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article imageOp-Ed: The new Met Police Commissioner — Substance, or style?

By Alexander Baron     Nov 25, 2011 in Crime
London - Bernard Hogan-Howe has been Commissioner for nearly three months. When he took up the post, he promised a fresh approach including a crackdown on crime. To date he has shown both ignorance of and contempt for the law as well as an eye for publicity.
The old style copper has gone forever. Bernard Hogan-Howe is an alumnus of both Oxford and Cambridge, a claim few career academics can make. That and his double-barrelled name might incline one to think that he has a degree of intelligence. Unfortunately, a double-barrelled name does not guarantee either intelligence or common sense, the well-meaning but gullible Verity Mackworth-Praed is living proof of that.
While there is no doubt that the new Commissioner means well, the same can be said of many people in positions of greater power who have helped pave the road to Hell.
There is no doubt either that he has a fine record; you can read about and listen to some of his achievements here. While his attitude towards gun crime is admirable, his attitude of zero tolerance to all so-called anti-social behaviour is debatable. Drag a man into court for dropping a cigarette packet in the street instead of asking him to pick it up, and next time he sees one of our brave boys in blue on the receiving end of a kicking, he will be less inclined to go to his assistance than smirk and look the other way.
Last month, the man with an MA in law defended the use of police spies (read agents provocateurs) in operations against protest groups including their testifying in court under false names, which begs the question: did his degree course include any references to perjury or hostile witnesses?
Earlier this week, he showed not only ignorance of but contempt for the law after Denzel Cassius Harvey was cleared on appeal of using “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby”. In other words, he had used the dreaded F word to a police officer, been convicted in the magistrates' court - a near certainty - but on appeal, a judge had ruled very sensibly that in this day and age if a police officer is likely to be harassed, alarmed or distressed by an epithet used by an inarticulate youth, he is probably not fit to carry a warrant card. In the wake of this successful appeal, Hogan-Howe announced that “there were still opportunities for that arrest to happen” if a member of the public is being abusive towards an officer.
“Quite often they are threatening in their behaviour. They are being aggressive or moving towards you, waving their arms about or making threats as well as using abusive language.”
Really? F**k you, pig!
Today, it was revealed that Denzil Cassius Harvey is currently behind bars for robbery. So? And that his successful appeal had cost the taxpayer £30,000. Whose fault is that? Some over-officious rozzer sought to punish a probably none too intelligent, agitated youth for an outburst of absolutely no consequence, and did so. £50 is not that great a sum, even to a police constable, but to the likes of Denzil Harvey it is. Without knowing all the circumstances, it is even possible that without that fine, he might not have committed the street robbery which has landed him serving time at Her Majesty's Pleasure, but while we can and should make allowance for the likes of him, who probably couldn't do better even if he knew better, the same cannot be said for Britain's most senior police official, who assures us that he and his charges will still find oportunities to arrest flustered individuals in spite of the appellant courts.
Yesterday, the fruits of the new Commissioner's war on crime were revealed in this video, which features Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Clearly, this is a public relations exercise, but stop and ask yourself a few questions. Was is necessary to take so many police on a dawn raid? Was a dawn raid necessary? Was it either necessary or desirable for them to smash in somebody's front door, and march in screaming at the tops of their voices? And couldn't most of these officers be deployed to more meaningful work including perhaps patrolling the streets at an hour when burglars and other unsavouries are known to be about?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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