Life in a Police State

Author: Pat Nurse
Article Published: 16/06/2008

News that the middle classes in Britain have lost faith in the police is surprising as they are the ones who are always calling for more bobbies on the beat. I have had only one occasion to call the police for help and the impression I was left with was one of an organisation full of bullies, thugs and cowards. The experience cost me my job, my way of life, my husband’s freedom, and the respect I once had for those in the police force whom I always believed had a very difficult job to do.

It was three years ago. I lived just up the road from the police station and I worked as a court reporter at the time. I loved the job but was often dismayed at the waste of public funds in prosecuting people for such grave offences as stealing a packet of crisps, walking down the street carrying a can of beer, or urinating in a public place. One man felt the full force of the law because he jumped into the river late one night when drunk.

The main stream of cases were usually drunk and disorderly but often, when the facts were read out, it was possible to see how one drunk with an altered frame of common sense could easily be provoked by a police officer who then had an easy "nick" and yet more arrest figures to keep the Government happy that the force was meeting it’s targets in relation to drink-fuelled crime.

Thanks to former Home Secretary David Blunket’s anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) laws, youths from the north, south, east, and west, of my city were given ASBOs which meant they could not hang around their local areas.

That forced them all to congregate in one huge gang in the central area close to where I lived at that time. Several residents, shop keepers and local business owners complained often and yet these kids still got away with being drunk on the street, vandalising and smashing windows and very little appeared to be done by the police except an attempt to move them on.

I’d heard about this problem but I’d never experienced any trouble myself …. Until the night of January 14, 2005, when my life was about to change forever.

My husband, Paul, takes our dog out at the same time every night and this evening, at about 8.30pm, was no exception.

As soon as he got outside, he noticed several kids sitting on his car, beer cans littered the streets, they were drinking heavily, and unwisely as he walked past, he told them to get off his car, pick up their rubbish and move on.

Instantly he was attacked by six young girls who pushed, shoved and kicked him. In the fracas, as he tried to protect himself, the dog got loose and ran off. Paul came running into our house only to be chased inside by a young girl who I managed to push outside before calling the police.

I was traumatised to see a very large crowd of 30 youths (my neighbour counted them) all shouting abuse and throwing stuff at the house. Paul stood guard by the gate in the hope that his presence would mean they wouldn’t brick our windows.

All the time they were screaming such things as : "You have no idea who you’re messing with. We are from a big family and we’ll get you.. ..and then we’ll get you done by the police. You can’t touch us, we’re only 15."

I sensed Paul was in danger and so I pushed him behind me, thinking the youths would be less likely to attack me if I tried to calm the situation down. Paul said nothing but waited on hand in case he had to jump to my defence. We were both in my front garden when suddenly from no-where one of the youths threw a full can of beer at Paul. It hit him squarely in the eye, blood poured down his face. He felt sick and weak and dropped to sit on the front doorstep.

The youths moved in like a pack of dogs to finish the kill as I tried desperately to keep them back. One girl slipped past me and pushed her face up close to Paul. Again she screamed abuse at him, telling him how she was going to get her family to sort him out. All he could do to get her away from him was spit in her face.

Profanities tore from her mouth as she marched towards me.

"Did you see that! That’s a F…… assault and you’re a witness. I’m gonna get that B…… done when the police get here," she screamed.

I shook but didn’t think for one minute that the police would take her seriously. I willed them to arrive which they did shortly afterwards.

Two police cars drew up in the street, officers got out and went immediately to the youths. They did not come to see us for some time. When they did, and saw the state of Paul’s eye, an ambulance was called. When it arrived in the street, the paramedics could not put Paul into it because these kids were shaking and rocking the ambulance and they were too terrified to go outside.

A few minutes later, there was a knock on the door and as the youths had threatened, there stood the parents of this girl with the big family and they were making threats. Luckily for us, one police officer was in our house and he managed to get the parents to go away. I wonder what promises he made to them after the way things ultimately turned out.

After 20 minutes, police had arrested two youths - for verbally abusive behaviour towards the officers dealing with the incident - and the ambulance was on it’s way.

The news at the hospital was not good. Paul permanently lost the sight in his left eye.

I began to live in fear of further attacks because the youths had promised they would return to do worse things, and in fact, a week later I did have cause to call the police again when another large group began to congregate in the street. Kids were sniggering as they pointed to our house and I was worried but the police, when they finally arrived, assured me it wasn’t the same group and they had been moved on.

Still my fear led me to call the police often for information as to what had happened, and if any arrests been made. I was never told. They took witness statements from me, Paul, and our neighbour who at that time worked for the local MP. Her statement supported our account of what happened.

We heard nothing for a month. My sister had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and I had promised to go with her for her first chemotherapy session.

But at 7.30am that morning, February 17, 2005, there was a knock on the door, and outside were six police officers. I trembled in absolute fear as they arrested Paul and took him away. My son was off school and I had no idea when Paul would be back so that I could honour the commitment I’d made to my sister. At the 11th hour, I managed to get a babysitter but my sister spent the day comforting me rather than the other way around as I heard nothing about what was happening to Paul.

Eventually, I contacted a solicitor that I knew from my court work, and he found out that Paul was to be kept in custody, taken to court the next morning and charged with Actual Bodily Harm. An application to remand him to prison until his trial could be heard was to be made.

He advised me that I could take the medicine prescribed by the doctor to the police station in the hope that it would be passed on.

The next morning in court, the prosecutor struggled to persuade the magistrates to remand Paul. There was no evidence that he had done anything wrong other than statements from the youths involved who all said he started the trouble and they were only defending themselves. ..but then they would, wouldn’t they?

Paul was released on bail after 26 hours of being locked up. After four months of court hearings, he was asked to accept a bind over to keep the peace but he wouldn’t as we both maintained he had done nothing wrong. The case was then thrown out through lack of evidence.

Only one youth was ever prosecuted as a result of this incident. He received kiddie probation for three months. I’ve since heard that the ringleaders of these youths, now adults in the eyes of the law, have since been imprisoned for violent offences which included stamping on someone’s head.

I tried to go back to work but I lost enthusiasm for my job and I couldn’t sit and see people penalised for offences that were no where near as serious as what happened to us. I also lost faith in our judicial system and it all seemed such a farce.

In addition, I still didn’t know, because there was never any trial, whether or not the job I did brought that trouble to my house. I had written about a group of youths the week before, from the same areas as the ones who blinded Paul, and I had managed to get the automatic court order which prevents identification of anyone under the age of 18 lifted. Was this some sort of revenge? We will never know because the police, in my opinion, failed to do their job properly.

Paul has not worked since this incident. Not only has he lost his sight, but also most of his confidence.

He tried to claim criminal injuries compensation but it was turned down. The police still maintain, despite the lack of a conviction, and despite a lack of evidence, that Paul was the only one to blame for what happened.

Paul appealed, but this was turned down thanks to a report the police submitted. We will never know the contents but we were told by the Criminal Injuries Board that Paul contributed to his own injury by spitting at the girl who abused him on the doorstep.

One thing I do know is that British Justice is dead. We live in a police state now. Armies of them roam the streets and town centres at night and I believe they cause as many problems as we send them out there to solve. They have far too much power and they don’t use it impartially.

The middle classes may now be moaning but they have got exactly what they wanted - more bobbies on the beat. What did they expect? More police officers means more arrests and if there isn’t enough crime then more laws have to be designed to ensure that there is enough work to keep them employed.

And let’s not forget that this useless Government, which took a great socialist party and killed it for personal advancement, has created 3,000 more offences since it came to power in 1997 - the most bizarre being the smoking ban.

How long, I wonder, will it be before our Gestapo police force walks past someone being attacked on the street to walk into a pub and drag someone off to a cell for smoking because it is a far easier target that actually dealing with a serious offender.

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