I was out on foot patrol in the town recently in company with a young PC. It was about 2.30 a.m. and we were standing minding our own business near one of the towns nightclubs. Club patrons often congregate here and it is not uncommon for arguments and fights to break out between those who have had too much to drink. A police presence usually provides a deterrent to this sort of behaviour.
As people walk past us I give some cheery 'Good Nights' and hope they all find a taxi and go home quietly. Two lads walk by and I bid them a good night. One says "It's the filth. I don't like you lot." The PC with me suggests he has a word with him. No, I say, just ignore him and hopefully he will go home. The two lads stop about 20 yards down the road. A minute later the one who spoke earlier comes back. He says. "Why are you hanging around here? Instead of picking on innocent people you should be catching murderers and rapists." Most police officers have heard this a dozen times. I politely tell him why we are there and wish him good night." He doesn't go. "I don't like you lot. In fact I hate pigs. You're all a bunch of arseholes." No one else has heard this comment and, of course, I am not at all offended by it as Justice Bean has decided such language should not offend me.
The lad has had a good drink and I could arrest him for being drunk and disorderly but I really just want him to go home, so I say. "Fair enough, we're all entitled to our opinion. Good night." We walk away towards the club hoping he will just go home. The lad follows us. "Yeah, go on. Fuck off! Fuck off and do something useful. Bunch of fucking arseholes." Now, I don't care what Justice Bean says, if you tell me to fuck off you are going to be arrested. I turn around and walk back to the lad. I arrest him for being drunk and disorderly. As soon as I take hold of him he resists. He tries to pull away, thrashes his arms around, then says he is going to knock me out. There is a torrent of abuse and threats while I subdue him. His friend decides he is going to intervene and the PC with me has to keep him away while I end up with the drunk lad on the floor.
He is eventually handcuffed and I await a vehicle to take him to the police station. He is continually being abusive and threatening. His friend is still hanging around nearby. A police car arrives and the arrested lad doesn't want to get in it so we have another scuffle and a little pain compliance until he gets in. I can then hear air escaping. His idiot friend is round the back of the police car letting one of the tyres down. He gets arrested too.
I wrote an article several months ago about working with probation officers and how they generally accepted that many public order incidents are caused by the police. This has become so commonplace that I believe magistrates almost accept there must be some truth in this. The penalties certainly reflect this.
The idiot who let the tyre down sobered up and was given a Fixed Penalty to pay. The idiot who got arrested in the first place has a history of violence and public order offences. He has eleven previous convictions. He was charged with being Drunk and Disorderly and Resisting Arrest. He pleaded guilty at Magistrates Court. In mitigation his solicitor stated on his behalf that the arresting officer had been rude to him and the cause of his poor behaviour. He was fined £50 with £30 costs.
I have little confidence that this penalty will deter this man from any similar behaviour in the future. So this man will become another crime statistic and it is the police, not the rest of the failing justice system, that will take the blame for not reducing crime.
The opinions and views expressed here are mine, and mine alone. They do not necessarily reflect the policies and views of the Utopian Police Force nor the City of Utopia.
The stories I tell here are all true but my purpose is not technical accuracy. My purpose is to illustrate the nature of policing in an educational and entertaining way.
I have tried to respect the privacy of the citizens of the city and to relate specific facts without identifying individuals. I believe I succeed in this but if you do recognize yourself and believe others will too, please contact me and I shall rectify it.