Richard McGinley: Why we'd be better off with Judge Judy than another Stephen House at Police Scotland

CommonSpace columnist Richard McGinley says the departure of Police Scotland chief Stephen House should prompt reflection on what people really want from a police force

SO Stephen House, the somewhat controversial high heid yin at Police Scotland, is to step down.

On the back of his force taking three days to respond to a car crash, an investigation into a man who died in custody, placing armed officers on street patrol and stopping to search anyone who happens to be under 40, it was inevitable he'd jump before he was pushed.

Apparently he's going to take up new challenges, presumably with the CIA, where you can play with guns until your heart's content. There might even be a place for him at Guantanamo Bay, where no-one really takes any notice if anyone dies on your watch.

On the back of his force taking three days to respond to a car crash, an investigation into a man who died in custody, placing armed officers on street patrol and stopping to search anyone who happens to be under 40, it was inevitable he'd jump before he was pushed.

Although I think they probably frown on waterboarding now, but only if it gets in the papers.

Harsh, perhaps, but ever since the rebranding of the word "police" from a noun to a verb, it was never going to end well.

You can't trust a man with a gun, whether he's working for the state or not. He might use it. If he really has no intention of using it he'd have left it at home.

Stopping and searching randomly in the street? They ask for ID, but they might as well scream "Your Papers! Where are your papers?".

This is what happens when you change word usage. Police Scotland. The police took that as an instruction, and not as a label. It never works.

War On Terror? You can't invade and occupy a feeling.

That was doomed from the start. That's why the US, the UK and anyone else daft enough to get involved in retribution is on the edge of bankruptcy. If Bin Laden wanted to bring down the West when he attacked the Twin Towers, then arguably he's on the way to success.

Money previously used for teachers, nurses and doctors is now spent on arms, equpiment and national security. If there's any left, it goes to bankers, so they will lend us more money we can't pay back.

I digress...

This is what happens when you change word usage. Police Scotland. The police took that as an instruction, and not as a label. It never works.

House will step down at the start of December. Now that his regime is over, it's time to look for a replacement. What we need is a move away from the current oppressive style, and a return to using common sense instead.

Carrying guns, batons, pepper spray and wearing body armour creates the wrong impression. It makes police officers unapproachable, it makes people want to run as far as possible from them. Avoiding stairs if possible.

We need a change in attitude from the very top. We need someone who has been around a bit, seen something of life, who knows when to put an arm around someone, and when to administer a short, sharp slap, figuratively speaking.

We need someone who will command instant respect, and can radiate calm authority. We better ring CBS and buy out Judge Judy's contract.

Assistance is what people want from the police. Assistance when required, and a feeling that they are on your side, that they will at least try to do what they can, because it's not always possible to catch the baddie.

We need a change in attitude from the very top. We need someone who has been around a bit, seen something of life, someone who will command instant respect, and can radiate calm authority. We better ring CBS and buy out Judge Judy's contract.

Imagine the humble constable going back to explain to Judge Judy why he hadn't performed to the best of his abilities...

She'd get results, but not the kind where they are juggled about into a league table to make it look like everyone's earning their wage.

Real results. Where the bad guy gets caught. Or better still, decides it's not worth being a bad guy.

So maybe we should all just vote for good old Judge Judy for chief of police.

Otherwise we'll end up with another Chief Wiggum, the dopey guy from the Simpsons.

Picture courtesy of YouTube

Comments

Christopher Reay's picture

Christopher Reay

Wed, 09/02/2015 - 11:23

i think the depth of it is, as with so so many things theses days, nt that he is proven wrong, but that the direction he took was to depersonilse by formalising resposibility away from individual officers. as a direction many people disagree. As a service, the Police Service is vastly more sensitive to this direction than others, due to the judgement required by a police man and ultimately an officer of the peace

Brian Powell

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 16:16

I would find it useful fi someone could explain what House really did wrong.
There are 17,300 police officers in Scotland, 270 were trained for firearms use.
If we are now expecting there never to be another tragedy such as the motorway deaths, is simply fooling themselves.
The criteria being applied will mean a revolving door for senior officers. In and out, because it applies to him then it applies to all senior officers, for all regional forces.

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