When police officers patrol the streets, their right to do so does not derive from the State – it derives from the right of all citizens to protect their selves, family and property. Just because we have permitted the police officers to perform these tasks on our behalf (as opposed to just their own individual behalf) does not, in any way, shape or form, abrogate both our right and our responsibility to also do so ourselves.
It is therefore with great sadness that I hear of incidents like ‘the Spiceman’, where a man who protected his family and property with a broom and tossed a handful of spices at his attacker was arrested by the police and charged with assault with a weapon and administering a noxious substance – while the original perp was not charged with anything.
While most commentators agree that it is ridiculous to suggest that the restaurateur did not have the right to protect his property, I would go further: he not only had that right, he had the obligation to do so. To do anything less would be an abdication of his civic responsibilities with respect to his fellow neighbours.
As for the actions of the police….don’t even get me started! They have no problem trampling over the civil liberties of people who have not broken any laws (kettlin, anyone? – trap them all and not worry about any silly civil liberties), but repeated calls regarding property damage are simply ignored. (Or how about the frivolous dismissal of death threats against Tarek Fatah as he lay in a hospital bed?) That is abdication of their duties by the police officers on two different counts: their professional duties as well as their basic citizenship duties.
And don’t even get me started on Caledonia!
Yet, we have been so trained to accept police officers’ dismissal of our complaints and concerns that we no longer question it.
I know that I no longer report minor theft or property damage to the police: like, when my car got broken into last week and my purse got stolen. (Luckily, my wallet was not in my purse – I like to keep a ‘packed’ back-up purse in my car as a ‘coping mechanism’ because I get forgetful and might need the stuff when I am out and about – but I would never leave my wallet/keys in an unattended car. My purse just contains necessities: a notepad/puzzles, 5-10 pens, some cyanoacrylate glue, change, mints/gum, a sewing kit, a couple of books, 1st aid kit – you know, necessities you should not leave home without.) Since the last time the car was broken into, the cops’ attitude was ‘what do you want us to do about it?’, I really did not see the point in the hassle: I would not benefit from reporting it and certainly no effective action would be taken if I did – so why waste the tax-money by reporting it?
While I don’t know how to fix this disconnect from, indifference to and, at times, open hostility towards the citizenry from our Police forces, it is important that we search for various ideas and examine their merit. It is in this spirit that I would like to show you the following video:
Obviously, not a perfect solution. But, it is thinking in the right direction….