We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“England has 39 police forces, headed by 39 chief constables or commissioners. In the past 18 months, seven have been sacked for misconduct, suspended, placed under criminal or disciplinary investigation or forced to resign. That is not far off a fifth of the total. In the same period, at least eight deputy or assistant chief constables have also been placed under ongoing investigation, suspended or forced out for reasons of alleged misconduct. No fewer than 11 English police forces – just under 30 per cent – have had one or more of their top leaders under a cloud.”

- Andrew Gilligan

 

The Tories are re-learning the point that unionised organisations tend, over time, to pursue their self interest in ways that, unless subjected to the rule of law, will be destructive. This conduct is some way off from the ideal as set by Sir Robert Peel.

 

23 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • admin

    I suspect that the Samizdatistas will be most interested in the Peelian Principles, which are hawked about the constabulary every so often to give them a notion of their reason for existence and structure:

    - The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.

    - The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon the public approval of police actions.

    - Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observation of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.

    - The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.

    - Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.

    - Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning is found to be insufficient.

    - Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

    - Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions, and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.

    - The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it**

    These principles are not as known as they arguably should be. Except amongst coppers. Who seem to both love and loathe them.

    [**] later revision. see wikipedia.

  • RRS

    unionised organisations tend, over time, to pursue their self interest in ways that, unless subjected to the rule of law, will be destructive.

    Read,Rise and Decline of nations, Mancur Olson

    Interests will tend to aggregate and organize (regardless of unionisation, which is only one form).
    Civic Facilities are converted into “institutions,” which are then administered primarily for the interests of the members, rather than the original required functions that gave rise to the origins of the Facility. Welcome to Western Civ!

  • James Strong

    I am as cynical as most people about the standards of behaviour of ‘important’ people.
    But I am shocked at the figures Gilligan has come up with.

    They deserve to be published much more widely. But I guess they won’t be.

  • Perry Metzger

    In general, organizations will only respond to the interests of their putative customers if those customers have the ability to withdraw their support from the organization.

    A supermarket cannot afford to irritate or endanger its customers as it can lose almost all its business overnight in the case of bad publicity, but a state funded police force can never go bankrupt, and thus can never be expected to be naturally responsive to the public interest.

    Further, badly run businesses can and do vanish in the marketplace when they become irretrievably incompetent, leaving openings for better managed organizations to rise in their stead. If a business’s culture becomes malignant, the whole organization will die, killing the cancer with it. State funded organizations are rarely, if ever, disbanded, so cultural rot within them can never be extirpated, only perpetuated.

  • Paul Marks

    Unions have no place in public service.

    “You right wing hyper capitalist wingnut….”

    Actually the line about unions is from President Franklin Roosevelt.

    Unions were not allowed into the Federal government till the 1960s – nor into most State governments.

    They have proved to be terrible influence – working constantly to rip off taxpayers.

    And this is certainly not just an American thing.

  • Here is the thing that appalls me about the “Plebgate” affair. Apparently there has been a police conspiracy to commit perjury in order to remove a cabinet minister from office.

    If the police have the audacity to do this to senior elected officials of the government, imagine what they are likely to do to ordinary citizens – particularly those who do not have money, connections, or much ability to defend themselves. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the police are completely and totally rotten, which is not a nice conclusion to come to.

  • Pete

    Did we ever find out why Manchester’s Chief Constable went up Snowdon to die a few years ago?

  • A cowardly citizen

    At this rate the police might start shooting at random tube passengers in London and claiming they’re terrorists… oh wait!

  • Regional

    A lot of coppers would be in jail if they weren’t in the Rozzers.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    A friend, who is a police constable of some 20 years service, recently said to me
    “Clovis, the police are corrupt from top to bottom”. Now I admit that he is given to hyperbole, but I was taken aback by this remark and quizzed him about it. He confirmed that he meant it and that it would be, in his opinion, mainly about a less than strict regard for the absolute truth but that in many cases it would go significantly further than that.
    I remain somewhat depressed by this and see it largely as a case of “noble cause corruption”-which doesn’t help much.

  • Roue le Jour

    Here is the thing that appalls me about the “Plebgate” affair. Apparently there has been a police conspiracy to commit perjury in order to remove a cabinet minister from office.

    I see it as a conspiracy to bring down a member of the public who was insufficiently deferential to the police. So the police are bold enough to do this to cabinet ministers now? Well, all are equal before the law.

  • PeterT

    To be fair to the police, one of the basic problems as I see it is that they are asked to enforce laws that are unenforcable, political, or are not supported by the public. Drug and prostitution laws are the most obvious example of the first category. If the police were allowed to go back to their basic responsibilities of keeping violent crime off the streets then I think they would do their jobs better, have more respect, and enjoy their jobs more.

    On the other point, one of the best preservers of liberty would be a constitutional bar on those employed or receiving income from in any way (inc pensioners and private contractors) the government from voting.

  • Michael Jennings (London)

    Roue le Jour: It was that, certainly. The question is whether there was also a desire to bring a Tory down given the opportunity. The police are reputedly unhappy with Tory plans with respect to their working conditions. Certainly the “pleb” remarks do sound like a caricature of what the police might think an arrogant Tory might say.

    PeterT: Police spend a lot of their time dealing with things like domestic violence, too, and this must be absolutely ghastly a lot of the time. It’s undoubtedly a very hard job. But that doesn’t change the fact that given that they are given powers to use violence that the rest of us do not have, it remains necessary that they be held to higher standards of integrity than other citizens – not lower. This requires accountability, and this seems to have been lost.

  • one of the basic problems as I see it is that they are asked to enforce laws that are unenforcable, political, or are not supported by the public.

    That may well be the single most basic problem. And not just in the UK.

  • Vinegar Joe

    one of the basic problems as I see it is that they are asked to enforce laws that are unenforcable, political, or are not supported by the public.

    If they feel their job is so difficult, they can always change occupations. No one is holding a pistol to their heads and forcing them to be police.

  • Stephen Willmer

    My prediction: on current trends, give it 20 years and we’ll see the same thing with circuit judges. Already far too many of them quite contentedly act as arms of the executive, imagining that they are somehow expediting due process. We need only wait for that toxic mix of grade inflation, discontent, power-craziness and a belief in both indispensability and untouchability before we see a similar dissolution in the bench.

  • PeterT

    Vinegar Joe. Part of the problem is that the job is unattractive to qualified candidates. If the mission was attractive and had a reasonable chance of success then it would be a decent job attracting decent candidates. If a policeman had come to the same conclusions we have on this thread then we should consider him a keeper.

  • Paul Marks

    Stephen Wilmer.

    The increasing pressure on defendents to “make a deal” (confess to get a lesser punishement) is already incredibly corrupting (people who are INNOCENT are being pushed about).

    As are other changes in the way the law works – for example in fraud trials.

    The process (including the judges) appears to be less and less about getting to the truth – and more and more about ticking boxes.

  • willis

    “Vinegar Joe. Part of the problem is that the job is unattractive to qualified candidates. If the mission was attractive and had a reasonable chance of success then it would be a decent job attracting decent candidates.”

    PeterT, keep on deluding yourself. Keep on enlarging government, expanding its mission, pouring ever more money into it, searching for the holy grail of competent, honest, public servants. What you are getting now is only a sample of what is rapidly evolving into a totalling controlling government subjagating you to its ever expanding power.

  • FrancisChalk

    In a dictatorship the ruling class and their enforces are “above the law.” Even though many of the police chiefs are being investigated, the permanent and expanding socialism that is consuming all liberty and democracy in the UK will eventually make that country little different than the former USSR.

  • Sage

    To be fair to the police, one of the basic problems as I see it is that they are asked to enforce laws that are unenforcable, political, or are not supported by the public.

    I’d be far more sympathetic to this point if the police were not every eagerly and aggressively leftist, politically correct, and in all other ways a part of the problem. They simply are not a bunch of heroic stiffs reluctantly enforcing the political class’ will, against their better judgment, and with tortured conscience.

    Nobody is actually forcing the police to harass people for openly political reasons–they exercise tremendous discretion over whom they choose to bring up on charges, and whom they seek to haul in for violating “diversity” dogma, and what have you. They aren’t innocent, period, precisely because they are a creature of the Labor party, who protects their privileges in return for kickbacks in the form of “donations.” Enforcement of unpopular laws isn’t their problem, in the main. It’s refusal to enforce the popular ones.

  • Agoraphobic Plumber

    Unfortunate state of affairs for Britain…especially since there’s no second amendment over there. Here in the US, the second amendment provides a wonderful litmus test for who’s a scumbag and who’s not among the constabulary. If a sheriff or police chief (or even police *officers* for that matter) here is against concealed carry, you can damn near bet that they’ve got something nasty going on or something to hide. They don’t trust the people they’re “protecting”. Many police professionals here are enthusiastically in favor of citizens packing. They recognize that when seconds count they’re minutes away, and they actually want their people to be safe and have whatever help they can get as soon as possible, so as long as they can know who’s packing and who’s not, that the right people are packing, etc. they’re fine with it.

    Unfortunately, in many countries packing isn’t even an option for ordinary citizens. Pity there aren’t more like the Swiss….they ALL pack. What was their gun crime rate again…?

  • Runcie Balspune

    That’s some pretty hefty stones being thrown around Mr Gilligan’s own crystal palace of journalism there, I wonder what the percentage of newspaper proprietors/editors in trouble is nowadays?