Thursday, September 29, 2005

PCs not too PC...

I was at an event for Town & Parish Councillors last night, organised by the Police Authority. A number of senior Bobbies pontificated on concerns close to the audience's hearts, namely Anti-social behaviour, Neighbourhood Policing and Response times.

The subject of travellers inevitably came up. I was slightly stunned (and rather pleased) to hear a particularly robust explanation of a particular approach to policing based on intolerance of crime rather than the normal softly-softly wait for the court order approach. The senior officer described what sounded very much like borderline harassment through intense scrutiny of the travellers (who she deliberately referred to as "Gypsies" several times)- frequently visiting, checking for documents, tax discs, making them pick up fly tipping etc. and advising them that the farmer who owned the land had filled his muck spreader with pig excrement and was happy to take his tractor round the field. It seems it was successful, they upped and went.

When I say pleased, I don't mean that I was pleased the Police were harassing particular members of the public with a different lifestyle, more that I was pleased that the Officer didn't feel the need to use the woolly phrases of left liberal speak such as protected minorities, human rights, dignity and that really scummy one- appropriate behaviour. (i.e. what the speaker considers acceptable).

Unsurprisingly, a Councillor savaged the Officer verbally later on, saying she had Gypsy roots in her own family and it was an outrageous slur on an oppressed minority, at which point two or three others in the audience clapped vigourously in approval. However, there must have been another fifty of so in the room who remained indifferent to her outburst. The Officer pointed out that this was not general West Yorkshire Police policy for all Gypsies, many of whom do not cause trouble. That one particular encampment it seemed had been particularly anti-social...

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