Police tactics and community relations under scrutiny | Letters


The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) says “Ultimately, no police tactic can ever be used with impunity in a country where we police by consent…” (Inquiry into Met driver for ramming moped suspect, 4 December). A pity that the IOPC and its predecessors have done so little to make this a reality with regard to deaths arising from the other tactics it mentions, such as restraints and guns. Ramming suspects on motorbikes is not an attempt to detain them for trial but to impose summary justice in the form of injury or death, depending on random factors of the collision and at the cost of putting bystanders at similar risk.

The Met prioritising high-profile use of force is its response to the constraints on its funding. It feels that it is politically preferable to fund very visible and vigorous reaction to crimes rather than the low-profile work of community policing that can nip things in the bud. In this they seem to be right, as London’s Police Authority, in the shape of mayor Sadiq Khan, has remained cynically silent on the civil liberties issues raised here. If we are to have policing by consent, our representatives must do more to express the limits we place on that consent. We also require our police to respect the road traffic laws concerning dangerous driving that apply to all drivers of emergency service vehicles.
Mary Pimm and Nik Wood
London

The Police Federation recently expressed concern that the public did not give support in a recent incident where officers were trying to apprehend a violent suspect. Apparently passers by just filmed the incident on their mobile phones. It would help if police were seen as members of the community they serve. Police on the beat are one way to build a bond with the community and to share information. This is just a distant memory in most communities. Now the proposal in London for more police to carry visible guns is only going to reinforce this perception of “them and us”.

READ  Cuba's new constitution paves way for same-sex marriage

We cannot perhaps go back to the days of Dixon of Dock Green (if they ever existed). But there are positive things that can be done to improve the situation without trying to emulate the US. Lots of guns haven’t solved any problems there, as far as I can see.
Robert Anderson
London

Cressida Dick is being disingenuous in “consulting” on the routine deployment of armed officers in London (Met police to press on with plans for armed patrols, 1 December). Certainly in Kilburn and Harlesden we already see the regular use of armed officers alongside plainclothes in carrying out stop and search on “targeted” youths.

One of Cressida Dick’s hallmarks appears to be her willingness to see the capital’s entire population through the prism of anti-terror policing such that we are all suspect and all require policing by force.
Nick Moss
London

As an active citizen, I hope I’d go to the aid of a police officer “getting a kicking”, as Commander Dick requests. Would she expect me to do the same if it was a member of the public, say a newspaper seller called Ian Tomlinson, who was being assaulted by a police officer?
Andrew Anderson
Edinburgh

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

Do you have a photo you’d like to share with Guardian readers? Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition



READ SOURCE