Common Policing Misconceptions

In an idle moment yesterday (I have so much more time now that I’m out of the “PCC race”!), it struck me that there’s an ever-growing list of misconceptions in British Policing. Having checked on Wikipedia, it seems these have been poorly chronicled to date.

So, here’s the headline entries for my initial “Misconceptions in British Policing” list:

  • Frontline
  • 20% cuts
  • #PFTP
  • Police Privatisation
  • Politics In Policing

Some of these are linked to honest misconceptions, others originate in mischievous or even tendentious intent. Over the coming weeks, I’ll explain more about each one, and set out why I’ve put them in this list.

Have you any more to suggest? Or perhaps you want to comment on the “headline entries” I’ve suggested?

FOOTNOTE: Many thanks to Stuart Lister (@StuartLister1) for the following early contribution via Twitter:

Well the biggest, Bernard, must be that responsibility for ‘policing’ rests solely with the (state) institution of ‘the police’.

UPDATES (15th and 16th July): Several further suggestions now added by others as comments, plus three contributions (One, Two and Three) from @cate_a_moore via Twitter. And one from @Will_Tanner, one from @Peter_Kirkham, one from spoof account @SirIanBlair (no, not the real one), one from @DurhamSBBsec.



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7 responses to “Common Policing Misconceptions

  1. @barrackslass

    What about the fact that all bosses are apparently only interested in progressing their career and don’t care about their staff or the public?

  2. benjamyn

    Others include : Fear of crime is going up; It takes all day to complete a file for a simple speeding/shoplifting/assault matter so cops don’t bother; police pensions are going down; the police spend all their time fabricating evidence etc etc


    How about “The Private Sector is always more efficient than the Public Sector” ? That’s a very common misconception at the moment.

  4. I think most people forget that we are human just like them! Most of us have families and switch off (although not completely) when we’re on our time off. Some people clam up or look really uncomfortable when they find out you’re a police officer. Also the misconception that we can put up with constant abuse without ever showing emotion. Everyone has a breaking point and although we strive to remain professional at all times, we shouldn’t have to put up with violence and abuse just because of the job we do. Thanks for the mental stimulation!

  5. David Lawrence

    Humans are animals too, as such they observe the maximum whilst on foot at a walking pace. This I find when delivering political leaflets then I learn more of the Ward. The bobby on the beat is not a myth but the only thorough way – it may not be affordable all the time but at least once a year every street should be walked and the car left behind.

  6. My experience is the police officers know ‘what’ they need to do and they know ‘how’ they need to do it but there is a lack ok knowledge about ‘why’ they do it. Legitimacy and social contract are crucial elements that will help the police to understand where their powers come from and why the public allows them to use these powers.

  7. Looking forward to your definition of Frontline.

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