Another day, another display of unadulterated cretinism from Her Majesty's police. Their latest heroic exploit? Arresting a seventy-three year-old pensioner for confronting a gang of teenage thugs.
When William Marshall, a retired miner with a heart condition, saw the group throwing bricks at ducks on a canal in Worksop, he, rather bravely, told them to stop. They responded with a barrage of abuse, and after a shouting match, he retreated. As you do, when you're a lone septuagenarian, confronted with several potentially violent men much younger than you.
This was not the first time Mr Marshall had had problems with the gang, and he had made a number of complaints to the police. Accordingly, when two police officers showed up on his doorstep, he naively assumed that they had come in response to his complaints. But he was sadly mistaken, as he swiftly found out, when an officer informed him that he was being arrested on suspicion of assault. One of the young thugs had, it seemed, contacted the police to accuse Mr Marshall of hitting him. And while the police did not see fit to respond to any of Mr Marshall's numerous complaints, they were swift to respond to the first accusation made against him.
Having been arrested, Mr Marshall, who has a previously unblemished record, was kept in a police cell for two hours, before being formally interviewed, and released pending further enquiries. After Mr Marshall's local councillor took up his case, the police have apologised, explaining that the officer in question was "young in service", and, apparently, in need of further training. Personally, I would have hoped that he would get appropriate training before being sent out to harass pensioners. But obviously not...
This is far from being the first time that the police have allowed themselves to be used as, in effect, the enforcers for petty thugs and vandals. Last month I wrote about the case of Julie Lake, who was arrested after slapping a thug who was vandalising a war memorial. In March, I wrote about Fred Brown, who was arrested and charged with assault for giving a clip round the ear to a piece of scum who was vandalising the machines in his launderette. In both these cases, as in Mr Marshall's, the police had failed to respond to repeated complaints about the behaviour of the thugs, but had snapped into action the moment the thugs themselves saw fit to complain that someone had had the effrontery to challenge them. One has to ask what kind of police force responds with such alacrity to the whinings of low-life thugs, while ignoring the justified complaints of law-abiding citizens? A police force, I would suggest, with serious problems, and one which, so far from deserving the substantial pay rise that its members believe to be their due, merits nothing so much as a sizable collective pay cut, as the fitting reward for its uselessness.
Hat-tip: The Green Arrow