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Samizdata quote of the day – understatement of the week

West Yorkshire Police must now justify the officers’ actions in terms of lawful arrest and proportional force. Failure to do so would significantly undermine public trust, especially among people with autism and other disabilities.

Robert Jessel

Unless there is far more to this story than meets the eye, if they cannot justify their actions, at the very least some Plod need to lose their jobs and ideally face prosecution.

34 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – understatement of the week

  • Steven R

    Do the police (and other agents of the Crown) have Judicial or Qualified Immunity like ours do on this side of The Pond? On this side, at best, the cops get away and face zero consequences and city’s insure company write a check to that kid’s family.

    There was a case I was reading about yesterday where the cops in Kenosha WI grabbed a baby out of a man’s arms, then beat on him a bit before they realized they got the wrong guy. He still got arrested for disorderly conduct, resisting, and obstructing an officer. Nothing will happen to the cops and he’ll get paid and that will be the end of that thanks to Qualified Immunity.

    And then the police wonder why they have lost almost all public support.


  • Nope. UK Police are considered civilians in uniform. They are given wider latitude in court cases over use of force, but have no immunity from prosecution, which is why they don’t go hobnail boots first into any fight.

    Their are exceptions to this such as the miners strike in 1984 when police were given far more latitude to deal with miners who were considered by Maggie Thatcher as “the enemy within” driven by a Soviet influenced Marxist agenda to bring down the government.

    Watching US cops on Youtube is a horrifically different experience for us in the UK. Even without the guns that sort of aggressive policing would not fly in the UK today.

  • Kirk

    The problem with US policing isn’t so much the violence and the qualified immunity, but the people they’re deploying it on.

    You rarely, if ever, see the cops going after someone who might fight back, who might be an equal foe. Note the utter lack of enforcement against the multitudinous illegalities in Seattle during the CHAZ/CHOP fiasco. Do you know that despite there being copious video evidence of illegal weapons transfers taking place in the open, not a single case has been opened or even investigated as of yet? The only firearms-related criminal case I can find (and, I have looked, even calling SPD and the King County Prosecutor’s Office…) is the one against the idiot kid that stole the carbine out of a burning police cruiser and tried selling it on eBay.

    Meanwhile, if you’re not a member of the “protected classes”? Better watch out, or you’re going to have your door broken down.

    The whole thing is devolving into farce, and a deadly one at that. I expect that when the worm turns, a lot of the current law enforcement force is going to wind up suffering consequences they never signed up for, and which are likely to be meted out against the wrong guys. It’ll still happen; you don’t do what they’ve been doing and expect positive results. The BLM crap was just the tip of the iceberg; the real deal will start when they finally succeed in alienating the majority demographic and BLM attitudes are everywhere you look. It won’t be pretty.

    You can only effectively police or govern with the willing assent of the body politic. The cops and the lawyers are steadily doing their best to convince everyone that they are not and cannot do their jobs, fulfill their social task and purpose. As that becomes clear, they’ll be replaced. Likely by some form of vigilantism, which will be even uglier, but there you go.

    That’s the inevitable outcome when you put delusional ideologues in charge of basic social functions.

  • John

    The allegedly insulted (since when was the word lesbian an insult?) officer does indeed have a haircut similar to that sported by the outspoken and high-profile, particularly with the current focus on the ladies World Cup, Megan Rapinoe. I strongly suspect the girl’s lesbian nana might have adopted a similar look.

    FFS there could be a thousand innocent reasons why this autistic girl, who by definition lacks social awareness, might have made her comment. The police were made fully aware of her condition yet, in the chilling words of the officer in the clip, “that doesn’t matter”.

    The assistant chief constables hasty press release (fewer weasel words and more exculpatory body-camera footage and audio next time please) seemed most concerned about protecting his officers from verbal abuse.

    Throughout Rapinoe’s lengthy career she never came close to the number of own goals scored by WYP.

  • James Strong

    Not just the 7 plod on the scene but the supervisor: Sergeant, Inspector or whatever, who decided to deploy them should be punished.
    And the Chief Constable should be on the carpet, standing, in the Police and Crime Commissoner’s office to explain his force’s policy.

    But, as others have said on this site for some years, the state is not your friend.

  • I’m autistic.

    The misunderstandings go both ways. It’s just that neurotypicals don’t encounter them very often, whereas autistics are perpetually locked within failed communications.

    I wish the officer would experience walking a mile in the girl’s shoes. That is far more cruel than suggesting the officer might be a lesbian.

  • Fortunately, psychologists are broadening the autism spectrum so quickly that it won’t be long before nobody is neurotypical. That way, people won’t be able to use autism as an excuse for failing to comply with the political correctness de jour.

    Wait, “fortunately” isn’t the right word…

  • Steven R

    I get there are times when the cops have to go hands on. The problem in the US is that is their first response since in urban areas they are little more than an occupying army and in rural areas they simply can with impunity. The job attracts some people who simply want to beat on other people. It simply doesn’t help that the courts made up Qualified Immunity out of thin air.

    we want police to be Matt Dillon, a fair man who tries to talk his way out of trouble, who doesn’t play favorites, and who only goes to fists or guns as a last resort. Unfortunately, far too often the cop that shows up is either Barney Fife or Billy Badass.

  • llamas

    James Strong wrote “but the supervisor: Sergeant, Inspector or whatever, who decided to deploy them should be punished.”

    Yes, but – consider Incentives. In the current climate of British policing, do you want to be the duty response sergeant who has to stand up at the inquiry in 9 months time and be asked ‘Now, sergeant, you had a report from one of your front-line officers of a homophobic hate crime, clearly committed in the presence of officers, and yet you did – nothing? This was a horrible, hateful offence, impacting the most marginalized and historically oppressed minorities in our society, and yet you told your officers to calm down, stop being such crybaby powderpuffs – is that right?’

    Sergeants can feel which way the wind blows, and they have families and pensions, too. A fish rots from the head down, and the determination to stop this sort of nonsense has to come from the Chief Constable downwards, not from the sergeants upwards.



  • John


    we would like to reassure people that we will take on board any lessons to be learned from this incident.

  • “Without pre-empting the outcome of the ongoing review of the circumstances by our Professional Standards Directorate, we would like to reassure people that we will take on board any lessons to be learned from this incident.

    “We do appreciate the understandable sensitivities around incidents involving young people and neurodiversity and we are genuinely committed to developing how we respond to these often very challenging situations.”

    New procedure:

    Arrest the camera holder and delete the footage of the outraged lesbian police officer losing her rag over “Contempt of Cop” offence before arresting everyone else for the hate crime.

  • Hugh

    Performance targets?
    I remember seeing seven of them take down a one-legged man in Leeds Market and I wondered, would each of the seven score a point for it?

  • Penseivat

    According to the Police, and at least one newspaper report, the Police were apparently contacted by the parents about this young lady being intoxicated, and was brought home by the Police. If this is so, then this severely autistic child, also, allegedly, suffering from scoliosis, was permitted by her parents to get drunk. What sort of parents are they? Admittedly, it appears the Police overreacted to that one comment, but shirley, the parents should have some responsibility over the events of the evening. The mother was heard shouting that her daughter didn’t like to be touched. How did she get in The Police car that took her home? Was this child, “who doesn’t like to be touched” helped into the Police car, or climbed in herself? What was her demeanour in the car? Was she grateful and friendly, or was she verbally abusive, leading to Police seeming to have little sympathy for her? The main role of The Police is the protection of life. Where a young, intoxicated, female is concerned, perhaps that number of Police officers was eventually required at the scene, not only to protect The child, but also to protect other Police officers against false allegations? The problem is, just like Ely, when only half of the story is told, then false allegations are made, and accepted by the media, and various numpties, without question or challenge. I do hope the Police body cam footage is made public, then we’ll all know the truth.

  • Paul Marks

    After 13 years in Office (“in Office but not in Power?”) the insane statutes and policies that these police officers base their actions on are still in place, they are all still in place – all the “Critical Theory” Frankfurt School of Marxism “Woke” stuff of the Equality Act of 2010 and all the rest of it.

    I am told that a follow councilor has been arrested for “Tweeting” (or “X ing”) supporting Councilor King Lawal’s right to Freedom of Speech – whether I am going to be arrested I do not know, I suppose I will find out when I return to England on Monday.

    The 80 year old mother of the councilor who was arrested, and held in the cells, is now in hospital – but that is “only one side of the story”, I would not like to make any “false allegations”.

  • Rob Fisher

    The clincher for me is: whatever the supposed context that we don’t know, there was no ongoing threat of violence from the arrested girl, as evidenced in the video we have all seen. Therefore a voluntary interview at a later date was an option, if there was indeed anything further to resolve.

  • Kirk

    Ed Driscoll over at Instapundit makes an interesting juxtaposition with this thread, by citing this Daily Mail piece:


    I’ll simply observe that when a social institution ceases to perform its function, it’s not too far off that said institution goes “buh-bye” as people route around it. There’s a vast reserve of civilization available in the British public, but as we see with the “soccer hooligans”, there’s also a lot of potential violence.

    There will be a tipping point, after which everything will be different. The various numpties in charge of UK “law enforcement” ought to keep an eye on things, because I fear that when the time comes, their Timisoara moment will include a lot of dead coppers and burnt-out police stations.

    You don’t do your job? Things will accrue from that fact. Inescapable fact… Ceaucescu was tolerated so long as the average Romanian thought he was benefiting them, and that he was unassailable. When he convinced enough of the public that he wasn’t either one, and they realized how many of their fellow Romanians felt the same way…? You can watch the denouement on video record, feel the sentiment of the crowd shift. Along with the secret police that were the only people shoring up the regime.

    Ceaucescu lasted only an eyeblink past that point in Timisoara. He and his wife were shot by their own secret police.

    Instructive, that: Ain’t nobody immune to the laws of cause and effect, and if you can’t work out likely effects from the causative changes you’re making? You just might want to hold off on doing those things.

  • GregWA

    When articles such as this do not end with an optimistic note, “…but there is a sliver of hope…”, I’m disappointed. I feel like I’ve only read half of what should be said.

    The author makes a strong argument but I am immediately trying to construct the “…but there is hope…” collection of facts, observations, and predictions. Not that I’m equipped to do that…I’m hoping someone here will do it!

    And surely this is the best quote from the article: “In the West, progressive managerialism softly strangled democracy to death over a century of manipulation, hollowed it out, and now wears its skin.” [and yes, I’m going to keep calling you “surely”]

  • GregWA

    sorry all, ignore my post of 12:28am…wrong thread!

  • pete

    It’s becoming increasingly hard to recruitt people to all sorts front line public sector work because of the stress, high workload, bureaucracy, monitoring, assessment and accountabilty to the public and to micromanaging bosses.

    Sackings and prosecution need to be used very sparingly or the situation will get even worse.

  • Kirk


    When the majority of the general public gets good and tired of this BS from their “police protection” agencies, there’s going to be a lot worse than “sackings and prosecution” happening.

    You either reform things now, or they will be reformed later on by brute force. You can’t keep pushing people without there being an eventual equal force coming back, and once you’ve lost the consent of the general public…? Buh-bye…

    I had this same conversation with guys I knew on the Seattle Police Department, years ago. I knew they had issues with genuine racists on the force, who selectively targeted minorities. The Democrat-run city was fine with that, so long as it kept a lid on things. All of the guys I knew pooh-poohed me, saying that the problem wasn’t serious, and that nothing would ever change.

    Then came George Floyd, and they were all thrown under the bus by the politicians that had been looking the other way for generations. I warned them that things would change, that one day they’d go into work with things the same as they always were, and then the next? It would all have changed, beyond recognition.

    And, it did.

    The critical mistake that men like Ceaucescu and those acquaintances of mine on the SPD make is that they think that things can’t change, that they’ll continue on as they have forever. Doesn’t work like that; it’s a thing of fits and starts, and if you don’t pay attention, the fits and starts will take you right off your feet.

    Right now, ain’t none of them paying attention. Which is something that all of us will pay for, in the end.

  • Bulldog Drummond

    Sackings and prosecution need to be used very sparingly or the situation will get even worse.

    Cool. Public sector is vastly too large.

  • Steven R

    I’m very concerned that a citizen can have his liberty ended over hurt feelings. The sergeant should tell the officer “grow a thicker skin” and tell the public when asked about it “so what? Cops hear worse than that on a daily basis. Should they just lock up everyone over hurt feelings or only when it’s an actual crime?”

    Part of the problem is the police just blindly go along with these stupid laws instead of telling politicians “no, we’re not just going to blindly follow orders. We have enough to do just dealing with the mala in se crimes as it is.”

  • Zerren Yeoville

    A question for the police:

    Given that the girl was reported to be autistic, then, on the ‘Woke Points’ scale, does ‘LGBTQEtcetera’ outscore ‘Neurodiversity’ and if so by how much?

  • bobby b

    “Part of the problem is the police just blindly go along with these stupid laws instead of telling politicians “no, we’re not just going to blindly follow orders.”

    I think I have to disagree with this one. I don’t want my police enforcing laws they like and ignoring laws they dislike, just as I don’t want prosecutors failing to prosecute crimes they personally think ought to be ignored.

    We make the rules, democratically, in the legislative process, and in my view everyone downstream of that step ought to be following them.** Disagreement ought to come at the legislative stage.

    Here at home, I’m watching Minneapolis fall apart due to rampant crime, but I can’t blame the police for it. They have their marching orders (sadly, consisting mostly of orders to stop marching.) I do blame the people who gave the police those orders.

    (** Or quitting, if their orders become morally untenable.)

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobbyb, as you know INAL, but it seems to me that this is part of the process. The voters elect the legislators, the legislators write the laws, the police find crimes, the DA prosecutes the crimes and the jury judges the prosecutor’s case. (And the appellate courts judge the process… but that is rather a separate thing.)

    But each stage is a filtering process. The voters decide broadly what laws they want, the legislators write specific laws, the police apply some interpretation as to whether the law applies in a specific case, the DA choses if it is just to prosecute, then the jury judges not just the facts but the justice of the law through both their judgement and their right to nullification.

    At each stage people can chose to not enforce the previous stage, in the name of justice, and that is often good. It isn’t adding laws capriciously, expanding the power of the state, it is taking away the unjust application of the law, shrinking the power of the state — holding them accountable. Juries and voters, which is to say the people at large, bookmark the system. In times gone past it was very good, I think. However, since the county has gone completely mad and entirely lost its moral compass, has lost the basic values that underlie the good, then it is all falling apart. A legal system does require a basically moral people to function. If you don’t have that you are left with roughly what we have.

    The problem, I think, is not really with the process, though there are lots of problems with the process, the problem is that the people have entirely lost their way. And there ain’t no fixin’ stupid.

    You see this perhaps most brightly with our forthcoming deja vue election in the US. Donald Trump once said he could murder someone in Times Square and they’d still vote for him, which is probably true. Same goes for Biden, he can accept millions of dollars of bribes from foreign governments and they’d be entirely uninterested and vote for him anyway.

  • Steven R

    I don’t want my police going along with blatantly on their face unconstitutional laws or violating citizens’ basic human rights and saying “not my problem, take it up with the judge” either. We saw how well that worked when the Nazis did it and how well it worked when Bull Connor did it and we’re seeing how well it works in the UK now. There is a point where the enforcer of the law should stand up and say, “no sir, I will not.” Policing used to be a million judgment calls a day before the policy manual demanded one size fits all policing where every outcome is preordained before our flatfoot even shows up. Every step of the process should be a check and balance on the law and the system. Instead police are simply bureaucrats with the authority to arrest and sometimes kill citizens at their discretion, but they can’t be trusted to say “that’s a stupid law and I’m not going to waste my time bothering with it”?

    It would be one thing if we had jury nullification in principle and fact as well as theory, but there isn’t a lawyer in a black robe that will allow it simply because it takes away from his power.

  • Ferox

    This reminds me of the baker who wouldn’t bake the gay cake … not in the particular details of the incident but in the way a certain set of the Right argues about it.

    Gay cake: But this baker has an authentic religious objection to homosexuality; therefore he shouldn’t be forced to make a cake that goes against his sincerely held religious principles.

    Autistic teen: This girl has a neurological disorder that prevents her from understanding the full social import of what she was saying; therefore she should be excused for saying something offensive to the police officer.

    In both cases, I believe these arguments miss the point. The baker’s sincere religious convictions should be utterly irrelevant to the question of whether or not he must bake a cake. He is free to refuse not because it violates his personal beliefs, but rather because he is not a slave.

    The girl is free to call the officer a lesbian if she wants, not because she is autistic but because she is not a slave – and the officer is not her master. Lèse-majesté is not supposed to be a crime in first-world countries anymore, right?

  • John

    A full weekend has now passed, more than enough time to go through 7 body cameras and release any exculpatory evidence to the public. The absence of any such release which might have stemmed the tide of negative public opinion will be presumed to mean that revealing the actual events i.e. the conduct of the officer(s) involved would be even more damaging.

    A quiet or even stern word to these individuals behind closed doors simply won’t suffice. Publicly announced suspensions, demotions (do underperforming cops still get put on traffic duty?) and dismissals are now needed irrespective of the consequent howls of protest from the unions. Will it happen? Will it hell. When was the last time any public servants, not just the police, actually held themselves accountable for their undeniable failures and misconducts?

  • bobby b

    Fraser Orr:

    “At each stage people can chose to not enforce the previous stage, in the name of justice, and that is often good.”

    I think that it is far more often bad.

    I’d love to see a system with loose rules which relied mostly upon the discretion and judgment of smart people who shared my own political philosophies. With me arresting people who I thought acted badly, and you judging their behavior from the bench on just that basis (“they acted badly?”), we’d have a just and orderly society.

    But it’s hardly ever going to be you and I holding those powers. It’s going to be people who enforce stupid rules harshly against people they dislike, and ignore serious bad acts done by their friends. That’s why we end up with sentencing guidelines and arrest rules and mandatory minimums and automatic appeals – because, historically, when we allow government employees and potentates to simply exercise their own discretion, things go to hell.

    I’d rather plan for those times when the city prosecutor is going to be a Soros plant, and make rules that he must follow when confronted with certain charges and situations. I’d rather tell our judges, up front, that someone convicted of Armed Robbery 2 must receive a sentence of X months. I’d rather that police know that they must arrest ALL people they catch doing certain things, and not just people they dislike.

    I want these things because I no longer trust government to exercise what I would consider to be good, fair, just judgment. And I no longer have that trust because government is now elected and hired by constituencies that have no interest in learning what works and what doesn’t work. MPAI.

  • Paul Marks

    Justice or Social Justice – take your pick, you can not have both because they are diametrically opposed.

    If (if) the police and the “justice” authorities embrace Social Justice they become the enemies of justice – it is that brutally simple.

    Either the law is about private property rights or it is about Social Justice – Social Justice being the enemy of private property and private liberty.

  • GregWA

    bobby b at 8:38am, “…MPAI”.

    I don’t think most are idiots from birth. Certainly a larger fraction are idiots than used to be because we now have an education system, in both families and schools, that encourages idiocy. But innately, I think most people (80%? +/-10?) are not idiots. That’s not to say that they could have been engineers or lawyers, but they have, or could have had with a proper education, common sense. I think your point, MPAI, stands; this is just a quibble.

  • llamas

    What Ferox said. As I watched the video (usual caveats), what struck me was the immediate recourse to an excuse – ‘but she’s autistic!’ – as though what the police were doing to her would have been just fine if she’d been just another citizen with no mitigating curcumstances. But the police shouldn’t be treating anyone this way, autistic be damned. There’s no ‘degrees’ of freedoms, where some people get a pass and others don’t – either you have the same freedom of speech for everyone, or you have no freedom of speech at all. As we see here.



  • Quentin

    Tell me, which senior officers have offered their resignations? Senior officers are paid in part for their level of responsibility. And sometimes that means resigning because of the actions of the subordinates for whom they are responsible.

    Are those crickets I hear?

  • Tim Hargadon

    So I guess the “L” word has to be added to George Carlin’s list of forbidden words. Come to think of it there are a lot more words that one can’t say now than there ever were. Forget the Autism angle. No word should get one arrested.