How Not To Police

[Before I start I should just point out that these are my own personal views and do not in anyway represent the views of Holland Road Baptist Church or any of it's ministries]

I’ve just been playing baseball / rounders with one of our youth groups in St Ann’s Well Gardens. We had a great time! We were on our way back and at the north end of our church building, less than 100 meters away from the south end where we were heading in when we encountered some really terrible police work.

There were about 20 of us, a mixture of young people and adults, stretched out along the footpath walking along when a police officer charges towards one of our children at the back who was carrying the baseball bat screaming at him to put it down, he does. I then try and talk to the police officer, I’m wearing a Holland Road Baptist Church t-shirt at this point. He’s just generally very rude in the way he’s speaking to us. I try to explain that we’re with the church (that we’re standing outside of) and that we’ve just been playing baseball in St Ann’s and that we’re now heading inside. You can see the front of the group of people heading inside now. He demands to see the ball we were playing with and doesn’t seem to believe the story. However one of the guys at the front has the ball and by this point he’s gone inside the church.

We go and try and get the ball, into the church. He doesn’t listen to anything we are saying and puts the young boy that was carrying the bat into the police car and drives him the length of the church building to see the ball. He was very irrational and very disrespectful.

The other police officer was very friendly, very apologetic, and dealt with the situation very well. As have most other police officers I’ve ever met. He walked the length of the church building with us, explained the situation. He was very rational and very respectful. An example of how you should police.

It’s such a shame that you get a minority that behave like the irrational police officer and give the rest of the police a bad name. When you do behave like that and don’t treat the people you’re meant to protect with any respect it’s no wonder there is little respect for the police themselves.

Now I do understand that seeing a teenager with a baseball bat as a situation on it’s own might look a bit dodgy, but you CANNOT tarnish all young people with the same brush. The vast majority of young people don’t go around with baseball bats smashing the place up. If the police officer had cast his gaze to the front of the group and seen them heading into the church building then he might have made a better assessment of the situation. Or if he’d realised that we weren’t running away but were happy to stop and talk and explain the situation then we might not be a gang of people about to go and attack someone.

There was no need to put our young person in the police car and there was no need to talk to us like we were something he’d found on the bottom of his shoe. I liked the other officer though, he was a good guy!