Monday, July 13, 2020

POLICE are in the news again - I share a story of misuse of power - officialdom.

The Police - I am not one to disrespect the Police
but certain officers let down the fantastic rest by their behaviour.
The MP’s - likewise. Great honest humans again let down my such terrible behaviour and attitudes by the minority.
The Media - again - some, not all, behave in an obnoxious manner in the pursuit of getting a story.

For me - it is like being RACIST  if we treat every human
as bad as a result of a minority behaviour.

THIS, below, is about the experiences I have had whilst standing up for JUSTICE and young people being mistreated - back in the day.

One day I arrived at the Youth Club to be told that Kenny, one of the club members, had been looking for me whilst I had been out. 

He had come to the Club door “with tears in his eyes”, reported my colleague. 
He traced me eventually and blurted out what had happened.

 As a result of hearing his experience, 
I wrote this letter to the chief inspector at the local police station::

A group of young men, known to me, have approached me this afternoon complaining about police harassment at 3.40 pm today at the bus stop on the Barking Road near Bianchi’s café, London E16. 
PC [name deleted for privacy] and another officer are quoted as saying 
“We don’t want to see your faces on the street. 
We are going to be kind today – let you off this time, 
but if we see you again we’re going to nick you for anything – threatening behaviour – insulting behaviour!”

 I really believe that they are telling the truth, and they were genuinely upset about the incident.
Would you be good enough to respond to this letter? 
I would really appreciate your co-operation to enable us all to further better community development around here.

Pip Wilson 
Senior Youth Worker

Resulting from Kenny’s initiative and my letter, 
I had a visit from the Chief Inspector which resulted in very good follow-up. 
He had seen and spoken to the officer concerned whose explanation was that he’d been 
“too long on the DSU.” 

DSU is the Divisional Support Unit, which is the local minibus of officers now titled the ‘Instant Response Unit’; 
the kids call it ‘The Wally Wagon’. 
“He’s forgotten how to be an ordinary copper, in touch with the community”, the chief inspector said. 
This interaction seemed to be a very positive way of dealing with police harassment 
and directing teenagers towards less criminal activities.

I was sad to hear some little while later that the constable concerned had applied to, 
and was accepted for, the Special Patrol Group, which has developed an infamous name 
for behaviour that seemed to be opposed to positive community policing.

This case of harassment was not isolated. 
I have a whole file of incidents that were reported to me by our teenage boys, together with details of the names and numbers of the officers involved. 

For example:
1.     Police throwing stink bombs into cells when kids were being held awaiting charges.
2.     Police carrying water pistols in DSU vehicles and shooting at teenagers they passed in the street, or spraying them with water from squeezy bottles.
3.     Wearing comical or novelty masks in vehicles and in police stations, and playing practical jokes on prisoners in the cells.
4.     The wearing of little red flags in the caps of officers while on patrol, according to the number of time they have ‘nicked’ the three most scapegoated teenagers.
5.     Throwing cups of water over prisoners when stripped for forensic purposes.
6.     Physical blows to those arrested.
You may have difficulty in believing all this, but I know it to be true.

It appeared to me that the police were especially abusing young people by using drunk charges unjustly. 
A drunk charge was a minor offence and didn’t warrant legal aid, so the young person had to handle the court and his defence himself. 
You can imagine what a mess an inarticulate, nervous sixteen/seventeen-year-old would make of this. 
The police, however, trained in court procedures, had their patter ready and the teenager had no chance unrepresented.

Through the historic case of McKenzie (McKenzie vs. McKenzie 1970), 
I discovered a way to provide lay assistance to an unrepresented defendant. 
When a certain case in history creates a precedent it then becomes law – 
in the case of McKenzie 
“any person, whether he be professional or not, may attend as a friend of either party, may take notes, may quietly make suggestions and give advice.”

 It often happened that I, as a ‘McKenzie friend’, would stand in the dock with my notes, 
whispering ideas and questions to the youngster as he cross-examined a policeman. 
Usually the young men began nervously but with assistance, 
encouragement and the close proximity of a supportive friend, 
they always grew in confidence. 
It was in itself excellent social education and social skills training, 
but in my experience it never won a case. 
New methods had to be found to fight injustice.

I will post more about more issues & events SOON.

Justice - not just-us.

First published in my Book::
Gutter Feelings