29 January 2007

Diversity Matters 1

Another day, another diversity matter. This time the tabloids round upon, for once, NOT a Muslim officer or PCSO, but a Jewish one! See? They can be fair and impartial too! Hurrah!

Reported in The Soaraway Current Bun (where else?) was an article describing how an Orthodox Jewish police recruit has been given Friday afternoons off as it's the Jewish Sabbath (if it's not deemed too damaging or demeaning to call them "recruits" these days - it's probably something soft and fluffy like "trainee officer", "student officer", "constable in training", "student", "person who happens to be learning policing and the law but no bloody discipline or anything that might be considered disciplined, uniform or militaristic" or something like that)(we are also not encouraged to call them "squibs", "bloody probationers" or "gobby probbies" either [Boo!]).

Some people have been disparaging about this but "Splendid!", say I!

The Anglican church is the official religion of the UK (like it or not) and observes many of the rites of the Roman Church. As such, these include Holy Days of Obligation and there are [excuse the pun] MASSES of them! Including most Sundays! Far be it for me to go against the precepts of the Vatican and the edifice of the Anglican Communion and NOT go to Church on Sundays now, even the Sundays I work, and of these there are many. I shall ensure I am shriven on Shrove Tuesday and receive the ashes on Ash Wednesday, all with a happy smile and jaunty step!

Of course nobody knows quite how orthodox this reportedly Orthodox Jew is - my Jewish friends, though at the time of writing this is unconfirmed, inform me that in Israel there is universal National Service for men and women, except the Orthodox community, and that this is due to issues such as the one above - there are too many rules of the Talmud and particularly around "Shabbat" that it would be impractical to have Hassidic and similar communities in the armed forces. They are therefore exempt. [here, I have to pause and consider my sources - word of mouth from people who are very "right-on" and as a result, have no support for anything they consider to be in any way fundamentalist - but these are my friends! I am open to correction and education on any points that are inaccurate or misleading]

There is not necessarily a parallel to the policing situation here, but there may be.

If one's faith - any faith - precludes one's ability to do a 24hours a day job like policing, is one in the right job? Can we be "of faith" and still police effectively and without being a burden to our colleagues?

Incidentally, looking up some references on-line to illustrate today's 'blog, I came upon some horrendously anti-Semitic sites, especially some US ones. This certainly highlights the need for diversity but surely, SURELY there is some common, central ground: not being fascists with minorities but not being unrealistically and impractically accommodating either? These questions and issues, I suspect, will run and run......

25 January 2007

Shake 'n' Bake

So, I haven't died, but been busy and was guesting on someone else's blog last week (Shilpa to win!) and raised my blogging head to YET ANOTHER story about Muslims, the police and an outraged tabloid press...
This has caused great mirth and merriment in the Bitseach Community Unit office; all of us have come with good reasons to justify not shaking the Commissioner's hand - Irish officers because he represents the fascist jackboot of oppression of the English government (Perfidious Albion, etc, etc) against the Irish peoples in the occupied 6 counties; gay women because he stands for the patriarchy of androcentric and heterocentric hegemony in the workplace; straight women because it might be seen as flirting and thus sexual harrassment in the workplace; straight white Englishmen because, er.... um, well, really they didn't actually come up with anything constructive actually, just bitched a lot about how they were now an oppressed minority in The Job these days and about how they'd have to pretend to be gay or bi- to get on in the MPS (Oppressed? MINORITY??? Let's just keep that particular can of worms firmly shut for now before I cry myself to dehydration and can't get to sleep tonight at their plight!!).
But I digress.
Setting aside the reasons FOR shaking his hand: she was in uniform and on duty at the time and therefore subject to lawful orders just like the rest of us; he is senior to her by about 30 years of service and for that alone deserves more respect; he is also senior to her by about 20 stages of career - passed Street Duties, confirmed as Constable, Sergeant, Inspector, Chief Inspector, Superintendent, Chief Superintendent, Commander, DAC, AC, Deputy Commissioner and he's Commissioner (okay I'll admit I had to look up the last few - I mean who knows the ranks above Chief Super anyway?) and therefore deserves more respect; because she's a bloody squib within the organisation and doesn't run it, as she seems to think she does (not only refusing to shake his hand but also refusing to be photographed with him as it was just be "propaganda") - note this is outrageous because she's a bloody probationer, and not to do with gender or religion ("Probationers! Know Your Place!").
No, here're the main reasons - because it is PHENOMENALLY disrespectful and GALACTICALLY rude in British culture(s) to refuse to shake hands with someone and cultural diversity and respect should not all be one-way.
But setting all that aside, she should not have shaken hands with Mr Blair - she should have bloody well saluted!
I have my opinions about Mr Blair, and not all of them complimentary, but he is still the Commissioner and I would not dream of being rude to him, and showing him this much disrespect.
I wonder what else her faith will preclude? How will she cope with being on foot patrol with one male officer (who is not her husband or family)? Or a gay officer? Can you really see her dealing, without issues, with a gay male or lesbian domestic dispute? A gay male rape victim? With strip-searching a prostitute*?
I really hope this new officer finds out a way of doing her job without prejudice, and without dumping anything even slightly unpleasant on her colleagues on the basis of her faith, or causing everyone, and especially her supervisors, to have to walk on eggshells around her. Unfortunately, I foresee vexatious tribunals ahead.... [sigh]...
* Let me just let you know now, prostitutes and female drug abusers, or at least the ones I have to search in custody, almost never wear pants and seem to be ALWAYS on their periods, haven't washed their jeans in weeks and are generally searched in a small airless room (best not to think about this too much) (more things they never include in the "Police. Could you?" poster campaigns!)

08 January 2007

Sod 'im

So bye-bye Saddam.

Bit of a shambolic ending, but I, despite being an opponent of state execution of anyone (even him), will not lose one femtosecond of sleep about his demise. As well as the grumbling about the method of his death, the allegations of it being a show-trial also abound.

Imagine though for one minute, if the prosecuting authority had been the CPS. Saddam was convicted on an exemplar charge relating to the murder of 148 Shias in Dujail, so I guess that's about 5,000 (conservative estimate) murders at Halabja lying on file, not counting the countless (I did say) other murders ordered by this brute. IMAGINE THE TICs! The detection rate would be fantastic! Okay the murder rate not so hot, but how the bean-counters love their TICs!!

Of course, if it really were the CPS doing Saddam's prosecution, it'd end up either being NFA'd or boshed down to an £80 PND for Section 5, Public Order Act [sigh].

Anyway, good riddance Saddam. It's been emotional.

CPS = Crown Prosecution Service a.k.a. Couldn't Prosecute Satan
TIC = [offences] Taken Into Consideration. Clear-up-tastic!
NFA = No Further Action - the CPS's favourite disposal option. Sometimes the "F" stands for something a bit fruitier.
PND = Penalty Notice for Disorder - the paperwork-saving fixed penalty notice for naughtiness, that isn't.
My views are my own and would probably not endear me to my dear employers.