Today I lift and paste, without apology, from Inspector Gadget’s most recent post. I do it because, having just returned from the UK his theme is very much on my mind, and because I really can’t improve on what he says. If nothing else, I hope it will encourage you to read his excellent blog. There’s a link to him on the Blogroll on this page. And here is his latest…
The youths from our local housing estate, The Swamp, have a horrid habit of snorting and then spitting on the pavement as they walk along. Quite often, this is right in front of a child in a pushchair or an elderly person as they slowly negotiate last night’s kebab litter and dog poo in Ruraltown High Street.
When this happens in front of a police officer, we simply watch and ‘walk on by’. The public don’t like this, they think we should ‘do something’ or maybe ‘have a word’. They days of ‘doing something’ and ‘having a word’ are long gone. Sold down the river on the Human Rights and Diversity rafts, paddled by legal aid funded lawyers and steered by the local Magistrates.
I was told this at a police Diversity Training session in 2010.
Spitting is a cultural issue. Young, jobless working-class men spit on the ground as a way of expressing frustration and powerlessness. It is also a way for young men from poor communities to mark territory, a kind of warning to other men in the street that they are present. For successful men, spitting on the ground is a way of demonstrating victory against the harsh realities of modern life, a challenge to others who may wish to rob them of their success.
It is judgemental for a police officer to challenge this behaviour. It shows an ethnocentric approach; why are the cultural norms of the young jobless community less acceptable than those of their more fortunate peers? To achieve the Public Confidence aspirations required by the National Policing Plan, police officers must begin to embed themselves in these cultures. This way, we can achieve our ultimate aim of policing our diverse communities with fairness and understanding.
There’s more, but you get the gist. I’m thinking of organising a one-way coach trip to Oblivion. Depending on numbers it should work out at about twenty quid a head, including on-board bar with a choice of strychnine or strong drink. Sign up if you’re interested.