Opinion: We need police, they also need us

8X12 with phone

Richard Musaazi,

A professional policeman or woman is the one who respects the ethics of their policing profession.

They are those who when the occasion obliges them, do exercise their discretion in a mannered and most responsible way, giving no room to question their integrity.

Police officers are the custodians of the law in any civilized democratic societies.

When they become law unto themselves, erratically breaching the very laws they are employed to sanctimoniously uphold, then the safety of the society is compromised. Once they do that, it means they have failed.

It is wrong for police officers to resemble in appearance, weaponry, and tactics.

Watching the news recently I was astonished and appalled, in footage a police officer was pointing a rifle at the crowd; this should not be happening.

There is a time and a place for military – style tactics, carried out by police officers who do, in fact, look more like soldiers than police officers.

Think of dangerous suspects who’ve taken hostages and barricaded themselves. Think of suspects that are armed. Think of Terrorists.

But it is the “routinization” of police militarism that ought to concern some of us who love the profession. I realize just how difficult the task will be for police to regain confidence from the public.

Every organisation has its bad apples; the bad apples are those who normally create most of the bad publicity. It happens everywhere, even in the developed countries.

Unfortunately, the negative news is highlighted by the media more often by the accomplishments of the good officers.

A typical example is that anytime a police officer lost his or her life, little or nothing is said about him or her.

Our police service has share of the bad publicity lately, there is hardly a day without a headline about a police officer beating a civilian!

My question is, why do we have too many complaints against our men and women in the police service?

Do we still care about community policing? Doe’s the police still believe that community policing is a demonstrable commitment to a problem-solving partnership between police and the people it serves?

I wonder whether anyone in the police leadership has any sleepless night over the negative image the public has for the police.

For a start, the police administration needs to repackage itself vigorously, to fit into the positive expectations of the public.

Unfortunately, much of the good work the service men and women are doing each day is never highlighted and that is a cause for a concern.

Proper training protects everyone. When police officers are properly trained, the chance of injury to them and their suspects can be greatly reduced.

Fear for their own safety from a lack of training can cause overreaction that could be very costly to the nation and the public.

In law enforcement profession there is no situation that is totally safe, but there are situations that can get out of hand because the officer is insecure with his or her ability to control them.

So to win the game, every police officer needs regular training for the police to live up to the public’s expectations

The civilian population must also realize the police are there for their own benefit also a police officer has the power to arrest you for any offence, however minor, but they must have a reasonable grounds for suspecting that you have committed or are about to commit an offence and it is ‘necessary’ to arrest you.

Your arresting officer will say something like, ‘I’m arresting you for (or, ‘on suspicion of’)  ……

You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you fail to mention when questioned something which you intend to rely on in court.

Anything you may say may be given in evidence. This is called the caution.

You do not have to say anything in reply to it, but anything you do say should be noted down and will later be read out in court, you may be asked to read and sign the arresting officer’s notes, but you are under No obligation to do that either.

They may take your photograph and also search at this point for anything which may be evidence of an offence.

Through your time with the police they will ask you questions, and however innocuous sounding these questions might be, they are all part of evidence gathering.

There is No such a thing as a friendly chat, so be careful what you say, or better still say No comment.

Under no circumstances should anyone attack a police station, or a police officer.

We need the police, and they also need us for a peaceful society.

Richard Musaazi, the writer is a professional crime investigator based in United Kingdom

Follow Richard Musaazi on twitter @musaazi22

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