Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Drowning in Criticism, as Usual

Daily Mail: Police refused to save drowning teenager

A teenage boy, Jack Susianta, drowned in the River Lea last week, and the press responded with their usual lazy and predictable police criticism.

Let's remember that the Metropolitan Police always refers itself to the IPCC after incidents like this. So perhaps the newspapers might refrain from spitting their tedious bile until after the IPCC have clarified events?

Many papers stated that the Met allowed the boy to drown. However, It's already been established that an officer entered the water, which, as I explain below, isn't something we are required to do.

I can't help wondering why a seventeen year old boy would flee from the police if he didn't have anything to hide? We can't prevent a teenager's unpredictable behaviour, nor use telepathy to instantaneously teach him to swim.

The police is specifically NOT a rescue service. We receive First Aid training, but that's all. No firefighting, no swimming, no climbing skills.

Police are a microcosm of society, and so some cops can't even swim. We're instructed that, if a person is drowning, our procedure is to throw flotation devices to the person, if there are any, and a rope if possible. Standard police cars carry neither. The radio operators have normally called for the Marine Unit, and so the officers at the scene manage as best as they can.

We are however allowed to enter the water if we can argue that it would be reasonably safe to do so.

But this isn't a requirement. Water in and around London tends to be dangerous, containing submerged objects, cold and disease.

Every uniformed officer on the streets, by simply being there and doing her job, puts herself on offer for threats, violence and disease, every single day. This is in addition to the daily occasions of officers facing confrontation, or taking risks to help people.

Interestingly the 2014 round of training at Hendon included a session considering a drowning scenario. At my session, half the class agreed that, even if it was clearly pointless, or they weren't able to swim, officers would nevertheless enter the water simply to protect themselves from criticism.

This seems to be the nature of the blame society in which we live.

Senior cops' normal response to criticism is to feed us to the wolves. What interests me here, is that at long last a senior cop, Commander D'Orsi, has taken the trouble to stand up for her officers.

This is so rare. Normally we have Sir Bernard busy agreeing with journalists that his constables are all racist.