"Not against the police, just. . ."
A post about Alfred Hitchcock, police rules and my co-editor's arrest by the constabulary.
In the Wall Street Journal, Daniel Henninger writes -
The left likes to say that conservatives hate government. The truth, and it holds for many people beyond conservatism, is closer to what Alfred Hitchcock said when he was accused of hating the police. "I'm not against the police," Hitchcock said, "I'm just afraid of them."
When Robert Peel established the first metropolitan police force in 1829, he laid out the ground rules for bobbies in response to the British people's enduring concern that the police might become oppressive.
Are these enlightened rules being buried today? You be the judge -
1. The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
2. The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.
3. Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.
4. The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.
5. Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.
6. Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient.
7. Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
8. Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
9. The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.
10. The police are under local, not national, control.
This is part of your Inheritance. Protect it.
My co-editor's illegal arrest
David's illegal arrest by the Winchester police grew out of his protest of the government's environmental desecration. A Conservative government had decided that a site of special scientific interest and an area of outstanding natural beauty should be bulldozed to make a large road.
This was despite the fact that private property owners had dedicated the area - of special scientific interest and beauty, as mentioned above - to a college for the eternal use and pleasure of untold generations. The government decided to raze a hill where animals and butterflies and men and women and children had roamed for thousands of years under southern England skies. Ignoring the protests of local people, who would, it's true, be able to drive more swiftly through their vanishing countryside, the government proceeded.
The protests proceeded as well, and David was arrested on the site - of special scientific interest and beauty. A policeman's helmet inexplicably parted company with his head while David was making a rugby maneuver of some dexterity and speed.
David was arrested, and held, but this was not the end of the story, which is perhaps too long to pursue here. He was released from his cell with the good help of his daughter, and he protested his arrest as unlawful, which indeed it was in a free country where the police are obliged to follow Peel's rules, and free speech and free movement are the highest law of the land.
Eventually a contrite police publicly apologized and delivered a cheque for several thousand pounds. Much of that money went to the group protesting the destruction of a site of special scientific interest and beauty. The remainder went to a good dinner.
Time to revisit Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest with Cary Grant.