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Perceptions of British policing


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  • #31
    Thanks for the further responses, which I have just caught up with on my return from my hols.

    Originally posted by Sleuth View Post
    As to the police museum in Scotland Yard, I asked some officers about it. They said they were not allowed to visit it, and tourists, even LE tourists, would not get in unless they were Chiefs of major departments or the like. As a US Federal Agent, I had no chance of getting into the museum.
    My understanding is that it is more a case of getting in touch with the curator at the "Black Museum" well in advance of any visit, rather as you would have to do if you wanted a ride-along. The Museum showcased many of its exhibits a couple of years ago to the general public at the Museum of London (which is free and well worth a visit for anyone coming to London) and it really was fascinating. Unfortunately that exhibition is no longer running and, last I heard anyway, the Black Museum itself is a) located inside New Scotland Yard and hence there are security issues and b) isn't open that much anyway as it is a volunteer type thing. The Metropolitan Police do have a separate museum open to the public in West London and the City Police have one in the City, as might be expected.

    All this was prior to the influx of "refugees" from Muslim countries, which may have changed the complexion of the society. I understand there are now 30+ Sharia courts operating in England - I don't know if they have exclusive authority, or what would happen if a resident of such an area violated UK law and Sharia law - who would have jurisdiction?
    There does seem to be a bit of confusion about Sharia courts in the UK. Simple answer, it's not as though a visitor to the UK will suddenly find themselves hauled in front of a Sharia court for eating a bacon sandwich. They determine questions of Muslim law, just as the Beth Din courts answer questions on Jewish law, and no-one seems worried about the existence of the latter. It's not even the case that if you are a Muslim, then you have to follow what they say (any more than a Jewish person doesn't have to keep shabbat if he doesn't want to) but if you are religious and want to keep on the right side of the Supreme Being, then it is probably the sort of thing you pay attention to. Being an atheist myself, it isn't something that affects me in any way, shape or form.

    There has been a minor issue as regards so-called Shariah Patrols in some areas; essentially, young Muslim men looking to bully people drinking alcohol, gays, "non-modestly dressed" females, that sort of thing. They don't have any status in law and, speaking as one who used to live and drink in pubs in the area of East London where this sort of behaviour was most widely reported, I never came across them. And if I had, I would have told them to go f*** themselves and that would have been the end of that.

    In fact, the only religious courts in England which actually have legal authority are the ecclesiastical courts - basically, the courts of the Church of England (or Episcopalian Church). But again, it isn't as though they can suddenly declare you a witch and burn you - basically you have to be in holy orders for them to have jurisdiction and the matters ruled on are often incredibly technical.

    I found a difference in the attitudes of the "helmeted' officers - "Bobbies" (unarmed), and the 'flat hats' who were armed. I don't know if that distinction is still in place.
    Sort of. Though I can't say it never happens, uniformed firearms officers don't wear the Great British Police helmet aka the Custodian aka the Top Hat aka the Tit. The reason is pretty simple - whilst being somewhat hot and uncomfortable to wear, the helmet offers almost no protection whatsoever and falls off almost immediately an officer has to get hands on. It isn't even particularly British - it was introduced in the mid to late nineteenth century as a direct copy of the German military pickelhaube helmet. Some English forces have, sensibly, eliminated it but others retain it out of a misplaced sense of nostalgia. Meanwhile firearms officers, on occasions when they can be persuaded to wear a hat which will mess up their lovely waxed hair, will generally wear a flat or patrol cap (which all uniformed officers get issued anyway) or simply a baseball cap.

    I'm a little bit waayy, a little bit wooah, a little bit woosh, I'm a geezer.


    • #32
      Thanks for the update, CC. We visited a long time ago, as Range Officers for the World Pistol Championships (IPSC) - back when mere mortals could own handguns and the like. Obviously much has changed since then.

      The Sharia Courts as reported over here looked like replacements for the Crown Court (or whatever the correct name for your system is) in Muslim areas. Could a Muslim drinking alcohol in public (an offence in most of the US) be tried in a Sharia court in lieu of a Crown Court? In both??

      I always try to make every day a 'school day' and learn something.

      Thanks again
      "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
      John Stuart Mill


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