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What is wrong with South Yorkshire Police?

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Gathursty

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The Battle of Orgreave, the Rotherham Sex Scandal and the Hillsborough saga are three shocking cases that the 'higher ups' in the South Yorkshire Police Force have badly dealt with.

Are they simply unlucky in having these three incidents on their patch or is there something on a wider scale that is wrong with the South Yorkshire Police force?

Will The Sun ever publish the headline 'South Yorkshire Police: The Truth'?

Are there other police forces with such a bad record in this country that the wider public should be aware of?

I can't recall Greater Manchester Police having such bad light thrown on it.
 
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swj99

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The Battle of Orgreave, the Rotherham Sex Scandal and the Hillsborough saga are three shocking cases that the 'higher ups' in the South Yorkshire Police Force have badly dealt with.

Are they simply unlucky in having these three incidents on their patch or is there something on a wider scale that is wrong with the South Yorkshire Police force?......
Good question. I'm not sure that luck really comes into it though. Although I guess it could be said that with the battle of Orgreave, the SYP were unlucky the press were there to film them attacking miners.

The miners always said the police had brutally attacked them without justifiable provocation, and that the attack felt preplanned. They complained that the BBC had reversed footage, to show miners who threw missiles seemingly before the police charge rather than in retaliation for it. That night the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, who was determined to defeat the strike, and with it the power of the National Union of Mineworkers, made it clear she believed in the police. This was, she famously said, “mob rule” by the miners.

Far less publicised, a year later, was the unravelling of the police case. Officers had arrested and charged 95 miners with riot, an offence of collective violence carrying a potential life sentence. Yet in July 1985 the prosecution withdrew and all the miners were were acquitted after the evidence of some police officers, including those in command, had been discredited under cross-examination.

&

In 1991 South Yorkshire police paid £425,000 compensation to 39 miners who had sued the force for assault, unlawful arrest and malicious prosecution. But still the police did not admit any fault, and not a single police officer was ever disciplined or prosecuted.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/22/orgreave-truth-police-miners-strike



To answer the question, is there something on a wider scale that is wrong with the South Yorkshire Police force? I think the answer is yes. But sadly it's not just South Yorkshire Police, but other forces too, which have allowed themselves to be influenced by and used by governments to further their own objectives, which to me is not their primary purpose. Not only is it wrong, it also erodes confidence and trust in them. Policing by consent is a two way street, but more and more I see and hear about people who no longer consent to what the police appear to have become.
 

Aldaniti

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I think more and more people are losing confidence in the police as each year goes by. Whether it be corruption (Motorman, miscarriages of justice), incompetence (Yorkshire Ripper), abuse of power (Miners Strike), the disgraceful evidence we have now seen regarding Hillsborough or, fast forward to today, the way that the police have largely abandoned the streets and allowed minor crime and anti-social behaviour to now largely go unchecked. Many police officers are a credit to their communities, and successive governments, including the current, are, and have been, part of the problem. Moreover, I see increasing numbers coming through the service who don't really have the necessary skills to be a warranted officer.... some of them are even promoted.

The current state of affairs does not bode well for the future and I've come to the conclusion that an inquiry - possibly a Royal Commission - is required to look at the police service today, its structure and the remit that the public, to which it is accountable, require.
 
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furnessvale

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The current state of affairs does not bode well for the future and I've come to the conclusion that an inquiry - possibly a Royal Commission - is required to look at the police service today, its structure and the remit that the public, to which it is accountable, require.

If the inquiry also includes funding and political interference, by parties of ALL colours, in police work I am with you.

But I won't be holding my breath on one anytime soon.
 

Tetchytyke

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It isn't just South Yorkshire Police, although I'm sure the establishment will fall back on the usual "few rotten apples" argument.

Interestingly David Crompton's father is Sir Dan Crompton, a former Chief Inspector of Notts Constabulary who was a senior member of HM Inspectorate of Constabularies and who labelled the Hillsborough campaigners as "vindictive, vexatious and cruel" in 1998.

David Crompton was also Sir Norman Bettison's deputy at West Yorkshire. Bettison, who was appointed Chief Inspector on Merseyside (showing the contempt they hold for us) is, of course, one of the people most heavily implicated in the lies and cover-ups after Hillsborough.

It's clear that the top brass in the police service across the country are simply not fit for purpose.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
If the inquiry also includes funding and political interference, by parties of ALL colours, in police work I am with you.

The police are exceptionally well funded- austerity isn't for them.

As for political interference, of course there is; the police are there to enforce the laws the government implement. One positive change is that this political interference is now clearer, with the creation of Police and Crime Commissioners, and at least there is some semblance of democracy in how the police are run. Senior police staff should be political appointments.
 
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Steveman

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Are police bad in all countries or just Britain?

Anyone who really thinks our Police are corrupt and no good needs to get out and about in the world.

No Police force in the world is perfect but compared to the great majority ours are as good as you can get.
 

TheKnightWho

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the police have largely abandoned the streets and allowed minor crime and anti-social behaviour to now largely go unchecked.

I have a lot of criticisms over the police, but this is simply not true. Got anything to back it up?
 

tbtc

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The Battle of Orgreave, the Rotherham Sex Scandal and the Hillsborough saga are three shocking cases that the 'higher ups' in the South Yorkshire Police Force have badly dealt with.

Are they simply unlucky in having these three incidents on their patch or is there something on a wider scale that is wrong with the South Yorkshire Police force?

Will The Sun ever publish the headline 'South Yorkshire Police: The Truth'?

Are there other police forces with such a bad record in this country that the wider public should be aware of?

I can't recall Greater Manchester Police having such bad light thrown on it
.

Interesting that you mention Greater Manchester Police (as not having such a bad light), but also the well documented abuse in Rotherham.

I don't know whether similar abuse in Rochdale was on a smaller scale(?), or it's just that Rotherham made national headlines first (?), but it seems that this kind of thing has been going on outside South Yorkshire too.

Orgreave? I'd treat that as a "national" issue - coppers from South Yorkshire were certainly in the minority (those on the side of the miners who were in attendance that day had significant numbers from outside SY too).

It was the setting for a Government v Miners battle that was always going to come to a head somewhere. From what's been released since, it seems that Thatcher's government wanted a flashpoint, encouraged one. Given the clear hand of Westminster, I think we'd have had the same brutality and cover-ups if it had been in the coalfields of County Durham or Fife or Glamorgan. That's not to exonerate South Yorkshire, just to give a little context.

Hillsborough? I think there are two aspects to it. The error of opening up the gates to allow people to rush through into the terraces and the subsequent coverup/ excuses/ "blaming the victims".

I certainly can't defend the first, but I think that a chunk of the blame for the second lies with local MP Irvine Patnick, who seemed to have been responsible for twisting the facts to suit a narrow political purpose.

In short, I don't know, but I think that a lot of the same mistakes/ coverups would have happened in other counties; I'm not convinced that South Yorkshire Police's actions after Hillsborough and Orgreave were done without at least some involvement of the government of the day though.

As for the "are the police getting worse" argument... they always seem to be, whenever people have this debate. As people grow up they realise that the police aren't always the infallible heroes that they grew up believing in and are affected by the same political interference that affects health/ education etc.

I'd like to take the political aspect out of policing, but what's the alternative? A police that isn't subject to democratic control?
 

TheKnightWho

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Anyone who really thinks our Police are corrupt and no good needs to get out and about in the world.

No Police force in the world is perfect but compared to the great majority ours are as good as you can get.

How is this relevant? Other countries have absolutely nothing to do with the problems in SYP.
 

radamfi

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How is this relevant? Other countries have absolutely nothing to do with the problems in SYP.

It is kind of relevant because if it impossible to have acceptably good police (for example, because police are human) then we shouldn't be surprised at what happens at British police forces.
 

61653 HTAFC

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While I'm not really comfortable defending SYP, the mention of the Yorkshire Ripper upthread has prompted me to remind you that the "incompetence" (not helped by the phoney "Wearside Jack" tapes) was on the part of West Yorkshire Police. Indeed it was a chance encounter with police in Sheffield that led to Peter Sutcliffe finally being apprehended.
 

meridian2

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There were undoubtedley commendable actions on the part of those constables and sergeants that were immediately on the front line, and I include paramedics in this too, so whole criticism on the part of the SVP is slightly unfair, as it has become evident that the more serious of mistakes were with higher echelons. They were following orders, orders whose reasons became convoluted, conflated and exaggerated.
 

Aldaniti

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While I'm not really comfortable defending SYP, the mention of the Yorkshire Ripper upthread has prompted me to remind you that the "incompetence" (not helped by the phoney "Wearside Jack" tapes) was on the part of West Yorkshire Police. Indeed it was a chance encounter with police in Sheffield that led to Peter Sutcliffe finally being apprehended.

Yes, of course the Yorkshire Ripper case was handled by West Yorkshire - and anyone who has read in detail about this case knows what another sad case of police ineptitude that was. I was talking about the problems with the UK police generally - sorry if I wasn't so clear.
 

61653 HTAFC

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Yes, of course the Yorkshire Ripper case was handled by West Yorkshire - and anyone who has read in detail about this case knows what another sad case of police ineptitude that was. I was talking about the problems with the UK police generally - sorry if I wasn't so clear.

No problem. I should perhaps have said "remind everyone" rather than "remind you", as it was intended to be a general point rather than a snipe. I'm on a mobile so part-quoting posts is not something that comes easy, especially with my spazzy autistic fingers! :oops:;)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
There were undoubtedley commendable actions on the part of those constables and sergeants that were immediately on the front line, and I include paramedics in this too, so whole criticism on the part of the SVP is slightly unfair, as it has become evident that the more serious of mistakes were with higher echelons. They were following orders, orders whose reasons became convoluted, conflated and exaggerated.

This is an important point. Indeed a few officers on the ground have been rightfully praised for their conduct on that horrible day.
 

TheKnightWho

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It is kind of relevant because if it impossible to have acceptably good police (for example, because police are human) then we shouldn't be surprised at what happens at British police forces.

Not really - all societies condoned murder in the 1st century a lot more than we do now, and that wasn't excusable because they were human.

If we're going to have a standard for police forces that doesn't include cover-ups and lying we should hold them to that regardless of the state of policing in other countries. Otherwise it just looks like we're excusing misbehaviour. I am absolutely not convinced that it is literally impossible to improve police because of human nature; we just need to change the system to make these failings more difficult to get away with.
 
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deltic

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I have often wondered whether we have too many police forces and not enough talent at the top to run them. A larger force is also able to draw upon far more specialist resources which can help in dealing with situations which be one-offs in a small area but more common over a larger area. I would be interested in seeing how Police Scotland develops over the next few years compared with the performance of the smaller forces it replaced.

The idea that the police have got worse over the years is down to rose tinted glasses - corruption was rife in many forces, racism and sexism endemic and crime was far higher 20 years ago than now.
 
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