Interesting article in The Independent, apparently a policeman would not open the gate to allow a cyclist, Andrew Mitchell, to pass and instead insisted he pass through the pedestrian gate even though the highway code states cyclists should not use the pavement.
Andrew Mitchell has blown up over the jobsworth response of the police officer, the police officer’s single response being that it is “procedure” for cyclists to ride through the pedestrian gates.
It is not in any way comforting to see that even high-ranking members of the political class also have to suffer from the power trips of some members of the police.
I am sure most people in the UK have witnessed examples of the police throwing their weight around for no good reason other than “procedure”. I encourage readers to have a brief search of YouTube for countless examples of police abusing their power and the British public.
Going back to the incident with Andrew Mitchell, the cherry on the whole power trip is the police officer threatening to arrest Andrew Mitchell for breaching the Public Order Act and I quote
“Please don’t swear at me, sir. If you continue to, I will have no option but to arrest you under the Public Order Act.”
So we have the police making completely baseless threats against members of the public. There is absolutely nothing in the Public Order Act which prohibits members of the public from swearing at police officers or swearing in public in general.
Actually, that was not the cherry on the cake. The cherry on the cake was that the newspaper/the Met Police gave the policeman concerned anonymity. So not only did the police officer in this case follow a procedure which was completely inappropriate for cyclists and completely contrary to common sense, not only did the police officer not show any respect towards the member of the public (need I remind readers the police are here to serve the public not the other way around) not only not only did he then make a completely baseless physical threat against a member of the public, he then has the right to remain anonymous while the cyclists concerned (who has done absolutely nothing wrong) has his name and reputation attacked by the UK mainstream media.
If this can happen to the Chief Whip of the House of Commons it can happen to any of us. But the really telling factor about the whole piece were the comments, it seems that most people believe the police should be able to treat members of the public disrespectfully and physically threaten members of the pubic for no reason.