John Halewood-Dodd column: Ways to address lack of confidence in police

John Halewood-Dodd.
John Halewood-Dodd.
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This week a senior member of the Government has argued that “Britain needs root-and-branch reform of policing culture”.

Former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis when commenting on the so-called ‘Plebgate’ affair described it as the latest example of decades of clumsy cover-ups.

To illustrate his point he referred to high-profile cases such as the Birmingham Six (where the original trial took place here at Lancaster Castle) and the Hillsborough tragedy, and concluded that, amongst other things, police officers should wear cameras and microphones to regain the public’s trust.

Five forces throughout the country are piloting the use of such technology, and I feel that this should be implemented nationally.

I understand that the police do an extremely difficult and demanding job, and I for one do not feel that I could do it, but that does not make them beyond reproach.

As such, their behaviour should be monitored.

If police officers are able to record all contact with members of the public then they would also be protecting themselves from false allegations being made, so it should lead to a win win situation.

That is of course presuming that the police act appropriately.

It used to be argued that there were a few bad apples within the police but I find myself agreeing with Mr Davis that there is now a lack of confidence in the police generally.

This in turn leads to the police becoming insular and a siege-like mentality develops amongst officers.

They will protect their own at all costs, and there is certainly a possibility that they could forget that they are a Police Service rather than a Police Force.

This is an issue that needs to be addressed before things deteriorate any further.