Letter: Come on now, gents, you know that wasn't a fair cop

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The Independent Online
THE NECESSITY for an inquiry into the police service is not really in doubt. As a serving police officer (having moved from the teaching profession), I and my colleagues recognise the public disquiet caused by malpractice and abuse of authority.

An inquiry requires open debate, and your newspaper will, and should, play an important role in that debate. However, the opportunity for such informed discussion appears to be some distance away, given the blatantly anti-police tub-thumping of your leader ('Come on now, gents, time to move along', 5 July). It employs simplistic arguments designed only to 'prove' the inherent decay of the police service.

You do, indeed, admit that the methods quoted as showing 'value for money' are 'crude'. Criminologists appear to be agreed that the total number of police officers has no bearing on the rate of recorded crime, so why use it as an argument of police inefficiency? This is then contrasted with the success of teachers in that more pupils are passing exams: statistics, as you are well aware, can prove any argument, and I should like to see you produce a single teacher who would measure his or her 'success' in such terms, never mind being paid on such results.

The 'rude and insensitive' policing, of which you complain, undoubtedly exists, but you should recognise the obverse. I have to deal with numerous 'rude and insensitive' members of the public, and those who punch, kick, spit, bite, scratch, etc. Certainly, it's part of the job, and I accept that I am well paid: more than the average teacher, as you point out.

Both are difficult jobs, and I have experience of both; but ask my wife which causes her most worry as to my well-being and which causes most disruption to family life.

The police service is a 24-hour- a-day social service, and the vast majority of its officers attempt to uphold the ideals upon which it is constructed. Mistakes and abuses will inevitably occur, and I read your newspaper for constructive debate on how to rectify such ills. However, such debate is a two- way process; the rhetoric and propagandist tone of your leader adds nothing to it.

P Morgan