mla

Police officer political pursations

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Hello everybody,

I am a serving officer with the MPS albeit a new user to this forum. Being a Special Constable I tend to use an alternative site PoliceSpecials.com and my authenticated profile can be found here.

Currently I am undertaking an anonymous survey that I would be grateful if you could take a moment to complete, the details are below.

Many thanks,

Matt.

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Politics is everything, even though sometimes we suggest that as police officers that we transcend such matters taking a neutral perspective when enforcing the law.

But it would be naïve to suggest that we do not choose what laws we do and do not enforce by making discretionary decisions to 'write that ticket' or to dispose of an incident through 'words of advice'. These decisions will be partly based on core principles based on where you sit on the "political spectrum".

Whilst trying to avoid a discussion on what this spectrumlooks like, please can we use for the purposes of this poll a two dimensional,linear scale with anarchism on the very far left and fascism on the very farright. What I would like users to indicate is where they would sitalong this scale. I have deliberately included quite a few choices so that it accuratelyreflects the views of those participating.

Please only participate if you are a serving police officeror are currently in training to become one.

The survey can be found at the link below and I shall publish the full unedited results here on Monday the 26th of March 2012.

Thank you in advance for participating.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9ZSTFQG

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Welcome to the forum mla and an interesting way to start.

From time to time we get requests from people to complete surveys as part of some degree or other although, often, they are repetitive. I suspect that this may be because of the subject matter of the degree with a limited choice of ideas.

You don't mention whether, or not, this research is part of a recognised degree from an academic institution or just a matter of personal interest. Regardless of your motivation it is most unusual to include some, or all, of your hypotheses in the introduction to your research. I think it extremely likely that the data will be skewed before you even start if you conduct your research with such a prescriptive and pre-concieved introduction.

The object of independent and objective research is to find out what your participants think, not to tell them what they think and then ask them how strongly they think it. If this is part of a recognised course of work I suggest you go back to your ethics committe and tutors to redesign your survey.

The following is NOT acceptable;

Politics is everything, even though sometimes we suggest that as police officers that we transcend such matters taking a neutral perspective when enforcing the law.

Who says this? I think you'll find that there is a body of research that suggests that vast numbers of people are completely disengaged from politics. Where and when do police officers 'sometimes suggest' they transcend politics and what is a 'neutral perspective' in enforcing the law?

This is two hypotheses and some confusion as to the meaning of the word 'enforce';

But it would be naïve to suggest that we do not choose what laws we do and do not enforce by making discretionary decisions to 'write that ticket' or to dispose of an incident through 'words of advice'. These decisions will be partly based on core principles based on where you sit on the "political spectrum".

One can enforce the law by writing a ticket OR by way of words of advice, I agree that officers' have discretion but it is not about WHETHER to enforce but HOW to enforce, that is a completely different matter. The premise that these decisions are, in any way, based on the political views of the individual officer is just complete and utter tosh. I would be very keen to see the peer reviewed studies you have read that suggest that (i) all police officers have political views and (ii) police officers allow those views to influence how they perform their role.

I have taken the time to write this response in a spirit of welcoming your contribution to this forum and have chosen to assume that you are not trolling. That decision was based on a desire to encourage diverse views and new contributors to these pages and not because I am a Militant Trotskyist member of the Green Party!

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Dear 'Old 'n' Sweaty',

Firstly thank you for writing such a detailed response, one that has clearly taken time. It is appreciated.

Let me take your points in turn.

This is not part of a degree hence I have more freedom to express my views followed by asking the questions. I disagree with your analysis that this constitutes an "

hypotheses in the introduction to your research" and indeed that "

object of independent and objective research is to find out what your participants think" is what I am looking for here. The survey is clearly limited by the spectrum of choices I have given in the multiple choice questions - it forces users whom may not precisely fit into the options selected to pick the nearest pigeon-hole that suits, and the methodology is, for want of a better phrase, 'quick'n'dirty'! An alternative would be to utilise a recognised research methodology giving a much wider scope to obtain detailed answers, neither of which is the purpose of the survey.

So what is the purpose of the survey. Two things, (1) I was recently speaking with members of a bona fide political party who told me that "all police officers are right wing with rigid views", I disagreed but had no immediately available empirical data to cite and (2) I have started a Law Degree and 1.01 of this degree talks about the use of discretion in the application of the law, especially in the case of law enforcement and criminal justice personnel, including magistrates and judges who either decide or direct a jury.

So to answer your question "Who says this" - the answer is me.

Your point "The premise that these decisions are, in any way, based on the political views of the individual officer is just complete and utter tosh" I would also disagree with because how can a human possibly distinguish how decisions are being made in their own mind and somehow alludes to a concept whereby police officers are robotic in the application of the law with no wider consideration of society. This point also deals with yours that says "all police officers have political views", and yes they must do, it would be impossible not to!

I hope this gives some clarity to my purpose and welcome any and all further feedback.

Matt.

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Matt, whilst I now have a better understanding of the reasons for your post I still stand by everything I said, inasmuch as to answer your two points you would need empirical, peer reviewed, data. The way you have set out your survey would not get such data and any data you did obtain would be completely useless.

Dealing with your last point you seem insistent that all police officers have political views. Police officers are no different from the society they serve and you are, therefore, saying that ALL people have political views. I suppose I could take the next ten pages just trying to establish what a 'political view' is but I cannot fathom what makes you think this.

I don't see the point in going to all the trouble to create a survey when, by its very nature, it cannot give you anything usable at the end.

At the risk of sounding flippant, and I don't mean to be, your survey effectively says;

ALL girls like pink dresses, if you are a girl please indicate on this form what shade of pink you prefer

(i) very very very pink (ii) very very pink (iii) very pink (iv) pink (v) slightly pink (vi) a bit more pink than that etc. etc.

I suppose that would seem quite a rational survey if you took the view that ALL girls like pink dresses, but I think you'd happily agree that they don't. It is, however, no more absurd than saying that ALL people have political views.

I will have to leave my discourse on decision making in the forensic context for a later post as I have to pop out, but rest assured, human beings process decisions all the time and they are rarely, if at all, based on political views.

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Again, thank for you a detailed response.

I do accept that the resultant data will be somewhat anecdotal and indeed those taking the time to complete the survey 'must have some political persuasion' otherwise would not bother. So this is a bit "if you're a girl and like pink dresses pick from my selection'!

Thus far the results are interesting and I'd like to hear your thoughts upon the results being published.

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Mla, you are wasted as a Special. You should be at the Job Center.

I have never heard such a perverse statenment as Officers are right wing. We uiphold the law as set down in a democratic state, full stop.

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Zulu 22, you are most kind. Perhaps I'll drop in to the Job Centre and see what's available under the category 'law enforcement'...

This is an emotive point but publishing which political party members held this view would give the game away.

In reference to your statement "uphold[ing] the law as set down in a democratic state" is simply not true. You have discretionary powers as much as I do. S5POA being an example of when we choose what to, and what not to determine as behaviour etc, that is likely to cause a person of reasonable firmness to be alarmed or distressed ... Enforcing RTA offences is another where perfectly proper discretionary powers are used. So no, you upload the laws that you choose to!

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No you uphold the law, you have a discretion whether to arrest, summons, caution, or just advise. Some laws are bad laws because they are unenforceable. As for poliotical opinion we are not allowed to take part in politics, but that does not debar you from having an opinion. I have never heard any extreme views esposed yet. Firgive be but I fail to see the pint of your so called research. It would not be to voice the opinion of any majority.

I do feel you have a different agenda, myu view.

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Dear Zulu 22,

Thank you for a more civilised response this time. I have no particular axe to grind here, looking at the results thus far is proving to be quite interesting and whilst I fully accept it is not comprehensive it does give a straw-poll , 'quick and dirty' insight to those who have taken a moment to contribute. It is precisely what it looks like, an opinion followed by a question with structured answers.

Now your point "discretion whether to arrest, summons, caution, or just advise" is absolutely right and proper. Whilst this is clearly a short question with a ridiculously long answer, what influences those decisions? Politicians and political parties do operate and articulate their agenda along the division between left and right, and then along party lines. This is how the "democratic state" you mention above works.

Hence it is a perfectly legitimate question what you see yourself in this dimension.

Any further thoughts most very welcome.

Matt.

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I cannot see any Police Officer deciding his discretion on political grounds. More Police Office despise politicians of aqll colours, as people who cannot be trusted, similar to lawyers, and reporters..

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Dear Zulu 22,

Thank you for a more civilised response this time. I have no particular axe to grind here, looking at the results thus far is proving to be quite interesting and whilst I fully accept it is not comprehensive it does give a straw-poll , 'quick and dirty' insight to those who have taken a moment to contribute. It is precisely what it looks like, an opinion followed by a question with structured answers.

Now your point "discretion whether to arrest, summons, caution, or just advise" is absolutely right and proper. Whilst this is clearly a short question with a ridiculously long answer, what influences those decisions? Politicians and political parties do operate and articulate their agenda along the division between left and right, and then along party lines. This is how the "democratic state" you mention above works.

Hence it is a perfectly legitimate question what you see yourself in this dimension.

Any further thoughts most very welcome.

Matt.

I can tell you now it sure as hell isnt political agenda or left or right wing pursuasion.

Quite frankly if this is how you operate as an officer it raises concerns about your decision making.

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Having just read (and not completed) the survey, I cannot see the good in it at all and I would advise all our membership here NOT to complete it.

mla - You have posted a link to your 'authenticated profile' on the other site. I am not a member there and therefore am prohibited from viewing a member profile, so your link is worthless here, just as non-members here are not permitted to view our profiles. On top of that, proving you have a profile, just proves you have joined as a member. It does not verify who you are, what you do and even if you are a Special, a Journalist, or whatever.

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Folks,

I reply whilst on the move here (from a mobile phone).

Whilst I accept tr perception of being "a troll" with no history of membership within this forum, I object that my question is illegitimate nor worthy of your input.

The previous post poo pooed me as being questionable in my ability to do the job. I contest this on thr basis that I do precisely the same role, a response driver, same stuff in Londom that my regular colleagues face 50x as much I have had the privilege to work with and in.

Sufficed to say I ask a perfectly legitimate and sensible question: where do you sit on the established political spectrum that I have set out. Whilst it may be rudamentory, it matters. It matters to the public and to politicians.

Finally whilst you cannot view my 'profile', for which I apologise as I thought it would be public, please feel free to browse the exact same posting I have done on this site.

Finally x2 I ask members to disregard the advice above and to contribute to a legitimate question that has been asked, without prejudice, and one with a promise of oiblishi the results raw. My boss and colleagues who suggest "you're opening a can of worms here" are right, but my service in the police has not been one of one who simply tows the line.

Matt

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Putting aside the merits of the survey and its reason for being,surely it cant be right to say that cops,just like every human being,have no political views.

Thats not as in do you vote Tory,Labour,Monster Raving Loony Party or whatever,nothing as crude as that,but political awareness,in its widest sense,is ingrained in us all-its a small part of the complex set of values,thoughts,feelings,experiences,value judgements and actions that shape who we are-it doesnt make us left wing,or right wing,or any other "wing" but it means we have opinions and ideas and aspirations-even upholding the law as opposed to breaking it is a political choice

These are some random things I think,for example

I support our soldiers but disapprove of the war in Afghanistan.

In general,I have more sympathy in life for people who try and fail than not try at all.

I respect tolerance and hate prejudice

Im not convinced about the merits of buying Fair Trade food

I agree with personal freedoms but disagree with extended licensing hours

These are all values shaped by a political,(with a small p) awareness--do they influence my decision making ,well I think the honest answer is that they must do-otherwise,what shapes discretion,pragmatism and common sense? Without these things we have nothing to separate us from the apes,and it has to be that these things are what shapes us

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Fantastic reply, more of the above please.

Sorry about my tragic spelling by the way. It's my iPhone's fault. Promise :)

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