[email protected]: Brian Paddick – Police leaders must regain control of their subordinates

Over at The Independent, former Lib Dem London mayoral candidate Brian Paddick, former Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Metroplitan Police, examines the force’s mounting problems. Here’s an excerpt:

Seeing the video of Ian Tomlinson being assaulted by a police officer during the G20 protests – an apparently innocent man being subjected to what appeared to be an unjustified assault by a police officer – provoked in me an immediate desire for the perpetrator to be suspended, tried and punished.

On the other hand, having been the victim of “trial by media” myself, I realised the need for an independent investigation, the outcome of which is not pre-judged. Similar conflicting feelings arose over the demise of Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick. …

What, if anything, do these incidents tell us about the state of British policing? The most obvious link is public confidence in the police service. The uniquely British concept of policing by consent, where the police rely on the active participation of the public relies on us having trust and confidence in our police officers. The police have a unique range of powers including the use of force and the power to arrest and detain (for up to 28 days in the case of those arrested on suspicion of terrorism this week) on the grounds of suspicion alone. We entrust these powers to the police on the basis of having confidence in police leaders, believing officers will use their powers appropriately and in the knowledge that if the powers are misused, that those responsible will be held to account. …

… the temptation for [current Met Commissioner] Sir Paul Stephenson is to go with the flow of the dominant male macho culture, but at the cost of failing to tame the minority of canteen cowboys who do so much damage to the reputation of the police service.

Changing organisational culture requires difficult decisions. My concern is not that the current Commissioner is not capable of such bravery, but that he does not have the strength in depth in his team, or the will, to carry through what are very necessary police reforms. He will need strong political backing if he is to succeed.

You can read Brian’s article in full HERE.

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