Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Ghost police

Back in September I wrote:
if you get assaulted by a Finnish riot cop, how can you know who it was? I've seen loads of pictures of them in news magazines and the papers and from what I can see they have no distinguishing marks.
It seems the answer is that you can't. According to Helsingin Sanomat:
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Finland’s central criminal police, have so far failed to ascertain the identity of those police officers who possibly used excessive force in conjunction with the arrests of demonstrators taking part in the Smash Asem protest in front of Kiasma, the Museum of Contemporary Art in central Helsinki, in September last year.
So the Feds can't identify their own colleagues. The thin blue line stands firm. Back last September, my mate Nikko informed me in the comments to my original post that the police can choose when on riot duty whether they wear distinguishing patches or not. In this case clearly they chose the "not" option. I said then it seemed a very stupid policy, the failure of the NBI's investigation only reinforces that opinion. No one is suggesting their names and home addresses should be visible, but their serial numbers should be.

I have a lot of sympathy for the police, they often are doing a thankless task in "damned if they do, damned if they don't" style situations. But when they put themselves above the law (as in this case by either not coming forward and identifying themselves and explaining their actions; or with colleagues not stepping forward to name names), they are their own worse enemies.


KGS said...

Hi Toby,

You've made a valid point, There should be no reason for not wearing a badge, and for those involved in the "roughing up" not coming forward to explain their version of the story.

It most certainly is a failed policy if the police can't even come up with a name of "one of their own men".....

Martin-√Čric said...

EU should pass a law mandating that all men in uniform (border guards, police, private security guards, etc.) have their name and badge number on their uniform and in plain unobstructed view at all times, regardless of whether they are wearing their everyday uniform or some special riot gear.

All member states should be forced to implement it within 90 days of EU passing this Law or otherwise face immediate expulsion from EU.

Men in uniform found guilty of not respecting this law should be jailed and forever prevented from ever working in the field or in any other governmental or para-governmental position.

There really is NO room for tolerance on such matters. Zero tolerance applies to state employees too, not just to the average punter, and that message ought to be loud and clear.