Calls to ‘Defund the Police’ in the UK are an affront to our officers – A Conservative Article
In the recent tragic stabbing in Reading, a police officer rugby tackled the attacker to the ground after seeing him flee the crime scene. Police officers make sacrifices every day, yet it barely makes the headline. I’ve noticed quite a few calls to ‘defund the police’ in the UK, these are extremely misguided.
A survey conducted in 2016 by the Police Federation, concluded that 39% of police officers had to seek help regarding their mental health issues. 5% of those surveyed were considering taking their own life. It’s a stressful and often underappreciated profession. The recent BLM protests left 27 police officers injured. An officer suffered from a collapsed lung, broken collarbone and shattered ribs, when knocked off her horse, in one of them.
American networks have removed ‘PAW Patrol’ and ‘Cops’ from their on-demand streaming services and this pays a great disservice to current, and future, police officers. It would make sense if people chose to defund the police in the US. The problem is that, based on the recent Ipsos Mori poll, 57% of those surveyed opposed the idea of doing so. Putting this forward to the public would most likely result in a fiasco.
Police officers, disheartened by the way they’re treated, will find nothing good in the future. Others, just needing to make ends meet, will replace them. This may impact their work ethic. If this idea is forming in British minds too, then I don’t think things will look hopeful.
When debating the issue of police brutality in the US, I often pain over the fact that these days it’s rare for people to be genuinely passionate about their work. Removing shows presenting police officers in good light may further contribute to a lack of interest in joining the force out of pure motivation.
When I was eight, I remember wanting to be a writer. Watching movies and TV shows about writers and journalists furthered my aspirations in that direction. Removing TV shows positively presenting police officers will result in applicants being less interested in pursuing this out of genuine aspiration. They will have no inspiring role models. LA Times article confirms that despite recruitment shortages, people still chose to pursue police enforcement careers due to shows such as ‘Cops’.
I’m fairly optimistic regarding the future but drastic actions, such as defunding the police, may not be the best option. We need reforms, more training and more mental health assistance for those who need it. We need to remember that from 2020, UK police officers should either hold a degree or to go through three years of degree apprenticeship, to join the ranks.
Is this going to be a change for the better? Potentially. But, based on options available for young people interested in joining law enforcement, the degree itself limited considering its practical element. Only when doing the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship can aspiring police officers get a feel of the real job and develop their practical skills. These requirements were only introduced in 2020.
Time will tell whether our police officers improve and continue to do their job with passion. But this won’t happen without showing police officers support. At the end of the day, our law enforcement was designed by Patrick Colquhoun, who provided theoretical support for police reforms. These are still valuable to this day. So maybe next time, when someone suggests defunding the UK’s police, maybe, just maybe, we could debate the issue with them. Keep in mind that our police officers are still human. The police also make sacrifices, and they should be appreciated for their work.
Written by Conservative Writer, Dinah Kolka
Point of Information
Police dogs don’t go to heaven, but All Cats Are Beautiful – Labour response
I want to congratulate my Conservative colleague here on writing such a brilliant article. This clearly must be an elaborate work of satire for her job application for The Onion. The comments about PAW Patrol are quite frankly hilarious; they also accidentally touch upon the important role of “copaganda” creating a mindset where police violence is normalised. These shows exist to paint police jobs as more dangerous than they are in reality and excuses recurring police violence. It is extremely uncommon for police to make arrests for serious crimes.
For other professions, such as medicine, members taking the life of a patient or promoting potentially deadly advice results in intense public scrutiny, disgrace and losing their job. The police, however, routinely brutalise and murder people. Often, they go unpunished. Over the last 50 years, the UK has only had one prosecution for a death in police custody. Just one! This is disgusting given that 3% of the population is black, but black people account for 8% of the 163 deaths in police custody over the last 10 years.
Police officers like to imagine they are the thin blue line protecting society against crime. That they are constantly under attack from all sides. They adopt the insignia of vigilante anti-heroes, such as the Punisher, and paint themselves as foot soldiers in the war against crime or drugs. Instead, they resemble the conservative caricature of the easily offended, left-wing “snowflake”.
They are more likely to be crying about having their fast food order delivered late, or lying about having the word “pig” written on a Starbucks cup. Not to mention the fact that they are known to collaborate, or be among the biggest supporters, of the far right. Border police also play an active hand in brutalising refugees and asylum seekers, either destroying their water as they cross the Arizona desert, or abusing refugees entering the EU.
Policing is actually one of the least dangerous professions out there. Fishermen and loggers are 10 times more likely to die on the job. Farming is also a far more lonely profession, putting agricultural workers at much higher risks of poor mental health and suicide than the police.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe, as Dinah argues, the police are brave and underappreciated. There are lots of good and brave police officers I’m sure. If we define bravery as working with murderers sipping coffee by your Desk. But there’s nothing brave about the fact that 40% of American Cops abuse their families, refuse to investigate or commit, acts of sexual violence while on duty.
I have coincidentally just finished writing a piece defending police abolition where I go into much greater detail about the real function of policing and show why they need our disdain, not pity, here so I won’t get too much into the details again. I’ll only share this brilliant interview about the subject that I didn’t include.
Written by Labour Writer, Jack Walton
Holding people to account is what democracy is all about – Liberal response
I firstly want to welcome Dinah to POI as a new Conservative writer. She certainly writes articles she feels passionate about. While I like her style, romanticising the police is dangerous.
Firstly, the anger towards the police is completely justified. We live in a democracy. When a part of the state fails to live up to its responsibility, it should be criticised. The American police force needs immediate criticism. But so does the UK police force. To say it isn’t required is concerning.
Dinah is advocating for a worrying love affair with the police. While they do some heroic things and keep us safe, they shouldn’t be exempt from criticism. Colquhoun’s most important rule when setting up the Thames Valley Police was a force for the people, not above. If they are equal to us, why do they carry guns? While we should respect them, it doesn’t mean placing them on a pedestal.
Mental health is an issue across the board as well. Introducing more funding for training, mental support and equality training is essential for the police. But, I’m not saying defending is the way. Mental health is a concern not exclusive to the police. For example, Vets are five times more likely to commit suicides than the average person. To use mental health as a scapegoat is wrong and ignores deeper issues within the system.
Written by Liberal Writer, Max Anderson
My name is Dinah Kolka and I am going into the first year of Journalism at Napier University in Edinburgh. Recently, I graduated from Edinburgh College with an HNC in Media and Communications. This ignited my interest in politics and journalism.
My beliefs in libertarian socialism were adopted gradually. Since a child I was immersed in the language of social justice and liberal politics from my membership of a progressive Jewish youth movement.
I am currently in my second year of reading Politics at the University of Exeter. My first interaction with politics was at the tender age of four years old.