Thursday, October 05, 2006

Should Police be allowed to pick & choose?

Today It was reported that a Muslim Police officer was allowed to refuse his duty guarding the Israeli embassy in London.

There are two claims about the reason for this:

  • That the officer was told not to perform this duty as a risk assessment concluded that it could potentially be dangerous. In favour of this arguement, the Met said:

"Our priority is making sure that any officer we deploy can have their mind on the job and make sure they discharge effectively and efficiently".

"That's what a risk assessment is about, it is not about political correctness and we do not allow officers to pick and choose their deployment on the basis of their personal views".

  • That he asked to be excused as he had Lebanese relatives.
"The Association of Muslim Police Officers said it had been a "welfare issue" not a political one - with the officer having a Syrian father and a Lebanese wife.

The association said Pc Basha had asked to be excused from his duties because he felt "uncomfortable and unsafe".

In terms of the Risk Assessment, the statement implies the officer potentially could not distance himself from his emotions towards the conflict. Surely the role of a Police Officer demands they distance themselves from events they find unpleasant?

The Association of Muslim Police Officers statement implies that the officer could not seperate his political views and his professional conduct. This is not, in my view a "welfare" issue. It is a political statement.

Either way, this reflects poorly on whoever made the decision and, if the officer requested this, on his conduct.

I'm highly critical of the atrocious behaviour of Israel during the conflict but that doesn't mean I find this acceptable.

People opting to join the Police should think like those who join the Armed forces of the potential conflict of interests, ideology and belief they will encounter before they sign up.

We can't have our police officers picking and choosing which duties they are comfortable with!

What do you make of it?

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