A British commenter named “solid advice” posted some, well, solid advice for the EDL, and especially Kevin Carroll, on last night’s thread about the demo in Walthamstow:
“I,… of… do solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that I will well and truly serve the Queen in the office of constable, with fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality, upholding fundamental human rights…”
This above is an extract from the oath that all police officers in England and Wales (Scotland has a different one) must take when they become constables.
The reason why we have a constable system in England is precisely to circumvent the possibility of political policing.
The oath that constables take indicates that their primary loyalty is to the Queen, so that if they receive any orders from a superior that circumvent the contents of their solemn commitment, they are oath bound to ignore them. (Those who designed British policing were conscious of this danger and constructed things accordingly to prevent against it.)
This is one of the main reasons the public is supposed to give the police the respect they crave and have now lost.
The WPC in the video is entirely wrong. She thinks, like much of the police in the UK, that she gets to renege on one part of her oath (upholding fundamental rights — which comes first) in order to fulfil another (keeping the peace — which comes after).
But she doesn’t. She is supposed to uphold the former WHILST maintaining the latter. That is the job that she is paid to do by the public and which she has sworn to do. This task is not easy, but if she and her colleagues are not up to it they are in the wrong profession.
These police and their superiors are acting like the rights of the citizens are something that they possess. And that they get to remove and exchange, in order to achieve their objective of “maintaining public safety”. But the nasty truth is that they are taking the coward’s way out of using the excuse of “social cohesion” to disguise the fact that they are simply violating their oaths. Because they don’t have any government appointed performance targets for maintaining human rights!
There is an enormous danger at the heart of all this: if the English police constable’s oath, from which their authority is supposed to flow, is now being systematically flouted and ignored: why should citizens respect them and follow their instructions?
What is supposed to make the English policeman different, and not a paid thug in a uniform, is being fundamentally undermined by the politically-driven orders of senior officers. This will inevitably put rank and file officers in danger. Inevitably.
I write all this as background to the three following suggestions for the EDL, which will be of practical help in their awful predicament:
As many official complaints should be made to the appropriate authorities concerning the inadequate police response on Saturday, but they should primarily stress two things. First, the extent of the actual injuries suffered. Second, the above argument paraphrased.
This would deliver the point home in a way the police will understand but not in a threatening or intimidating way. However, the powers that be will definitely get the message.
(2) Hit “them” where it really hurts
The real people responsible for this debacle are the politically driven senior officers, but understanding the way these people operate offers a valuable method of really and effectively getting to them. These creatures are entirely target- and statistically-driven.
What must be engaged in is a mass campaign of EDL attendees at Walthamstow phoning the police to report their injuries or the indignities they suffered at the hands of the counter-group as actual crimes. Insist on receiving crime numbers — this is vital; (you can say it’s for insurance or demanded by work because you will go off due to stress etc.) If it as all possible to say that you believe that what you have suffered has been racially motivated, say so, repeatedly, and demand that this be logged as such. (They will try all they can to put you off — don’t let them!)
This may sound ineffectual, but it is an extraordinarily powerful tool within the hands of a mass movement like the EDL. This call, and the right numbers, can be sent out very easily on the EDL division’s Facebook and forum pages. What these senior police officers guard most jealously of all are their crime figures: it’s what their bonuses and ranks depend on. A whole flood of reported crimes in this way delivers a solid bloody nose to these people, and will seriously make them think again before letting an event pass off once more like Walthamstow.
(3) Circumvent the system
But perhaps most effective and practical of all would be an open letter, signed in the name of Kev Carroll (of British Freedom and Bedfordshire PPC) and Tommy (as head of the EDL, but nevertheless written by the skilled hand of Paul Weston… directed not at the government or the Metropolitan Police, but rather, to the police officer’s union The Police Federation. (Addressed to both its Chairman, Paul McKeever, and its Joint Central Committee)
This is a way of making an appeal directly to rank and file officers, and stressing that the EDL has no problem with them, in fact as a prospective PPC candidate Kev is moved by fears and genuine concern for the ordinary officer on the ground, and that the actions of their superiors in requiring them to actively renege on their oaths is dangerously sapping their authority amongst the one constituency that has always been the most robust supporters of the police.
It would be worthwhile stressing the extent to which the communities that the EDL represents fully came out in support of the police during 2011’s catastrophic riots and looting up and down Britain (a fact fully known to the police); and also mentioning that the Metropolitan Police’s own internal studies have concluded that the EDL is not extremist.
Kev can argue that there is enormous sympathy from the EDL for the police, as they both find themselves the victims of violence at demonstrations that they are both fully committed to ensuring are peaceful, and that this violence always comes from the same two sources. And that he considers it shameful that constables are not being permitted to carry out their jobs unencumbered by political demands from above that are requiring them to renege on their oaths.
But that nevertheless it is crucial for our democracy that officers honour their sworn commitment to protect the human rights of the public AND their safety, and that the Federation should stress to its members that the solemn oaths that they take do not state that doing so is an either/or. The police are supposed to be in the business of arresting law-breakers, not the law-abiding, that this is the job that the public pays them to do, and that he trusts that the Federation are also of this view.