Theme: Law & justice | Content Type: Journal article

Policing, Politics and Prejudice: A Participant Observer's Reflections

Neil Basu



| 1 min read

Robert Reiner famously wrote that the public get the police they deserve. Arguably, the police also get the public they deserve. Sir Robert Peel and his Commissioners Rowan and Mayne said that legitimacy relies on consent and that consent demands the public has trust and confidence in the police. A police service asking for that privilege must be professional and understand its role of service and protection. To do this well, it needs to be humble, but policing has lost its humility and no longer understands these concepts (if it ever did). Yet, we also need to consider how the public sees the police. Press and politics have a disproportionate effect on the reputation of the police that is often globalised and catastrophised from the actions of relatively few. This cannot be an excuse for poor policing, but a sense of balance has to be restored if society is to get the policing it deserves. There is a danger, not yet existential, that the actions of a minority of officers, the thoughtless interventions of irresponsible politicians and the disproportionate reporting of a client rather than free press is undermining the model of consent. Before policing can demand a balanced critique from politicians and press, though, it must get its house in order, and this article offers straightforward solutions in recruitment, vetting, and training to solve its current problems. Less straightforward is a demand for changes to a culture which is not fit for purpose.

Read the full article on Wiley

Need help using Wiley? Click here for help using Wiley

  • d0d29a42-profile_spk-NeilBasu_Large.jpg

    Neil Basu

    Neil Basu QPM is a retired member of the Metropolitan Police Service, having served from 1992 to 2022.

    Articles by Neil Basu