There is long tradition in England of the concept of “policing by consent”. How long a tradition? It was documented by the founder of the modern police force, Sir Robert Peel in 1829. The nine principles describe how a police force can be accepted by the public only if they understand the concept of “policing by consent”.
The corollary of this is losing the support of the public and having to choose between political orders or the public will.
It would seem this choice is rapidly approaching Mick Fuller, the Commissioner of the NSW police force.
In the last two weeks he has demanded additional, unprecedented powers….which were granted within the day. He has also informed his staff he will be taking no disciplinary action should they be over-zealous in their interpretation of these authoritarian powers.
That’s nice. More powers, fewer controls, checks and balances. Accountability is clearly not a priority. Who wouldn’t want a job description like that?
This weekend, however, things have been kicking off a little. A violent protest in Sydney yesterday and, today, a pop up protest on the border with Queen’sland. I particularly enjoyed the report of the protestor asking the police who they thought they worked for.
All this is just before the new law kicks in requiring people to wear masks outside. What percentage of the population is going to ignore that unscientific restriction, do we think? Not insignificant, I suspect.
That will pose a conundrum for Mick. Quite how many arrests and fines will he and his police force be prepared to hand out before it becomes apparent they’ve lost the consent of the public?
If you’re not policing by consent, what type of police force are you, Mick? For a clue, have a look at some of the shittier places in the world, particularly the ones with the colour green on their flag.
The case count in the two major states of Australia are growing greater by the day. New South Wales will hit 1,000 a day by the end of next week.
Let me repeat that, good. It’s great news.
Why? Because the faster this outbreak gets out of reach of the authoritarians and petty rule makers, the sooner they will be forced to come to terms with the concept of trade offs and individual risk management.
We are in desperate need of some light relief in these scary times at the end of the western experiment with civilisation.
Watching mediocre career politicians such as Dan Andrews, Gladys Berejiklian, Scott Morrison et al having to come face to face with their failed strategies and brutal tactics is going to be a very pleasant diversion over the next few weeks.
As for Mick Fuller, Sir Robert Peel is turning in his grave.