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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Bible, the pool of blood and the PC Plods

Which reminds me of something I didn't get round to posting about a week or two ago. Namely, the Gay Police Association's 'Bible and pool of blood' advert. When Brett posted in support of the GPA, a certain irascible commenter challenged him to say how many of the 'incidents' referred to in the ad actually involved violence motivated by Christian faith. Answer came there none, nor, more significantly, did it from the GPA when they were hauled up before the Advertising Standards Authority:-

'While we appreciated that hard-hitting images such as splashes of blood were likely to be eye-catching, we understood that some of the incidents referred to might not involve violence. We considered that, by featuring spilled blood prominently, the ad suggested that all the reported incidents involved physical injury.'
Did any of the incidents involve physical injury? The GPA seem to have been quite exceptionally coy...

'Although we noted the GPA's assertion that they held evidence to support their claim, we considered that, to date, we had not seen it.'

Brett revisited the topic to relay the news that the Crown Prosecution Service had decided there was no case for the GPA to answer, but had evidently lost interest when the ASA delivered its adjudication a couple of weeks later.

Reflect for a moment, if you will, on what kind of model for the policing of a plural society we have here. Coppers belonging to a minority group form a pressure group. Fair enough in itself. They set up a phone line which can be used for reporting 'incidents'. Still fair enough. They then use the calls they get as a basis for producing their own home-made not-quite-crime statistics. Might be OK, might not. Then, finally, they grossly misrepresent their statistics in order to stereotype members of another minority group as violent criminals. Well out of order. And the sting in the tail: coppers belonging to minority group no. 2 decide they can play the PC Plod game too, and try to turn the tables on minority group no. 1 by having them nicked them for 'hate crime'.

One doesn't need to see the history of policing through Dixon of Dock Green glasses to think that none of this is leading anywhere very good. The logic of it is that we end up with a police force divided into a patchwork of warring minority interest groups, each upholding a version of the law suitably edited to conform to its private agenda. What, then, becomes of the principle of 'one law for everyone'? And what happens when, for instance, the BNP Supporters Police Association stake their claim to a slice of the action?

PS A final aside: the complainants to the ASA were all evangelical groups. Why am I not surprised that the GPA's association of the Christian gospel with violent intolerance provoked not so much as a whisper of protest from, say, the Archbishop of Canterbury? What a wonderful thing liberal guilt is! 'OK, it may not actually be true, but if it's their perception of us we must be to blame'.

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