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Politics and the Police: Lessons from Plebgate

Posted
October 15, 2013,
by
Claire Montanaro
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Politics and the police make uneasy bedfellows, and the unravelling story of how a number of police officers, fiercely opposed to government policy on police funding and cuts, may have lied publicly in order to discredit the Chief Whip and the government itself, demonstrates the dangers of political bias in enforcing the law. It was an interesting reflection on society, at the time of Plebgate last year, that the media and opposition MPs as well as the police chose to believe the officers' version of events which took place at the gates of Downing Street rather than the word of a senior member of the Cabinet, who lost his job as a result of the furore. While it is encouraging that the integrity of the policemen generally and these in particular was assumed, it is a pity that another example of public disrespect for politicians was so blatantly demonstrated, but this time unfairly. Once again, illusion and reality changed places to create confusion in the name of transparency.  No-one thought, then, that officers of the law could twist the law for a subversive political agenda in what is proving to be a shocking way, if reports are true. Indeed, the Independent Police Complaints Commission's report  was damning in its assertion that officers probably misled the public deliberately about Andrew Mitchell's statements at a meeting with them in order to promote their own anti-government campaign. [caption id="attachment_2138" align="alignright" width="150"]Andrew_Mitchell Andrew Mitchell (Wikimedia)[/caption] There are certain jobs when it is important that there is absolute neutrality in carrying them out: people representing the law are good examples, and it applies to those who enforce the law too, and keep the peace. Everyone has private opinions, of course, but it is inappropriate for personal bias or political aspiration to be allowed to affect the way the job is done, or how people are treated, and certainly not if it leads to injustice. There is an arrogance in the policeman or policewoman, exemplars as well as enforcers, who believes they are above the law - and there have been too many examples of police lies intended to distort the law, recently. Just as many people dread admission to hospital now because of the reports of poor treatment in the NHS, so too there is the danger that the police will be seen as a force to be feared rather than a source of impartial community assistance. For some, they are the enemy already, and Plebgate, far removed as it is from the lives of most of us, could lead to wider uncertainty about the motivation and probity of those who keep us safe. It is so unfortunate that politics and the few police who are at the heart of Plebgate may undermine the good that is done, every moment, by so many policemen who are driven by the desire to serve to the best of their ability, at whatever cost - and the cost, as we know, can be great.   [byline]  ]]>

Claire Montanaro is a spiritual teacher, channel and blogger with special interest in esoteric philosophy and the world in transition. Loves nature and wildlife. Author of "Spiritual Wisdom”.

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