Thursday, 4 September 2008

Freedom of Speech?


Consternation and controversy in police blogland today. Inspector Gadget whose blog I read regularly seems to be in some kind of trouble in relation to his blog. He has received lots of supportive messages from his loyal readership, who value his commentary on the frustrations of life as a police inspector in the face of the obstacles he perceives lie in the path of the police as they try to do their job of preventing crime and/or catching culprits.

The reason I read police blogs is that day by day in prison I meet offenders but I don't meet their victims (or their victims' families where the victims are dead). Many times crimes are committed under the influence of alcohol. In sobriety, in jail, the offender seems quite innocuous. Whilst I am fully committed, as a Christian, to loving these guys, I am not at all obliged to see them as nice in order to love them. I am committed to avoiding colluding or being manipulated. And so I do find that reading police blogs helps me always to remember that these guys, nice as they seem, and nice as they sometimes are in Prisonworld, have done very horrible things and there are victims. Police sometimes see the crime happening and usually see the victim. They provide me with the balance I need. That's my simple and basic reason for reading these blogs but in the process I learn a lot, and I sincerely hope Inspector Gadget isn't silenced. We need the prophetic voice in society speaking out the truth fearlessly. I'm pretty sure the Old Testament prophets would have used the internet if it was around then!

The police blogs I read don't name members of the public - either offenders or victims - and they don't even identify in which region they are based.

I, too, take seriously that I am a public servant, taking the queen's shilling. That's why I blog anonymously, and don't even name the prisons I work in. I could write a far more interesting (and juicy) blog if I recounted the stories prisoners tell me about their lives and crimes, but I recognise that would be highly unethical. So I keep things very general, even though I recognise they are less interesting that way.

Meanwhile, I hope that Inspector Gadget and all the rest of us aren't stopped from blogging about our work, and being HONEST. Blog on, I say!

7 comments:

Noddy said...

Start worrying!

Noddy said...

This is why.

Sage said...

I like your blog as it is, anonymous and sanitised is good. Don't need the information other than the occasional first name or like I use SOH..

Keep up the good work.

dickiebo said...

What price 'Freedom of Speech'? And we kid ourselves that we live in a democracy! We can only say that because most other countries are even worse. The root cause of all (sorry, most)evil - Politicians.

Baino said...

I used to work for a national Police IT department, we had the national fingerprint database, national names index etc and as such were privvy to the Police Gazette . .graphic in the least in it's depiction of crime committed. It's important to remember that for every prisoner you mentor, there is a family interrupted. Tough job you do my girl. Indeed tough job for the police also. These are the dark realms that the public hears little about.

Jay said...

That's very sad. I guess there may be something in the police contract of employment that forbids discussion of work matters outside work, but it does rather smack of a 'freedom of speech' issue, doesn't it? I hope Inspector Gadget doesn't get thrown to the dogs...

girl uninterrupted said...

I know that as part of my contract/ code of ethics I'm bound by, I'm not allowed to discuss the yp I come into contact with or any of the stories they tell me either, and like you anne, I imagine my would be interesting reading !