"If you want to read a blog to get a sense of what is going on in Hong Kong these days or a blog that would tell you what life was like living in colonial Hong Kong, this blog, WALTER'S BLOG, fits the bill." Hong Kong Blog Review
A trip back to Blighty affirms a view that something has gone astray with British policing. Once the gold standard, by which others measured themselves, their standing is damaged. Meanwhile, they are on a road of mind-boggling silliness. The police have lost direction, as political correctness and its bastard offspring "being offended" continue a relentless rise.
In the process, ordinary folk are confused, confounded and angry. But beware. Don't let that anger surface in public, otherwise, you'll risk the wrath of the ever-present thought-police. These days the police have taken it upon themselves to interfere in free speech. It’s a shame they can’t summon the same vigour to deal with real crime.
Don't believe me, consider this. Police responded to a call to investigate a "racist" dog that barked at a group of men. Then a father asserted a tennis umpire made line-calls against his daughter based on her race. Again, the police got involved.
Race is not the only thing cited. A lady took offence when compared on Facebook to the cartoon character Peter Griffin. She felt it appropriate to call the police, who accepted her report.
In 2015/16 the police dealt at our 11,000 so-called "hate" incidents. No wonder when you consider the classification of "hate": "hostility based on personal characteristics, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or if a person is transgender".
Such a broad definition is bound to catch out most of us. Be honest, we all make statements that may offend. These could get us in trouble, especially when "hostility" is a perceived act by self-appointed victims. Never-mind that this broad definition also infringes on free speech. Further, it plays into the hands of the "safe-space" crowd, who can’t handle contrary opinions.
Which leads us to Tory MP Antoinette Sandbach. The MP for Eddisbury can’t handle critical comments. When one constituent challenged Sandbach, she ran to the police.
Pensioner and churchwarden, Linda Bandhan, was unhappy with Sandbach's stance on Brexit. She had the audacity to email Sandbach asserting the MP is "untrustworthy" and "disloyal". A fair and rational opinion. Sandbach responded by blocking Ms Bandhan. Next, she reported the matter to the police. Fortunately, this blatant attempt to shut-down free-speech backfired. In a moment of sanity, the police declined to investigate.
In the process, Sandbach earned the ridicule she deserved. If Sandbach can’t handle such mild opinions, she’s in the wrong job. How is she going to stand up in a robust debate? This incident is proof of how far the PC culture has penetrated into society.
Meanwhile, Britain is experiencing an unprecedented level of real crime. Reported robberies, murders, burglaries and thefts continue to escalate. In urban centres, moped-muggers are riding around with impunity snatching valuables. In London alone, 22,000 reported cases occurred in the past year. The police are reluctant to give chase for fear the "culprits" get hurt in a pursuit. In other words, the safety of the culprits takes priority. In effect, the police have forfeited control of the situation.
And yet police spent time investigating a bus driver who allegedly gave a passenger a "racist" look. Officers also attended a report of a man standing too close to a lady. As a non-conforming-gender-specific lesbian, she felt intimidated by the man’s proximity. This incident occurred on a busy street. I’m not making this up.
In private, front-line police officers express their frustration. The same can’t be said for their hapless leaders. A National Police Chiefs Council spokesman upheld current practices as "defending the vulnerable". This somewhat sweeping statement ignores the victims of real crime.
With manpower stretched, tying-up officers to deal with wounded feelings is not viable. Ordinary coppers despair, while their office-bound bosses polish their credentials as social justice warriors.
Once again it appears the police hierarchy's motivation is fear of a "racist" or some other "ist" label. This same fear allowed police to ignore the rape of young girls by Asian gangs. It let the activities of nascent terrorists to go unchecked.
The same fear means they won’t investigate alleged crimes by travellers. Citing safety, they’d instead allow the victim to suffer rather than deal with the offence. Police twist health and safety to avoid taking action. In one instance Cambridgeshire Police displayed cowardice by declining to enter a travellers camp to recover a stolen caravan.
Past police failings led to campaigners labelling them as "institutionally racist". The long-term consequence of this branding is a reluctance to tackle criminal activities in minority groups. Hence the constraints on "stop & search" that led to carnage in the black community. Political and community leaders all bear a responsibility for this state of affairs. Although, I suspect they will spin their usual dishonest discourse to twist the truth.
In the meantime, while the police attend to these nonsensical cases, robberies and murders continue unabated. It’s about time a more rational approach prevailed. Police leaders need to step forward to assert they will no longer pander to the self-appointed victims. The police have no business controlling the narcissistic playgrounds of the weak-willed and the cowardly. It would be helpful if they reverted to the primary role of preventing and detecting crime, and by crime, I mean robbery, theft, murder and such.
Walter De Havilland was one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Royal Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Police Force. He's long retired.