Monday, 5 March 2007

Shipton, Schollum and Rickards - the incorruptibles?

Those who rely on the incorruptibility of policemen in their arguments for more controls might like to give some thought to the character of Messrs Shipton, Schollum and Rickards.

Sue Bradford wants to give police discretionary power over parents with her 'don't-worry-the-police-won't-prosecute' anti-smacking bill. Advocates for the War on Drugs dismiss the idea that police will be corrupted by prosecution of prohibition.

Both parties might like to thinks about Messrs Shipton, Schollum and Rickards when they make their claims.

These were young men at the time of the acts recounted and admitted to in recent trials, whose jobs and uniforms gave them power over the young, the weak and those who were easily intimidated -- and like man young men in such a situation, they were tempted by it. Whatever these three were like when they entered that environment, they were worse once they had. In Schollum and Shipton were two men who seemed to recognise no other power but their own -- the young, the weak and the easily intimidated they saw as their oyster. In Rickards was a man who went undercover in the war on drugs, and like so many like him who did so, he 'went native' (he is not the only one; former head of Scotland Yard's drug squad Eddie Ellison used to point out that no policemen in his drug squad could remain uncorrupted for longer than two years, such is the environment of prohibition).

These were young men who saw themselves above the law they had sworn to uphold; rather than serving the law, they apparently saw the law as serving their pleasure. These are the sort of young men to whom Sue wants to give more discretionary power.

Do you really want to give young men in the police force the temptation of even more discretionary power? Don't you really think it's odd that Sue Bradford does?


  1. Michael Laws has expressed a different view here regarding the recent trial of Mr. Rickards. The only other person I know who agrees with Mr. Laws is Willie Jackson.

  2. That's disingenious. Discretionary enforcement of the law is not exactly unheard of - the 'assault' by a pub bouncer removing a roudy patron, for example - and is a normal facet of law enforcement. Likewise the judiciary maintains the power to interpret the law as it sees fit. Frankly, if the police and the judiciary feel a case is serious enough to invoke the proposed law then I hesitate to say it isn't deserved.

  3. Hamish: 'Frankly, if the police and the judiciary feel a case is serious enough to invoke the proposed law then I hesitate to say it isn't deserved'.

    Arthur Thomas & the Berrymans might have a problem with that rationale.


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