Watch your language!

Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey of the Metropolitan Police Service has sparked controversy by appearing to suggest people who do not speak English will receive a priority service.

Aug 31, 2017

Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey of the Metropolitan Police Service has sparked controversy by appearing to suggest people who do not speak English will receive a priority service. He said: “Where you get into some of the difficult areas around do you always offer the same service to everyone? Increasingly, as we go forward we will look at things like trying to assess people and crime on the sort of the threat, the harm, the risk, and people’s vulnerability. Vulnerability can manifest itself in a number of ways: people with learning difficulties, a whole range of things, some people for whom English isn’t a first language. That’s about how we get those resources focused on the things you can make a difference with. But also as we go forward, as demand grows, you have to have a way of controlling and triaging.” This has provoked outrage among observers who thought he means we may favour recruits for whom English is not their first language. He is clearly a man who is willing to practice what he preaches, it is difficult to work out what he is saying here, for he clearly is not saying it in English. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has been criticised for sending seven officers to seize Alfie – a Yorkshire terrier who is alleged to have chased a delivery driver up a garden path. The officers appear to have overwhelmed the animal some six weeks after the event, and then took it away under the provisions of the Dangerous Dogs Act. Alfie’s 73-year-old owner, Claudia Settimo-Bovio, is distraught. The grandmother has accused the MPS of over reacting. She admits her dog became excited, but claims so too did the delivery driver, and screamed “He’s killing me” as soon as he saw him. She also claims that the little scratch above the waist that the driver claims he sustained came from when he fell on the floor. She makes no reference to his claim that he was bitten on the ear, secure in the knowledge that terriers can’t jump that high. Claudia says that Alfie “just likes to chase. Show me a dog who doesn’t like to chase.” This would be difficult, but it is also difficult to find a delivery driver who likes to be chased. Seven sounds like a lot of officers to detain a tiny dog – the MPS says it was five and two dog units, and six weeks seems a long time to get around to doing it, but again, there are no clear guidelines on these matters. Alfie could have chased a lot of delivery drivers in the interim, but appears to have chosen not to. He has been assessed by officers from the MPS’s Status Dog Unit, and subsequently returned to Claudia a few days later. Claudia has signed an acceptable behaviour contract, although her conduct appears to have been immaculate throughout these extended proceedings. The matter is not yet closed, and further action is being considered. Perhaps they should deploy an officer for whom dog is a first language to interview Alfie under caution? None of this saga will convince anyone that the MPS is under-resourced, nor will it persuade anyone they are prioritising their actions efficiently and effectively. This is behaviour indicative of a culture in which on duty officers can engage, badly, in formation dancing, cover their uniforms with various emblems and badges, propose to partners of the same (or any other) sex on the outskirts of potentially volatile events, post drivel in attempts to be funny on social media and harass innocent looking terriers and their owners. Yours, Stitch

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