If "The Police Are The Public and The Public Are The Police" we could see a very different picture emerging in the very near future. We have already had Chief Constables from some Police Forces warning that the budget cuts being forced on them will mean the amount of Officers will sink to dangerous levels.
In order to ask what we want our Police to do I think we really need to ask ourselves two questions.
The first being - what are Police Officers?
The second being - how can certain sections of the Public help them more?
Through my dealings with some of the massed ranks of the Twittercops (there are always a few which give everybody else a bad name) I have learned that the best way to describe a Police Officer is as follows;
A hero disguised as a human who will go into situations I would run away from. They put their lives on the line every day. They take all sorts of abuse from all sorts of people and they still come out and rescue them if they are in trouble - often with little or no thanks. They are funny, kind, caring, compassionate, full of stories to tell and experiences they may wish they had never had. They belong to someone as their father, mother, brother, sister, wife, husband, son, or daughter. They will go above and beyond the call of duty if asked to. They are also used as a receptacle for blame when things don't turn out for the best. They find the missing, talk down the suicidal, comfort the distressed, arrest the bad guys and try to bring them to justice. They also do jobs which should really be done by other organisations (but have gradually been passed to the Police so long ago that I doubt the other organisations would know what to do if the Police stopped doing them).
Oh - and they have the Legal Power Of Arrest - in exchange for which they seem to have the worst working conditions in the UK. How many other employers would ask their staff to be on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year - with the possiblity of Rest Days being cancelled at short notice??? They uphold the Law but Employment Law doesn't seem to apply to them.
The Twittercops I am in contact with are also people I would consider as my friends.
Even though I have only met a couple of them I feel like I have met them all because they are so open.
What can other sections of the Public do??? (Apart from not committing crimes.)
Well, the Government should heed the various warnings which the Police have given (and are still giving) about the lack of resources and funding.
The people with the Statutory Powers to deal with people (Social Services, Mental Health Teams, etc) should go back to seeing the Police as a last resort instead of the first option when someone goes missing, etc. Yes, Yes, I know - the Social Service Departments and the Mental Health Teams are overstretched, under-resourced and understaffed as well - but that is no excuse.
What can we do???
We can show our appreciation for them by letting them get on with their job. Try talking to them as well - after all - they are just like you and me. The only difference is - they go where we daren't.
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