Matt Baggott and post bureaucratic policing…

Interesting speech by Matt Baggott at the BIPA here in Cavan (I’m tweeting mostly). It becomes clear why he got the job. He basically argued that the emphasis has got be put on getting convictions more quickily. He also noted that some of the comprehensive checks and balances put in place to ensure fairness and accountability are actually coming between the police and getting things done. He noted at one point that:

Where ever I shine a spotlight I see bureaucracy. 44,000 files sent on to criminal justice system. We must ask how we are spending our time and resource. We need to make justice speedy and proprortionate. Taking cars off drunk drivers for instance. .

  • Alias

    “Taking cars off drunk drivers for instance.”

    The police state seizing private assets? That would lead to unequal justice, where someone is ‘fined’ 100k (the value of his Merc) while a pleb is fined the price of his old banger.

    “It becomes clear why he got the job.”

    His willingness to use the security forces of the state harrass those who oppose the legitimacy of British sovereignty by exclusively peaceful means?

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Anyone who watches the Mervyn Jess narrated programme on PSNI traffic police would be apalled at just how many dangerous and unfit drivers are on the road.
    No tax. No insurance. In some cases no licence.

    The vast majority of us panic when that dreaded reminder from the DVLNI drops thru the letterbox. Our wives (God bless them) tell us to get down to the Post Office right away.
    It was evident from the programmes I have seen that the whole system is so well known and so well played by offenders……like the guy who put some sticky tape over his number plate to give a “different number”.
    Or the Dublin junkie who simply didnt answer bail in Newry.
    Or the Carrickfergus thug who did the same.

    I am not always sure that the Police shown in these programmes are really as “nice and polite” without the cameras. More honestly they are probably chosen because they are the sort who will give a good impression.
    But the point is we should have zero tolerance for these so called small crimes.
    Too many barristers and solicitors of the Overclass in and around the Law Library are making too good a living from the Underclass.
    Its the people in the middle who pay for it.

    Gin and tonics all round in Rumpoles.

  • Alias

    Is justice to be administered by the courts or by a police force that is a function of British national security and economic interests via MI5?

    The idea that the police should be able to administrate justice rather than the courts is very dangerous one, and should be confined to issuing small fines in rudimentary matters.

    We have already seen that this police force has a political agenda that extends to censoring free political speech as is demonstrated by the state harassment of éirígí and by the extensive abuse of search powers. A police force that has a political agenda is not a police force that can be trusted to administrate justice in place of the courts.

  • Fabianus

    “Wherever I shine a spotlight I see bureaucracy. 44,000 files sent on to criminal justice system.”

    Welcome to Northern Ireland, Mr Baggot. We do things differently here from your native country.

    You probably haven’t twigged yet but we have thousands of jobsworths in our civil service, all of whom must be kept occupied, hence the 44,000 files, each one good for a year’s salary for a junior civil servant.

    What, would you rather they lost their “jobs”? And be an extra burden on the English taxpayer. How helpful is that!

    English arrogance and ignorance of NI and our wee ways knows no bounds.

  • Munsterview

    Agreed Alias

    We have recently seen down here in this neck of the woods the Police abusing their position by sharing privileged information with O’Dea and McDowell et al to queer the pitch for Sinn Fein in every possible as they did on every election that I was involved in for over three decades.

    I am aware of several blatant abuses of police powers in the North; the service may have a new name but as an old saying went in the South, …. New faces, same old capers !

    How can a force pledged to the Crown act impartially with Republicans pledged to overthrow it even if committed to peaceful means to do so!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Now and again I go for a wee chat with the local peelers. One middle-ranking officer was telling me a few weeks ago about the rude awakening that everyone was getting because Baggot was eliminating a lot of the desk positions and pushing people back out to regular police work. He’s not making himself popular among the Constable-level lifers who expect to disappear behind a desk at 40. This surely must be a good thing. Hopefully we will see results.

    Fitz, I can’t believe I’d say this, but well said. I know of so many cases where people have been hit by vehicles which turned out to be being driven illegally. The driver gets out and abandons the car, leaving you with the bill. That ends up on everyone else’s insurance. The penalties for driving without insurance, or while banned, should be significantly higher than they currently are.

    Even more seriously, I have heard of several cases in the past few years where people have been driven into by drunk drivers who eventually turn out to be retired police officers. Two taxi drivers I’ve spoken to in the past year have been hit by one. Lots of red tape and obfuscation ensues; these guys (and the people who think it’s appropriate to cover for them) know how to work things to make it drag on for so long that people give up on having a prosecution. This is something I’d like to see the Ombudsman take a greater interest in. I suspect that serving coppers are taking pity on their ex-colleagues who are probably suffering from some kind of PTSD, but it should be the courts who make the call on whether or not they should be punished, especially not with the likelihood of serious injury, or property damage.

    alias:

    The police state seizing private assets? That would lead to unequal justice, where someone is ‘fined’ 100k (the value of his Merc) while a pleb is fined the price of his old banger.

    The probability of death or serious injury being caused is the same irrespective of the car. Probably higher with a more expensive car given speed, weight, etc. But you don’t care about things like that, do you.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Munsterview,

    How can a force pledged to the Crown act impartially with Republicans pledged to overthrow it even if committed to peaceful means to do so!

    The PSNI don’t make a pledge to the crown. Only to pledge to uphold the law, and respect any traditions and beliefs insofar as they are legal.

  • Marcionite

    Munsterview, the PSNI are the recognised police force of NI as part of the GFI. What’s wrong with upholding and enforcing the law anyway? It’s UK law which NI is part off but it’s not an alien oppressive law. Like ANY nation in earth, those who form beligerant organisations who are anti police end up getting the bumrap from the very same forces.

    You seem to have SF sympathies. Sympathies for a party of murderers. When the British killed, it was part of maintaining law and order and not motivated to kill or maim innocent people. Thugs joined the IRA not to peacekeep but to kill as many prods as possible. I know this, I knew IRA men. They told me. Dark days I’m happy to say I’ve moved on from.

    So you say England has no business here. Maybe perhaps but you don’t see Welsh or Scottish nationalists bomb or kill for Their independance. They suffered greatly at the hands of England in the past (highland clearances, illegalisation of welsh language in 19th century etc) but they don’t wallow in the self pity Irish nationalists indulge in. Why are you so special?

    Munsterview, Ulster is a dim horizon from your green grassy knoll way on down there.

  • David Crookes

    Three cheers, FitzjamesHorse (#2): ‘Too many barristers and solicitors of the overclass in and around the law library are making too good a living…..’

    We need more people to stop accepting things ‘because that’s the way they are.’ Why should lawyers get so much money?

    There really IS an overclass, and we non-members should stop paying for it. Let us elect sensible politicians who will say, FOR A START, ‘No more fatuous litigation.’ Then, ‘No more multiplication of useless paperwork.’ Then, ‘No more commissioners.’ Then, ‘No more utterly useless training days for teachers.’ Then, ‘No more feasibility studies at £20 million a go.’ Then, ‘No more parades with policing paid for by the public.’ Then, ‘No money for able-bodied persons who refuse to work.’ Then, ‘No more university education departments full of jargonizing theoreticians.’ And so on. Once enough MLAS decide to stop some absurd thing, that thing’s days are numbered. Of course the multitudinous maggots will yelp and lobby like mad, especially the educationists and the minoritarian commissars, but the rest of us should all be a little bit better off. At the moment we are paying the ludicrously high wages of an overclass which holds us all in contempt. I want to see the members of that overclass put to work in the fields.

    First step: ordinary decent people should stop being afraid of the law. The law should be there principally to ensure their peace and safety.

    It will be necessary for the New Sensible Party, once it is elected, to complete St Patrick’s work by driving all the tapeworms out of Ireland.

  • Alias

    “The probability of death or serious injury being caused is the same irrespective of the car. Probably higher with a more expensive car given speed, weight, etc. But you don’t care about things like that, do you. ” – Comrade Stalin

    Wouldn’t a driving ban – administered by the courts – have that effect? The purpose of seizing the car is not to prevent someone from driving, since they can buy another car the next morning.

    The purpose of seizing the car is to give powers to the police that they should not have, i.e. the ability to seize the assets of private citizens without a court order. Apart from creating a police state, it creates unequal justice where the punishment is not determined by the crime but by the socio-economic status of the perpetrator.

  • Alias

    The PSNI are the tools of MI5 who use the police to carry out their operations that have the specific purpose of defending British national, political and economic interests. These include any threats to British sovereignty, intellectual or physical.

  • aquifer

    “The police state seizing private assets”

    The mass manufacture of cars followed on from the manufacturing of guns with standard steel parts to fine tolerances. Driven drunk on a public road a car is a murderous public liability.

    Decommission the car.

    I am sick hearing about multiple offenders with no valid license insurance or MOT. It is cheaper to abandon a car than to pay to keep it road legal.

    So jail offending drivers or have them clean out buses.

    ‘police (prosecutions)should be confined to issuing small fines in rudimentary matters’

    Absolutely. The files for small cases can be as big as for big ones.

    We have cheap TV and audio recording, why use paper at all, especially as too many of the old RUC hands can barely use a computer.

  • Alias

    “How can a force pledged to the Crown act impartially with Republicans pledged to overthrow it even if committed to peaceful means to do so!” – Munsterview

    I missed this. Spot on! The answer of course is that it cannot. Particularly given its role as foot soldiers for MI5, whose duty it is to undermine any organisation that seeks to undermine British national interests. This is why éirígí being targetted for harrassment by the MI5-Controlled PSNI despite that organisation comitting itself to challenge the legitimacy of British sovereignty by exclusively peaceful means. The state apologists can’t answer this so they just ignore it and pretend that there is an equal playing field between those who endorse British rule and those who do not when the reality is that the state does not tolerate such dissent.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Alias, ah yes, the old MI5 crap. Keep it coming.

    David:

    ‘No more utterly useless training days for teachers.’

    Don’t teachers need training like everyone else ? True, the two month holiday in the summer makes me jealous, but I wouldn’t envy their job.

    Then, ‘No more parades with policing paid for by the public.’

    You might touch the odd nerve with that one. Don’t the PSNI provide free policing and road closures for cycle races (and motorbike races) as well ?

  • David Crookes

    Comrade Stalin (#14), the ‘training’, such as it is, is mostly devised and administered by useless theoreticians.

    Great idea of yours about the races. We need to get all these solemn paraders on to motorbikes. But let me be serious. I had in mind contentious paraders who go where they’re not wanted. Should the PSNI protect such persons by day when they’re not able to protect uncontentious citizens who are terrorized by feral youths in their own home areas at night?

    Let me move on. Have we seen the germs of a New Sensible Party gradually coming into existence during the last few weeks? It’s amazing how many unionists and republicans want to live peacefully together.

    What are we to make of those soi-disant unionists who are doing their best to cause trouble? It appears to me that they are working for a civil war, and for repartition. Here is the unspeakable subtext of the hardline resurgence.

    If I’m wrong, then no soi-disant unionist in NI is thinking seriously about the acquisition of weapons, and a tiny group of republican dissidents is the worst thing that the police have to worry about. Maybe I’m wrong, and the resurgent hardliners are being wickedly stupid. But some of them are far from being stupid.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Comrade Stalin… Thank you.
    David Crookes…Thank you.

    We really need a radical approach to car crime. Unfortunately too many perceive it as not mattering very much.
    Twenty five years ago “drink driving” was illegal but somehow shamefully socially acceptable.
    Nowadays there is a stigma attached to drink driving….it is socially unnacceptable as well as illegal.
    We need to find a concensus on other car crime such as insurance, tax, suspension, cell phone use

    We have seen too many in the legal profession looking for loopholes and too many people think each public safety initiative (speed cameras for example) are gross intrusions into personal liberty.
    Frankly theres not a lot of votes in saying “we want more speed cameras”.
    Time for politicians to lead.
    Time for police to act.
    Time for the legal profession to back the police.

  • Munsterview

    marcionite

    When you refer to Ulster I take it that you are not referring to the Northern Province of Ireland but mistakenly to the six counties of that region that remained under British occupation when the remaining twenty six counties were liberated from British rule ?

    Through out the 70’s 80’s and 90’s I was a regular visitor there and experiences the joys of life for for the Nationalist communities living under the R.I.C., U.D.R. and British army in the Bogside, South Armagh, West Belfast and elsewhere.

    Here is one,( actually two) for you Marcionite, I worked in Engineering, on one occasion in the early seventies in a Southern factory where conditions were hopeless, I refused a shop-stewards position until I inadvertently discovered that a welder there was a B Special and a shipyard man. I approached him and he agreed to stand if I did not expose him. We both stood, I wanted him as he knew the reality of industry and bosses. Both of us were elected and made a damm good team! We even managed to become good friends in the process, all he wanted was to earn a few bob for his family without owing anyone for it!

    At the height of the corruption scandal in Donegall, I was up there and need the services of a qualified engineer to certify defects in a large building project. I went across the Border to get one and made sure that he was a Presbyterian before I checked his professional credentials! I did it as I knew that once he signed off on that report for me that he would stand over it and that he would not be got at. And so it proved !.

    I have a life, business, cultural and otherwise from Sinn Fein, I always had. However I am in the first instance a Republican and as such I have no hesitation to holding up a mirror to Sinn Fein where necessary and as a 69 man I have long earned my brownie points and the authority to do it.

    So as far as broadening Horizons go marcionite; did that many, many moons ago, how about you ?

  • Driftwood

    True, the two month holiday in the summer makes me jealous, but I wouldn’t envy their job.

    The many thousands of graduate ‘trained’ qualified teachers do envy their jobs. But, like the police, prison and fire service, the overpaid easy peasy lifestyle means only the chosen few get in. (ability is about 3rd or 4th behind nepotism, church and cronyism).
    They could always go for the Army but that involves real work and lower pay and physical activity and lots of other horrid things….
    I could go on.

  • Driftwood

    Don’t the PSNI provide free policing and road closures for cycle races (and motorbike races) as well ?
    Yes they do. overtime a gogo! Pays for a good 2 weeks in Marbella (summer) and 2 in Orlando or Tenerife (Winter). The marches are essential. Florida is the ‘Orange’ state for December. keep on marching!

  • Stephen Blacker

    Aiias,

    Eirigi openly support the RIRA and the actions they take. Unfortunately RIRA people do not wear uniforms or are easily identified so the police must take precautions so it would be necessary to treat them accordingly.

    That is the fantastic thing about terrorism, all you need to do is set off a bomb or shot someone and when the police investagate what happened they annoy the community where the terrorists come from. Happy days a few more members.

    Sure you never know, they might have got rid of one or two of those “MI5-Controlled PSNI” Officers tonight in Newry.

  • Stephen Ferguson

    “When you refer to Ulster I take it that you are not referring to the Northern Province of Ireland but mistakenly to the six counties of that region that remained under British occupation when the remaining twenty six counties were liberated from British rule ?”

    Posted by Munsterview on Feb 22, 2010 @ 11:14 PM

    What on earth will you do if you ever happen to inadvertently misplace your ‘Gerry Adams guide to Republican Soundbites’ book? You’ll be lost!

  • Alias

    “Alias, ah yes, the old MI5 crap. Keep it coming.”

    I’m happy too, if if your response is to shove your head further up your arse. First you make the laughable statement that giving the police the powers to confiscate the assets of private citizens is the same thing as a driving ban issued by the court. Then you appear to have no grasp that the role of MI5 is to defend the realm, and then you compound your dismal ignornance by denying that MI5 have any role in the PSNI. Keep it up. 😉

  • Munsterview

    Stephen,

    No not Gerry’s, cannot fully rely on that. Last copy of it that I got had pages missing and others have large sections crossed out !

    Did however get an intact first edition copy though that belonged to a fellow up your neck of the woods, a Presbyterian called Wolf Tone. Know any thing of him ?

    The copy I use in the South came by way of a Church Of Ireland chap called Thomas Davis from Mallow!

    Too bad that Nomenclature was not included in the list of essentials for de-commissioning, someone sure slipped up there!.

  • Alias Dave:

    Wouldn’t a driving ban – administered by the courts – have that effect? The purpose of seizing the car is not to prevent someone from driving, since they can buy another car the next morning.

    A driving ban doesn’t prevent someone from driving. Not being able to afford a new car might.

  • Alias

    “Wouldn’t a driving ban – administered by the courts – have that effect? The purpose of seizing the car is not to prevent someone from driving, since they can buy another car the next morning.” – Alias

    “A driving ban doesn’t prevent someone from driving. Not being able to afford a new car might.” – Andrew Gallagher

    Excellent thinking. You have my vote. It’s just a shame that you can pick a car up for a few hundred quid off ebay, innit? 😉

  • Alias

    Ergo:

    “The purpose of seizing the car is to give powers to the police that they should not have, i.e. the ability to seize the assets of private citizens without a court order. Apart from creating a police state, it creates unequal justice where the punishment is not determined by the crime but by the socio-economic status of the perpetrator.”

  • Dave,

    A punishment is only as good as its enforcement. I used to work with a man who had been done for drunk driving on several occasions, and even had his licence taken away. He still drove to work every day.

    And the term “police state” is thrown around so casually these days, it’s been debased beyond all recognition. Go visit Uzbekistan or North Korea and find out what it’s supposed to mean.

  • Alias

    If you give the police the power to confiscate your assets, you won’t need to go abroad to find out what it means. How do you think the UK became the nearest thing in the EU to a police state other than by giving the police the power in incremental steps, with each step being presented as a sensible step in response to some event with the gullible being told that they have nothing to fear if they have nothing to hide?

    The role of the police within a state is law enforcement, and not to act as its judiciary. I have no problem with the police being able to issue small fines for specific offences as this cuts down on administration, but I certainly have a problem with allowing them to bypass the judiciary and issue a prison sentence or allowing them to confiscate valuable private property in violation of human rights law.

    There is no reason why a man who drives a car valued at 50k should be punished more severely for the same offence than a man who drives a car valued at 5k, and plenty of reasons why such arbitrary punishment should not occur. At any rate, this level of ‘fine’ should be outside of the reach of the police and remain exclusively a matter for a court to decide.

    This smacks to me of being typical left wing hatred of successful people, and that is particularly evident in Stalin’s ridiculous argument where he argued that an “expensive car given speed, weight, etc” should be confiscated because it was more likely to kill people than a car that the proletariat would drive! Again, it’s a shame that no one told him that poor people can powerful cars too if they’re handy with a socket wrench. 😉

  • I think we need to take the car (valuable or otherwise) out of the equation. Afterall, it’s not the car’s fault there’s a reckless idiot with no insurance etc. behind the wheel. I think we need to target the guilty with some Saudi level justice:

    First offence (with serious injury/damage caused)… Chop off the offender’s right hand.
    Second offence… Left hand.
    Repeat offender… Left leg, right leg.

    It might get a little Pythonesque but I could live with it. Whether or not the police or courts administer the punishment can be debated. Myself, I would prefer on the spot justice :-).

  • Rory Carr

    Those complaining that the seizure of an offender’s vehicle would unfairly discriminate against those with higher incomes ignore the simple fact that the courts, in imposing fines, already discriminate according to income and quite properly in my view since whereas a fine of, say, £500 levied against an average wage earner would be painfully punitive, the same fine levied against, say, a stockbroker for a similar offence would be able to be laughed off as equivalent to a Friday evening’s drinks bill.

    And, by the way, the seizure of the vehicle would be in addition to a driving ban and appropriate (income based) fine not instead of.

    But all this is populist red herring stuff to distract from the main thrust of Baggott’s argument which is that ‘checks and balances’ and ‘accountability’ are preventing the poor policeman from serving the public and saving us from all these nasty anti-social elements. It is the cry of every policeman everywhere, echoed by every right-wing shock jock and saloon bar Johnnie: “Take the gloves off! Stop being soft on the criminals!”. Until, of course, these gadfly supporters find themselves on the wrong end of a parking ticket and then it’s all, “Police state!”, “It’s not bloody fair!”, “Why don’t they catch the real criminals?”

  • coconnor

    The police state seizing private assets? That would lead to unequal justice, where someone is ‘fined’ 100k (the value of his Merc) while a pleb is fined the price of his old banger.

    Unequal justice? Or equivalent in some way to the progressive taxation system we have already?

    The more you earn, more you are able to pay.