This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Plebian correctness gone mad: the Secret PCC develops new ethical guidelines

Of course in my day, back at the old alma mater, you could pretty well call the boys in the nearby village anything you liked... but not to their faces of course. The annual school vs oiks cricket match (or "community engagement project to avoid VAT being added to our school fees" to give it its proper full title) was an exercise in restraint and good manners. If things got heated over a boundary call or an LBW, words like cad, bounder and "look chummy, that bat was inside the crease, I'll have you know" were used instead.

Just as we learnt how to treat our seniors and betters, we also learnt how to treat the non-commissioned ranks (as it were) too. Which is why, I have never quite understood all the hoo-hah about plebgate and what Mr Mitchell was meant to have said or not said. Anyway today, it would seem that he has lost because he lost it.

So I have been pondering (for all of 30 minutes) on the implications of all this to my police force and what ethical/behavioural rules we need to set down to avoid any such occurrence happening on my watch... So here they are.

All police officers and members of staff should:
  • Never refer to anyone as a pleb, plebian, prole, member of the great unwashed, pond life, oik or any other word that you would not use in the company of Dame Maggie Smith in Downton
  • Avoid refusing, in a provocative way, to open a gate for someone very important unless there are some very good (i.e. documented) reasons for doing so
  • Show bottomless humility and grace towards anyone a) riding a bike b) of a lower or upper class c) with a camera / recording equipment
  • Acquaint themselves with headlines & stories from the tabloid press and ITV2 'moments' as a guide to handling 'working people'
  • Be very wary about using the Daily Mail or Katie Hopkins as a guide to ethics in public service practice: the Telegraph is a much better starting place
  • Develop an innate sense of knowing when to give up, smell the coffee and walk away...
I will be consulting on these guidelines over the next few weeks...


The Secret PCC Diary until now:

Legal disclaimer: just in case you thought this series of secret PCC blogs is based upon a real person or persons: it isn't. It really isn't. Any similarity to a living PCC is entirely coincidental.

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