I heard a story the other day from a friend’s father – let’s call him Peter. He was driving in his very ordinary Volvo estate to a friend’s dinner party in South West England when he was stopped by a policeman. The policeman claimed that he had stopped him because he had recognised the car as belonging to a friend of his. After a brief chat, the policeman asked whether Peter had been drinking and proceeded to breathalyse him. As the police can only stop a motorist when they reasonably believe that the driver has committed some kind of transgression, this would seem remarkably like a made up excuse.
The police might argue that they don’t need anyone’s support as they are charged by the State to carry out their duties, and no one is going to take that anyway from them, but it strikes me that if the police lose their integrity in order to boost their performance figures, they themselves will lose the support of the public. In effect, this will mean less respect from the public, less public help to solve crime and less support from Parliament when they want things, like more powers or larger pay increases – less Members of Parliament are going to support the police if they become unpopular.
Lets hope that this was a case of one off opportunism by a rogue policeman, but please let me know if you have any similar stories.