“The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”
This was the view given by Robert Peel, the founder of the metropolitan police force.
Looking at the scenes from Dale Farm and reading the accounts, it seems that this vision has been lost. I simply ask these questions:
- How many people were being harmed, and to what extent, by the occupation of the land at Dale Farm?
- How many people were being harmed, and to what extent, by the eviction of the occupants of Dale Farm?
The interests of community welfare and existence have been least in the minds of those ordering and carrying out the eviction. Instead, the existence of the community has been openly persecuted and their welfare ignored and trampled upon. The violence that has been seen on both sides has been shameful. The protesters should not have thrown bricks and debris at the police, but it has to be noted that this was an act of desperation to which they have been driven. Likewise, the police use of tasers is deplorable.
“Agitation is the marshalling of the conscience of a nation to mould its laws.”