Welcome to Question of the Day. Today: law and order!
"Fuck tha police. Fuck, fuck, fuck tha police. Fuck, fuck, fuck tha police. Fuck, fuck, fuck tha police." Is this, a) the chorus from NWA’s 1988 gangsta rap classic, or, b) an obscenity-ridden analogy for how the people of Great Britain feel about the national police force?
Public opinion right now would probably lean towards the latter. The handling of last year’s riots is still a national sore point and earlier this week the Met were forced to issue an apology to Tia Sharp’s mother for mistakes made in the search for her missing daughter’s body. No longer a baton-swinging keeper of the peace; the local bobby is an indistinct figure behind a retreating riot shield or an inept detective in a high-vis jacket. We went in search of upstanding citizens and repeat offenders alike to deliver the final verdict on the police.
VICE: Do you like the police?
Chris, 40, construction worker: No. Why not?
Because we should keep justice. Like vigilantism?
Yeah. They cover up a lot of things and that’s not right. How about you? Peter, 30, also a construction worker: I have nothing against them. I’ve never had any experiences with them. Ah, so you’re well behaved.
Peter: Pretty much.
Chris: I’m well behaved and I’ve still got a problem with the police. You're so bad, Chris. Lisa, 31, photographer (left) and Patrick, 31, "no profession". Do you like the police?
Lisa: Yeah. How about you, do you like the police?
Patrick: First off, you have something in your teeth and I’m a nice person so I’ll tell you, it’s right in the middle. Is it gone?
I’m looking out for you. Like the police look out for me. When I was younger and I didn’t own anything, I was taking things that other people owned so I hated the police. Now that I own my own things, I like the police because they help me keep them. Cassandra, 21: In this country they seem to be OK. Not so much in Australia. Why are they different in Australia?
They are a lot ruder. Oh no. What's better about British police?
The hats. I think they’re absolutely great. Mark, 74: Oh yeah! Why do you like the police?
Put it this way, if there were no police… Aha! Y’know? Err… I think so.
In an ideal world, we’d all behave. Doesn’t happen though, does it? No. Dil, 35 and Lily the dog (age not disclosed). Dil: No. I did like them, because I watched The Wire and I thought they were quite cool. How long did that dream last?
Until the other day, when some high-and-mighty police officer tried to belittle me because I’d gone over the cyclist line on my motorcycle. He made me get off and push my bike back in front of all the traffic, he was on a bit of a power trip. Does your dog like the police?
I think she’d protect me more than a policeman. Living in London and seeing what happened last year, we’re more inclined to turn a bit vigilante ourselves. Like superheroes?
I think she would eat a police man. Do you like the police?
Rekha: They seem to like it. What?
They seem to like it. OK. Lucy, 22 and Essy, 21, vacant property protection officers. Do you like the police?
Lucy: Errrm… It's a toughy.
Yeah. Obviously we need the police for certain things not to happen, but I’ve got a brother who’s just turned 18 and he hates them. He’s constantly being harassed, stopped and searched. That sucks.
People don’t have any trust. If you call a police officer when you’ve been mugged, they don’t come within a reasonable time frame. What, like straight away? Or ideally before you even started being mugged?
Essy: I think they’re good. Julienne, 27: They are quite good because nothing really dangerous happens. You're right Julienne, NOTHING DANGEROUS EVER HAPPENS. Previously – Do You Still Give a Shit About Athletics?