For those who have ever suffered in the witness box under the hands of some smart arse defence team lawyer, this piece was circulating via social media during the week…
Police officers (and any prosecution witnesses for that mattter) often get a hard time when they have to testify in court, If you’re ever in that possition you might wish you could have been as sharp as this American policeman.
The officer was being cross-examined by a defence attorney during a felony trial and the lawyer was trying to undermine the police officer’s credibility…
Q: ‘Officer — did you see my client fleeing the scene?’
A: ‘No sir. But I subsequently observed a person matching the description of the offender, running several blocks away.’
Q: ‘Officer, who provided this description?’
A: ‘The officer who responded to the scene.’
Q: ‘A fellow officer provided the description of this so-called offender. Do you trust your fellow officers?’
A: ‘Yes, sir. With my life.’
Q: ‘With your life? Let me ask you this then officer. Do you have a room where you change your clothes in preparation for your daily duties?’
A: ‘Yes sir, we do!’
Q: ‘And do you have a locker in the room?’
A: ‘Yes, sir, I do.’
Q: ‘And do you have a lock on your locker?’
A: ‘Yes, sir.’
Q: ‘Now, why is it, officer, if you trust your fellow officers with your life, you find it necessary to lock your locker in a room you share with these same officers?’
A: ‘You see, sir, we share the building with the court complex, and sometimes lawyers have been known to walk through that room.’
The courtroom EXPLODED with laughter, and a prompt recess was called. The officer on the stand has been nominated for this year’s ‘Best Comeback’ line — perhaps he’ll win!
Throughout my police career, even more so towards the end, I was constantly frustrated by aspiring senior officers and police staff managers. Most of them were in relatively unimportant non operational departments but latterly, even operational policing wasn’t immune to their tinkering.
These people often had little or no apparent interest in the police process. Policing to them was little more than a conduit for their own personal advancement.
Many were simply but constantly trying to make a name for themselves by ‘fixing’ things that often weren’t broken. The proverbial new broom sweeping cleaner!
It’s the main reason why so many politicians are wrong to say, the police service is resistant to change, it isn’t. British policing has, rightly or wrongly, been in a constant state of flux for the decades and even more so during the last twenty years.
Changes at national, regional and local level have been implemented for political, financial or personal reasons. But the fundamental core process of British policing has never changed since it’s inception and arguably, neither does it need to.
Check it out…the lesson here is don’t be fooled by flashy new methods or operating models. Look at the entire process, not just the bit that seems the most obvious or impressive, and always asess benefit from the perspective of the customer or service user…(Insp Simon Guilfoyle)
Simon Guilfoyle is a serving police Inspector and academically qualified systems thinker. Simon has written several blog posts on police process and procedures. More importantly, he explains in easy to understand terms, where too often it all goes sadly wrong.
Simon points out that the key tenets of systems thinking is understanding variation. Too often, the changes we see being implemented in the police service (and other public services) are dictated by political decisions based upon suspect statistics, and knee-jerk reactions to that data.
Simon’s Blog is worthy of a follow, always assuming you have any interest in this subject matter.
- The changing face of British policing? (bankbabble.wordpress.com)