As a response to Amazon’s unbelievable decision to continue selling “Blue Lives Murder” merchandise and the hostile, biased media, I’ve taken the very unusual step of writing this response.
If some of the words seem familiar, that’s because others have written along similar lines but these thoughts reflect my experiences.
Quite frankly I’ve had enough of police-bashing. Let me tell you what the overwhelming majority of police officers do.
I have spent 30 years of my adult life as a police officer. In that time I have seriously injured or killed a total of ZERO people. I like to think I’ve helped hundreds.
I have seen the best and worst side of humanity… criminally neglected and sexually abused children, bloody mangled bodies at fatal road traffic crashes, bruised, battered and terrified victims of domestic violence, parents cradling dead children, the haunting screams when I have told people that their loved ones have died. I’ve been the first in the scene and dealt with the horror of murder, suicide and appalling self harm.
Over those years I have had to watch post mortems of suspicious deaths including children – which drove me to drink – and I’ve brought offenders fairly to justice. I’ve been a detective, trying to bring some good out of man’s inhumanity to man. Sometimes I couldn’t and victims and families suffer through the injustice to this day. I still hurt for them.
I have carried a firearm and been a public order trained officer. I’ve commanded live firearms and violent “riot” type incidents.
I have been in very scary situations. On occasions I’ve thought, “if this goes wrong, I or my brave, brave officers might be badly hurt or worse!”
I have cried and watched colleagues cry and hugged them after they have been to sudden deaths of babies, young children or of colleagues.
I like to think that I have made a difference no matter how small.
I have ensured those very few officers who fell below the standards and values the rest of us hold dear have been dealt with through due process. Some lost their jobs. Some went to prison.
I have done this without discrimination. As have the overwhelming majority of my former colleagues – and thousands still do today.
But please remember police officers are more than just the uniform. They are daughters, sons, partners, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, relatives, friends and human beings.
You may have had a bad interaction with the police which may have been your fault, it may have been theirs. They may have had a “bad day” and, despite the fact they should put that to one side, sometimes they can’t quite act as normal.
If your opinion of the police is the umbrella term “ACAB” or “Blue Lives Murder”, please reflect.
Can we all be judged by the actions of the few? Do you really believe that we, your fellow human beings, join and stay in the job to bully and discriminate? Think about it. We live and breathe the ethos of helping all, even in retirement.
Like all emergency workers, police work endless hours and often have birthdays, Christmases, holidays and down time cancelled.
We might moan a bit about that but we do it anyway because we care and want to make your world safer.
Please think before you judge any group by the dreadful actions of the tiny minority. Trust me, we agree they have no place in policing but the overwhelming majority deserve your support and understanding.
Graham Bartlett is an author and retired police officer. He served as divisional commander of Brighton and Hove.