody making more of a question of where the major supporting elements of the story had come from back in September?

As a Local Borough Councillor, the topic of Policing often seems like an everyday fact of life. Councillors frequently face what are usually hard discussions, focussing on real-life emotive issues with people in realities that require every bit of resourcefulness for us to effectively continue to support the position of Police Officers doing what we accept to be a very difficult job in equally difficult times. In my experience to date, such discussions have never raised the issue of trust where any Police Officer or PCSO has been concerned. Trust has been a given.

Yesterday’s revelations have served to table the possibility that at least one serving Police Officer could have created a document which may not only have given substantial weight to a series of allegations regarding the conduct of an Elected Member of Government, but also opened the door to seemingly legitimate attacks on that same MP from a Police Association, for reasons which may now only begin to become fully clear.

At a time when respect for the Police seems to be perilously low anyway, any action which could even remotely be seen to endanger the moral authority of Police Officers is a frightening thought for any member of the public who values living in what we call a civilised society. It is a fair bet that a sensationalist media will bring this idea right to the mat or ADSL port at every doorstep.

One of the inherent suggestions made by the programme of motivators for the Representatives of the Police Association involved, related to cuts to Police budgets. These are a regrettable and painful reality at a time when many public servants are in exactly the same position as the Officers who are part of this evolving tale.

However, many people know, understand and empathise with the frustrations and fears that accompany such changes. They equally live in hope that the legitimacy of services which were established and which exist for the public good will remain intact for as long as it takes for real changes to come into being, which will genuinely work for all and to see these services functioning as fully and as effectively as they arguably should.

Today’s MP’s and Political Parties may be hated by many for what are seen to be self-serving habits and actions. But the question may now be asked; have the Police Officers involved actually scored a spectacular own goal?

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