I’m annoyed tonight, it takes a lot to rile me up these days but some things just need saying. As a young girl princesses and air-stewardesses did nothing for me, I was happily brought up on the stories of Enid Blyton and Wonder-Woman, I dreamt instead of becoming a police woman when I grew up. Entranced by tales of smugglers, evil uncles, kidnappers and thieves – I imagined myself chasing burglars, investigating crime scenes, whipping out my gold lasso and, like in the stories – always bringing the “Baddies” to task. The police were to me, heroes – the good guys and I have always had tremendous respect for them – my heart still beats fast when I meet one and I panic, less I’ve done something wrong! I never joined up in the end as, being a *massive* 5’3, I wasn’t tall enough and so I tried out many other professions, finally settling on catering. A far cry from apprehending masked intruders but its a lot of fun (and I wear Wonder Woman pants and a bespoke “Ker-Pow” apron to work!)
Over the past few years my faith in the police however, has been shaken to the core. I’ve discovered that on just a local, personal level, my police force can bend rules and release personal data to suit the whims of an MP. We recently heard that the “Plebgate” police lied in their statements, costing the police force far more in lost trust than the £237,000 inquiry. (I still think it was right that Andrew Mitchell resigned however, you can’t admit to swearing at police and expect to keep a job that commands respect!). Then tragically just this week in Luton, a 38 year old, healthy man who found himself in emotional difficulties, ended up dead in police custody. Leon Briggs’ death is now the subject of an IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) inquiry as “potential criminal offences may have been committed” against Leon. Latest from BBC News here. How can it be that an innocent person can be forcibly arrested and end up dying at the hands of the very people who should protect us? Facebook pages are calling for calm in Luton, we still vividly remember the Marsh Farm riots of 1995, which were sparked by the heavy-handed arrest of a 13 year old boy. Lessons should have been learnt. Clearly, in Luton at least, they have not.
RIP Leon Briggs and may those responsible for your death be brought to justice promptly.