Tag Archives: police

Opinion: “Victim-blaming” 101: why sexual assault is different to other crimes

Sussex Police has produced a campaign poster encouraging women to stick together on a night out to reduce their chances of sexual assault. There are so many ways this poster is stupid: it perpetuates the myth of stranger rape as the only “real rape” (an idea which helps acquaintance rapists get away with it over and over again), it ignores male victims of rape, and it suggests women should fear sexual assault more than they value their sexual liberty.

But there’s only one issue I want to address now. On Monday, Caron Lindsay called the poster “victim-blaming”: she was right, and it’s worth explaining why victim-blaming is so much more harmful in cases of sexual assault than other forms of crime.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 46 Comments

Why are police forces getting away with misogynistic, victim-blaming rape prevention campaigns?

I was horrified to hear this afternoon that Sussex Police are launching a campaign to encourage women to stay together to avoid the possibility of rape and sexual assault. This is what they tweeted last week:

So, now your friends come above the perpetrator of any crime when there’s blame to be handed out.

Looking a bit further afield, I found the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Be Smart campaign, which is even worse. Three quarters of the page is taken up with advice for women like:

Would you go alone into a stranger’s house at 11am in the morning? No? So why do it at 2am drunk? Arrange to meet new acquaintances when sober.

It’s the sort of victim blaming nonsense that is counter-productive. Going to someone’s house is not a crime. Raping somebody is against the law. If you had been raped, how likely would you be to report what had happened to you if you thought you might be judged and blamed for the crime that you had been subjected to? I thought we’d moved on from that. To add insult to injury, as an afterthought, there’s an “And for guys” bit at the bottom of the page, reminding them that “rape convictions last forever.” The effects of being rape are pretty much a life sentence, too, you know.

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Questioning newsagents about Charlie Hebdo sales – the police need to sort themselves out

The Guardian reports that police from several UK forces have questioned newsagents about sales of the Charlie Hebdo post-massacre issue. It’s a patchy phenomenum. Police in Wiltshire have apologised for doing it. There was a phone call from a Cheshire police person. And in Dyfed-Powys a newsagent reports being questioned for half an hour by police in her shop. A police spokesman there said:

Posted in News | Also tagged | 18 Comments

Shouldn’t Parliament Square be for protesters?

Parliament square by Paul WalterThe name Donnachadh McCarthy means something to those of us of a certain age. Donnachadh was once a Liberal Democrat and he was proper Awkward Squad. I spent many hours arguing with him on Cix, which was where all online Liberal Democrats hung out back in the day. Quite often I agreed with him and even when I didn’t, I realised that he was the sort of pain in the backside that every leader needs. Liberals have always been particularly bad at venerating their leaders. Willie Rennie described us, the day he became Scottish leader, as a party that doesn’t want to be led.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 30 Comments

Norman Baker: “The Lib Dems want to restore the public’s trust in the police”

Norman BakerToday’s London Evening Standard front page splashes on the news that the Lib Dems intend to tighten the laws on stop and search, and require some police officers to wear body cameras when they stop someone:

Armed police, riot squads and officers carrying out some stop-and-search in London would have to wear body cameras under Liberal Democrat proposals unveiled today.

The law and order reform, which will be in the party’s 2015 general election manifesto, will also require police to get a judge’s approval to carry out controversial Section 60 stop-and-searches. The existing law lets a senior officer authorise the stopping and searching of individuals in a certain area without suspicion of wrongdoing if he or she believes violence is about to erupt or that people are carrying weapons without good reason.

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Opinion: Police use of the TASER – what counts as ‘reasonable force’?

Holstered taserMost of us have an idea of what is, and should be, understood by the the term ‘reasonable force’ – presumably, that which a reasonable person would consider reasonable in the circumstances, and generally the lowest amount of force necessary to achieve the desired objective.

However, in the heat of the moment, what one may subjectively regard as reasonable in the circumstances may not be judged by others as acceptable after the event.

As a now ubiquitous piece of police equipment, the TASER is marketed and deployed as a ‘less-than-lethal’ weapon

photo by: Doctor_Q
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 24 Comments

Danny Alexander speaks out about use of police horses in Inverness

As a native of the peaceable Highland capital, I was quite shocked to see the words “police horses” and “Inverness” in the same sentence. Why on earth would there be any need to employ such an expensive resource, normally associated with serious trouble? It’s not as if they were even taken from a stable down the road. The animals were transported 200 miles from Ayrshire for a pre-Christmas show of police strength. They were even used to police the Inverness Caledonian Thistle game on the Saturday afternoon. I cannot imagine, as someone who goes to Caley games when I …

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The Labour party ‘Plebgate’ website they no longer want you to see

Here’s the key question Labour was asking a few months ago: Who do you trust? The Police or Andrew Mitchell?

labour plebgate pic

According to an official police report, Conservative Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell said to a police officer:

“Best you learn your f***ing place … you don’t run this f***ing government … you’re f***ing plebs.”

Andrew Mitchell is denying it. But he won’t admit what he said. And David Cameron is choosing to believe the word of a Tory MP over the word of a hard-working police officer.

But, strangely, when you visit

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The Independent View: What do we do when children are taught racism at home?

Racism is an uncomfortable and emotive subject to discuss. To its victims it is absolutely devastating and can affect entire communities. In Britain it is considered socially unacceptable but despite this, and the numerous laws designed to prevent discrimination, racism is still worryingly commonplace. I’ve witnessed it myself on duty more times than I can count; the culprits are usually adults, which is shocking and unpleasant enough, but for me, the truly worrying cases are those involving children.

Last month I spoke to an officer who specialises in groups with extremist views. He told me about a child living in the …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

The Independent View: In defence of the Police

Comedian David Mitchell wrote an article in The Guardian recently in which he was generally disparaging of the police read it here

After reading the article I said to my wife ‘David Mitchell really doesn’t like the police’ her response was ‘What do you expect? He’s a liberal. They don’t like the police generally’ Is this true? It seems, to a degree, that it is. The police represent authority, discipline and justice. They can appear as the antithesis of the most basic principles of Liberalism: Liberty, equality, freedom and civil rights but my argument is that without the police democracy …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged | 32 Comments

Nick Clegg warns against arming the Police after Manchester shootings

In the wake of the  murders of police officers Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes in Manchester yesterday, the issue of whether police should be armed is being raised by journalists.

The Scotsman reports Nick Clegg’s comments when asked about this today. He was quick to say that arming Police Officers was not the answer.

I don’t think this is the time to rush to instant judgments, this really is a time for mourning and support, of course, for the family and friends of the two women who have been killed.

We have a long tradition in this country, which is a great

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

The Independent View: FairCopUK – a new campaign for police honesty

FairCopUK is a new campaign for the UK police to be required to be honest when explaining what your rights are and what powers they have. I was inspired to set up the campaign by Richard Taylor’s suggestion that the police should not be allowed to lie or mislead without justification.

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