RE: Thanks for the thanks, Matt ...
".....Unfortunately, we are getting off the original topic here, and it is probably time to draw this conversation to a close because no-one else is reading this anymore...." I would have thought the whole idea of these forums was to create debate, at least until the point where Ms Bee decides she's had enough and only lets you post about icecream. Seeing as firearm are used by our Police, and crowd control is a very current subject (though even I'm not keen on the idea of microwaving students), I'd say debates about Police attituide and the public attitude to policing methods are rellevant.
"......because I now have higher degrees and work in universities...." Ah, if only it were true! I have also got a degree and have worked in an Uni, and I don't think I've ever worked anywhere with more of a sense of detachment from reality (and that's considering I once did a six-month contract working for the IT Department of the Church of England!). Amazingly, after all your life experiences, your academic training, and your psychaitric training, you still happilly shovel all coppers into one little box as though they were factory-made in batches. I think the psychiatric term is deliberate dehumanisation, where your prejudices about a group of people that share a common trait (in this case a copper's uniform) mean you automatically expect the same behaviour of anyone sharing from that group. Newsflash - coppers are people too, they usually have very political views of a varied range, different beliefs and aspirations, and cannot be lumped into one box. Yes, there are "bad" coppres, but they are the minority. I don't assume all uni lecturers are clueless wastes-of-oxygen just becasue a few of mine were.
".....six officers with a very small, well-known bloke who was known to be gobby...." Yes, and was he being gobby with six officers in attendance? Part of policing is knowing when to call in re-inforcements to AVOID trouble. I have seen gobby individuals facing off a copper go very quiet when they see the riot van turn up, you might have seen the same if you've been out in one of our cities on a Saturday night. The trouble is sometimes they can't get the reinforcements and the gobby individual becomes a violent individual and someone - usually the gooby tw*t - gets hurt, because it's a lot harder to restrain a violent individual determined to cause trouble by yourself than with five colleagues, and people like you then grumble about "Police brutality". You also assume the coppers should have stuck around when I've no doubt your unit would have had their own security who are responsible for your protection, most hospitals seem to have had similar since the late 80's. If you were unhappy about your personal safety you should have asked your security team for help or asked the coppers to stay - they probably assumed a trained psychiatric nurse would be able to assess the situation and know to ask if they needed some help. Of course, it could have been the way you glared in hostility at them the minute they appeared which may have swung things to the "f*ck that for a laugh" option.
".....At least, you seem to be saying that a person, once (or maybe twice) labelled as a criminal or mentally ill sufficiently to require hospital treatment, should always be treated as such....." Yes, so when was the last time you saw coppers with the time to spare to wander around asking people on the street their medical history on the off chance they'd find a "nutter"? They don't. It is almost certain that the people they brought in to you were brought in for a reason, unfortunately for the mentally disabled because the public have called the coppers to complain about something they have done or becuase they are doing something that puts them at risk to themselves. Some coppers even use the offence of loitering as an excuse to get them in and out of the cold. I have known coppers that have stayed hours after their shift has ended, ringing round hospitals, hostels and even other stations so they can get a tramp or runaway a bed or a cell for the night so at least they're out of the snow. I dated one Jill that was known for it, so much so that her nickname down the station was Polly after the hotel maid in Faulty Towers. Whilst I suspect your job was not an easy one, you don't seem to have put any thought into how difficult a job it was for the Police to interact with your patients given their limited legal options.
".....I am (and always have been) a believer that it is better that ten guilty people go free than one innocent party be wrongfully punished....." So, you expect the guilty to be punished? So how do you expect them to get to the punishment stage without the coppers first arresting them? And, given that many people don't meekly accept the idea of being arrested (especially not Saturday-night drunks and anarchists at student protests), how do you expect the Police to do so without using some force? And then, how do you expect them to deal with armed drunks, like Mark Saunders, whom seem intent on death by copicide? In Mr Saunders' case, the options were zero - he was outside the range of a Taser and definately a truncheon, would not relinquish his weapon, had already fired it in a manner dangerous to the public (and the Police officers), and finally and deliberately aimed it at a copper. In that case, the microwave cannon that JaitcH is squealling about may have been the perfect option as a few blasts would probably have made Mr Saunders so uncomfortable he would have given up. Of course, it could also have pushed him into more shooting, but then that would have to be a decision made by the coppers at the time. In the event, Mr Saunders made an unacceptable threat to an officer's life by deliberately pointing his gun at him, so the Police shot him. Coppers have the right of self-defence too, you know.
You mentioned you watched the Police using heavy-handed and "illegal" tactics on the TV report of a student protest. The majority of students on the current demos in the UK want to protest in a legal manner, in fact they want the anarchists, vandals and other violent elements to take a hike because every time they show up the public gets a media frenzy of illegal "student" behaviour and that means the public are unsympathetic. The Police are happy to let the students protest when they do so in a legal manner, but when they stood back and assigned a small number of coppers, they had the Millbank Tower invasion, so you must be very obtuse to think they will be doing anything other than mass-policing of any ongoing student demos! A relative in the Met says the Police are chuffed that the organisers of the November 30th protest deliberately left the announced route and tried to escape the Police cordons as it means the Police now have a reason to question applications for protest marches from the same groups. And also because the frenzied pace of the march meant most students were too tired and confused to do anything other than slog along in the anarchists' wake! The November 28th protest at Lewisham Town Hall also did the student cause zero favours, it just made them all look like over-privelleged vandals. Several hours of peaceful protest got zero TV coverage, all the public saw was the footage of the riot.
All it would take would be some idiot following JaitcH's advice and crippling a policehorse (and if they do, expect said "heroic victim" horse to be on the TV news the next morning), and middle England's dwindling support for the students will disappear. And that's the homes for the majority of our uni students. We may raise an eyebrow at students breaking windows, tut at the stupidity of throwing an extinguisher off a roof, but injure one of Gawd's "dumb creatures" and the public's support nosedives.
/"Pedantic grammar nazi alert" as it's the closest we have to "ivory tower occupant detected alert" :P