When did ello, ello, ello become Taser, Taser, Taser?

police

Fast Food Workers? No, modern British Police

A suspect is tasered three times by police before being punched? New York? No, the streets of Nottingham | Mail Online

There was fresh controversy over police methods last night after officers shot a man three times with a Taser gun and punched him repeatedly as he writhed on the ground.

The headline makes a good point, I did indeed believe this to be some US city, such incidents are in the papers on a regular basis (such as the recent tasing of a 72 year old woman), instead it turned out to be my home town.

I am not sure what shocked me more; that my local police have tasers or that those gentleman in navy T-Shirts and body warmers were police officers.

Only in America

It seems that the use of tasers has somewhat passed me by, I knew that some forces were trialling them, but in my naivety I thought that they would never be rolled out across the board and certainly rarely used, after all, this isn’t America. Criminals here rarely carry guns, or even knives, so the need for such a weapon is debatable.

The good old fashioned police truncheon

We have pepper spray (also from the US), expandable batons (again from the US) and now tasers? What are next, guns? I remember when the simple wooden truncheon was enough.

Back then the mere threat of getting brained by a police officer was enough for most people to do as they were told and submit. Those that didn’t were soon coshed into submission.

Sure, they were deadly but then police officers only used them when they had to and when they whipped them out, you knew that they meant business.

Lazy policing

Today police officers wear Batman style utility belts containing everything that they could possibly need – for a riot. This, in my view, has made them lazy. Why bother trying to calm a suspect down when a spray in the face with the pepper spray will incapacitate him? Or a quick blast on the taser?

Neither leave any lasting harm or marks so can be pretty much used with impunity, and apparently they are. It is so much easier for police to shoot first and ask questions later that many of them are doing precisely that, albeit without guns.

The man in the video was already on the ground, already subdued, he just wasn’t doing as he was told, and so he was punished, physically. If two police officers do not know how to cuff a prone man, then what good are they?

At one point there were six police officer holding the suspect down, now, unless he had the strength of ten men, this seems to me to be a tad bit of an overkill, particularly as he had been tasered a couple of times already. The man was rolling around on the floor, drunk by the looks of him, yet still a couple of the officers stood on him and punched him, just to be sure.

About 50 onlookers saw the whole thing and needless to say, whatever respect they still had for the police was washed away watching that performance.

Respect

This isn’t helped one bit by the ridiculous outfits that our police now wear. Once the police uniform was unmistakable, now all the police officers seem to think that they are part of a SWAT unit. I’m not even sure I can tell a traffic warden or even a park warden from a police officer anymore.

police2

Casual uniforms for casual police

We seem to have this problem with uniforms in Britain at present, as if uniforms are somehow bad and create a barrier between ordinary people and those that wear them (and tasers and batons don’t), they are all being slowly changed. Nurses no longer look like nurses, the police look like fast food workers and doctors no longer wear white coats; even soldiers are discouraged from wearing their uniforms.

Constable Marlow: Still patrolling in his original uniform

Uniforms command respect, they are an instant visual identity. Had I witnessed those two men in casual dress attacking a poor drunken man in the street, I would never have realised that they were police officers. They are not even smartly dressed. What happened to hats? To ties? White shirts?

There is nothing old fashioned about looking smart and the old uniform commanded respect, whilst projecting an image of honesty, integrity and trustworthiness, whether justified or not.

I am also sure that pulling on such a well regarded and esteemed uniform meant something to the officers too, and made them try to live up to it and be more cautious in their actions.

It certainly made an impression on Constable Marlow, who still patrols the streets in his home town in his old uniform. A casual modern uniform just nurtures a casual and lazy culture amongst our tin pot police. They are now more interested in just being obeyed than doing the right thing.

Such casual use of what is in effect a torture device (imagine if they used it whilst interviewing suspects, makes waterboarding seem light hearted by comparision), is most worrying. A police officer should never inflict pain on someone merely for non compliance.

Now it seems whilst walking around in crime ridden Nottingham, I am going to have to keep one eye on the ne’er do wells and another eye on the police, lest I get caught up in one of their urban pacifications.

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9 responses to “When did ello, ello, ello become Taser, Taser, Taser?

  1. You sir are an idiot the days of a bobbie walking about with only a wooden truncheon are long gone.Then you complain about the equipment that police have to carry, would you rather see them unable to perform there job because they don’t have the proper equipment. It’s people like you that complain about the police not doing there job while at the same time tying their hands behind their backs. And i think it is plain rude to accuse the police today of laziness. I would suggest that you take a step out of your gatted community and head down to the nearest town on a saturday night then you would see how hard they work. Oh and i especially liked the bit where you state that hardly anyone carries a knife you really must live in a cave but it gave me a laugh so i thank you.

    • Luke, do you always start your point off by insulting people? Do you think that accusing me of being dim witted makes your point seem more credible? It doesn’t.

      the days of a bobbie walking about with only a wooden truncheon are long gone

      Quite right, the days of Bobbies walking the beat are long gone, with or without a truncheon. Most ‘patrols’ are now carried out by vehicle.

      would you rather see them unable to perform there job because they don’t have the proper equipment.

      I’d just occasionally like to see them actually perform their job, rather than charge around like tooled up second rate nightclub bouncers.

      In what situation would a police officer need pepper spray or a taser? Police officers do not tackle gunmen, they have armed police for that, so that just leaves knives. Batons and even wooden truncheons are more than a match for a knife. But the fact is that police officers rarely come across gunmen or even knife-men, most of their arrests are of unarmed, passive people.

      The police are lazy, they have lost their people skills, their sense of community and more importantly their sense of impartiality. With their stab vests, re-tractable batons, pepper sprays, tasers and powers of stop and search, they go in hard and heavy rather than acting like real police. To me that is lazy. Not to mention the fact that getting into the police force is easier than ever, more worryingly, thousands of serving police officers have criminal records. What does that say about the upholders of the law?

      I would suggest that you take a step out of your gatted community and head down to the nearest town on a saturday night then you would see how hard they work

      I live in the city with the third highest crime rate in the country, I know precisely how hard they don’t work. They are apparently too busy to handle burglaries, too busy for silly things like vandalised cars and homes, anti-social behaviour and just about anything short of serious assault or murder. Yet if you walk into the town centre and start taking photographs, you’ll be mobbed by police officers within minutes.

      As for knife crime, about 250 people are stabbed to death each year, but just 11 police officers have been stabbed to death in the past 25 years. Yet police officers now wear stab vests, carry pepper spray, batons, tasers, all of which are illegal for any ordinary person to carry. If the police need all these weapons and armour to carry out their job, what does it say about how effective they have been?

      If they can’t keep the streets safe even for themselves, what use are they? Modern police officers are just good for meeting targets, tackling easy crimes and acting as enforcers for local councils and government. They are no longer capable of actual policing.

  2. Dear Charlie,
    I read with interest your views on modern day policing.
    Like most patriots you yearn for those bygone days where, like PC MARLOW the mere visible presence of authority was enough to pacify any wrong doing.
    Those days Im afraid are long gone. Along with penny chews and The Bay city rollers.
    Although I would be very surprised if PC MARLOW did actually patrol in that uniform, Im sure it would be in a quiet hamlet where everybody knows each others name,not a town.
    With regards to progress, officers have been issued batons and CS and stab vests due to the threat they face in modern day policing.
    Its not only knives, but EDGED weapons that cause significant injuries.
    Most ‘tools of the trade’ that criminals use for ‘protection’, breaking and entering, dealing drugs are edged weapons. And yes given the chance they DO use them on officers.
    Im afraid PC MARLOWS cape would only offer a cetain amount of protection.
    I do agree that a practical national uniform should be designed so that where ever you are in the country, Police officers look the same.
    You also mention about american ideas being introduced and officers being slave to targets.

    I agree. That can be said about all areas of private and public sector working though. The perverse drive to evidence every minute of the working day debilitate most areas of industry.
    Typically Britain adopts certain ideas from America but leaves out the best bits. eg Officers in the US arrest suspects and hand them over to case workers and investigators. Thus enabling a swift return to patrol duties.
    That is rare in GB. Police here are expected to patrol, arrest, investigate, file build, prosecute. Jack of all trades master…
    That said that is partly why the Police in the UK are amongst the most professional officers in the world.

    • Thanks for the comment Andy.

      With regards to progress, officers have been issued batons and CS and stab vests due to the threat they face in modern day policing.

      Yes, and that threat is us! Most of the time it seems that CS gas and tasers are used to make an arrest quicker and to ensure compliance, like when they used CS gas at a 10 year olds party recently, spraying her and her friends. No-one there was a threat, but they broke out the CS gas anyway.

      Besides, if the streets are so dangerous, isn’t that a sign that they are not doing their jobs properly? Moreover, shouldn’t we be equipped with something to protect ourselves?

      I agree about the paperwork, it is ridiculous and the claims that it is to ensure a successful conviction don’t hold water.

      I haven’t seen a beat bobby for a long, long time, except in cars, which means the police are no longer doing what they were created for, patrolling and preventing crime. If they had an excellent detection and conviction rate it may be different but 40% of crimes are never actually investigated!

      That said that is partly why the Police in the UK are amongst the most professional officers in the world.

      I used to agree with you, less so now. The six police officers tasering that drunken man because he couldn’t understand what they were asking of him, are my local bobbies. They don’t look professional to me.

  3. As a retired 30 year vet. of the police dept. in my town, I learned one very concise saying;
    “My job is to protect your ass, not kiss it”. Crude, yes. In my younger days, just to see one of our police officers did instill fear and respect. As the years went by, I found fear and loathing was there replacement.
    I do agree that Constable Marlow is a commanding figure in his very smart uniform, however in his history, I wonder how many times he wondered, is there a better way? I know I did.
    The world is a changed place. If it were a level playing field Charlie, I would be the first to agree with you. Sadly, somewhere during our lives, the world did change. There’s still the old saying, you don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.
    I wish you and yours well!
    Mike

    • Thanks for the comment. Agreed that people have lost their respect for the law today, but, and I suppose it is different in the US, is allowing the police to have guns, batons, pepper spray and tasers to deal with the public going to solve that?

      Particularly as the public are not allowed to carry anything themselves but have to deal with the same disrespectful scum on a daily basis.

  4. Great blog Charlie.
    Couldn’t agree more, the Police should wear proper uniforms, not all this tacky American rubbish.
    They should get rid of these pointless PCSO and put the bobby back on the beat.
    All they need is the traditional uniform, cuffs, radio, and a good old fashioned police truncheon.
    Its the bobby on the beat that makes the Police great, not cheap and tacky American gadgetry, and silly little American outfits!

  5. Hi Charlie. Imagine this if you will. I am substantially over six feet tall and 18 stone in weight. My partner is much smaller than me. We are the only cops working the area and backup is 20 minutes away. There are a gruop of 5 males, the smallest of whom is bigger than me. They decide to fight. What do you do?
    Try being in this situation week in week out for at least a year. Then you may be qualified to a) comment on the state of policing in the uk and b) be able to consider whether tasers are a good thing for police to have.

    It was Orwell who said, and I may be paraphrasing here, innocent people sleep soundly at night because of rough men prepared to do violence on their behalf.

    The incident above ended up with not only two of the males incapacitated by cs spray but also myself. Cs is a real pain like that. Totally indiscriminate. As is was out of the picture, one of the thugs turned on my partner, who when he tried to use his baton, the thug disarmed him and my colleague ended up in hospital. Ever tried to use a baton in close quarters? Not the safest of instruments for you or the suspect. Thankfully backup arrived just in time to stop the thug doing any serious damage if you don’t count 6 weeks in a cast.

    Would taser have made a difference here? You bet your arse.

    Yes sometimes mistakes are made, but the people I work with are professionals and I would trust every single one of them with my life. Yours too if you needed help.

    • Try being in this situation week in week out for at least a year. Then you may be qualified to a) comment on the state of policing in the uk and b) be able to consider whether tasers are a good thing for police to have.

      Are you in that situation week in, week out? I am.

      You see, I live in one of the most violent cities in Britain per percentage of the population, and every Friday and Saturday night when in town I am at some point in a similar situation. Except I don’t have ‘back-up’ 20minutes away or any time away, I do not have a taser, pepper spray, baton, body armour, stab vest or anything else as the possession of any of the above would be illegal. Yet I face the odds and situations, worse I don’t get paid £27,000+ for it.

      The police always seem to forget that the violence that they face, is the same everyday violence that everyone else faces, except without the training, weapons and back up.

      Last night there was yet more serious violence, fortunately I wasn’t involved as I stayed in, as weekends are becoming increasingly violent and I am not allowed to defend myself and have to rely on the police to defend me, except that the police apparently increasingly hang back for ‘back-up’.

      Having said that, the situation you describe would be a situation where taser usage WAS justified, except that incident that I am referring to in the article was one drunken, unarmed man against six police officers, and yet he was tasered three times! Totally unjustified.

      Now if the police can’t use these weapons appropriately, as many incidents have already arisen where they cannot in Britain, let alone those in the US, then they shouldn’t have them. This isn’t a war zone, it is the streets of Britain and I walk them every day unarmed, why can’t you?

      It was Orwell who said, and I may be paraphrasing here, innocent people sleep soundly at night because of rough men prepared to do violence on their behalf.

      True and I agree, except when those rough men start turning the violence on the innocents. Was the drunken man innocent? Probably not, but he still didn’t deserve that. Even more annoyingly the Police Complaints upheld the police actions on the night, yes, six onto one, three tasers and a couple of punches thrown in for good measure are now considered good community policing and completely justified!

      A soldier who hit a suspected Taliban bomber, whom they’d caught in the act, with a boot was thrown out of the army for it. Officers who beat/torture members of the public are condoned!

      You can see why the public has little faith in the police, particularly when the soldier earns half as much as the police officer, is far more likely to face danger and death, and has far more justification for violence.

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