VIGILANTE JUSTICE OR FAILURE OF POLICE PRIORITIES? DO WE NEED LOCAL POLICE FORCES TO BE LOCAL?

Making headlines a couple of days ago a father and son law abiding citizens both received not inconsiderable jail sentences for beating senseless a persistent criminal who had taken part in a vicious premeditated burglary at their home where the family had been threatened with death. They had managed to disrupt the intentions of the evil gang of whom the beaten “victim” was a member and chased him down the street whereupon he was subjected to a sustained assault far in excess of that required to effect an arrest. In effect they took out on him all the terror that he himself had subjected them. In a similar fashion many German SS guards at concentration camps liberated by British and American troops in 1945 were shot out of hand by the liberators when the full scale of their activities was realised. Nobody mourns them and rightly so. But England in 2009 is not Poland or Germany in April 1945. And there was no excuse for the savage beating handed out by the father and son. But there was a reason.

As recently as two days ago Britain`s most senior policeman Sir Paul Stephenson Commissioner of the Met. Police echoed the words of the spokesman of the Association of Chief Police Officers a couple of weeks ago and referred to in a previous blog here that a fundamental re-structuring of police authorities ie a reduction…was needed to combat terrorism and cross border crime. But although the hand of the former is in the background of most drug related crimes the average law abiding citizen is much more concerned with criminal activity which could affect his or his family`s personal safety. Whether or not any particular area of criminality in any part of the country has increased or decreased or is tending to increase or decrease or whether the increasing trend is now decreasing or the decreasing trend is now increasing the perception is that danger lurks out there. This paranoid undercurrent has been encouraged by this government since 9/11 and is evident eg in the establishment of the Independant Safeguarding Authority to eradicate every paedeophile lurking under every child`s bed. Until the police establishment is geared to the role the citizen requires them to undertake the shadow of the vigilante will darken our society. If ACPO is so concerned with its priorities and make no mistake international crime and terrorism is a reality, then some form of local policing on the lines of the French, and not PCSOs in a different uniform, must be considered. Even a financially and occasionally intellectually bankrupt country like ours must not allow its population to believe that they must look after themselves on the streets because the state has given up on its prime purpose; to protect its citizens from threats both internal and external.

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