Sunday, October 05, 2008

Police advice to keep yourself safe – all you need is a finger and a phone

If someone comes at you with a knife or a gun, apparently you are only allowed to use reasonable force to defend yourself and your property. If you injure someone in that defence, you are not supposed to intend that injury, as any injury to a knife wielding assailant must be non-intentional if you don’t want to be charged with injuring with intent to injure.

So when a shop owner Virender Singh is attacked with a knife, and responds with a hockey stick, he gets arrested and charged with assault.One shopkeeper nearby is concerned that shopkeepers are not allowed to protect themselves. He's been robbed four times. He says:
When we protect ourselves, we get charged - and if we don't we get stabbed. What do we do?
The answer: Get stabbed or make sure the police don’t find out you've used a weapon.

But police have other suggestions.
The general public can be reassured that the police will respond with urgency to situations where assistance is needed. Ring 111, observe what is happening and let police deal with these situations.
In at least ten minutes - and up to half an hour. Reassuring indeed.

Apparently, according to police, you don’t need a baseball bat to keep yourself safe, all you need is a phone and a finger to dial 111. That’s what the police said Singh should have done. That’s because if you get shot or stabbed police can deal with it. If it’s fatal, your next of kin can arrange the funeral and the Police Minister would say nothing – unless, of course it is a police officer that gets murdered.

Because if a police officer gets murdered or attacked it is much worse than an Indian dairy owner being fatally stabbed or attacked , isn’t it. That’s why the number one priority for the police is to make sure a member of the force does not get injured. The second priority is to ensure the safety of the rest of us.

But a high policing priority is constantly defending its inadequate procedures. Only when the procedures and priorities change, and police stop trying to defend the indefensible, will the public start to have confidence in the police. But until police think that dialling 111 and getting stabbed or shot at during the 10 minute wait is preferable to defending yourself with a weapon, then I’d suggest you get those weapons out and use them – its your only defence.




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