In an ideal world the police would be impartial upholders of all fair and just laws; of course with the proviso that the legal system, based on logic and reason, can challenge unjust or outdated laws.
However many people who have experienced a burglary, a theft, injury by dangerous driving or been a victim of countless other crimes will have concluded that the police were too busy or disinterested or even incapable of helping. The usual reason given is that the police were too busy to cope. That is effectively an admission that cases are prioritised according to an agenda. But who lays down that agenda? Is it senior police officers or is it left to the conscience of the individual police officer? If anyone who knows would tell me, I would be interested to hear from you.
My concern is that whoever is setting the agenda is getting it wrong. Or else their good message is not getting across to police officers on patrol.
I am not just referring to the horrendous shooting of a young Brazilian or the thuggish beating up of an elderly newspaper vendor or the other alleged police crimes that sometimes attract the attention of the media. I am also referring to the steady erosion of humanity at the everyday level, ignored by the police or even carried out by them. For example I am referring to police car drivers on normal patrol pushing their car noses out into oncoming traffic of cars and bicycles, exceeding speed limits when they are not on emergency calls, ignoring dangerous driving, ignoring speeding traffic, but picking on cyclists.
What we need is for police force leaders to instil in the minds of individual policemen a vision for a fair and just community based upon the imperatives of One Planet Living as a basis for prioritising action against crime.
In this vision it goes without saying that there is no room for aggressive or greedy behaviour. However I am also suggesting that we need a positive vision. For example with regard to traffic, it should be recognised that driving a car fast is wrong and driving a car slowly remains unsustainable and highly likely to be viewed by future generations as very wrong too. It is a vision for a world in which taking public transport, walking or cycling is good and choosing to drive motor vehicles is not so good. It is a vision that recognises the vulnerability of pedestrians and cyclists (who embody One Planet Living). Every day these good people face risks of serious injury by ridiculously heavy, unsustainable, motorised metal boxes on wheels.
With such a police vision, a cyclist would not get fined for stopping one metre past a builders red traffic signal, which he does in order to make sure he is seen in front of that ridiculous motor car driver revving his engine. With such a police vision, a cyclist who hits a pedestrian, whatever the reason, is at least cautioned, depending upon the injury inflicted; or a car driver that hits a pedestrian or a cyclist, whatever the reason, at least loses their licence. Visionary policing is needed in a fair and just society if reasonable, thinking, good people are not to lose their faith in the ability of police to make a principled and sustainable contribution to society, rather than simply adding to the decay of a safe and equitable society.