Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

American Policing

 

 Pic courtesy Wikipedia

The picture above is relevant in terms of the ongoing debate about policing across the Pacific.

It was taken in Brisbane in early 1942 about the time of the Battle of Brisbane which resulted from tensions between Americans and Australians in general, and American MPs and Australian soldiers in particular.

The swaggering pose, and the behaviour that went with it, is what irritated military Australians, particularly those who were stationed in Brisbane at the time.

Now I'm no expert on the US, but I did spend some time there a few years ago, and what made a lasting impression was the contrast between Australian and American policing.

First up, there were so many different police forces on the streets of both Washington and New York, where I spent the bulk of my time. No doubt the big cities aren't representative of the whole country, but it's fair to compare what is obvious on the streets of say Sydney and Brisbane with what observable in New York. The first impression is of the noise they make. Sirens are everywhere, and each police force seems to have its own dedicated siren tone.

It was not unusual to see two or three different police squads, from different jurisdictions, on one street block. This is unsurprising when you understand that there are over 500 different law enforcement agencies in that state. 

They also wear different uniforms, although all are militaristic in appearance.

But what is immediately obvious to a visiting Australian is the swagger and intimidation generated by their presence. They appear to intentionally promote an image of power and force which is unique to the metropolitan USA.

I have no doubt that this swagger and intimidation is what got under the skin of Diggers in 1942. It hasn't changed and is obviously cultural.

It is easy to understand the current controversy when you compare. Our coppers can be arrogant and intimidatory, but I have seen little of that, even though sidearms, uniforms, and demeanour have changed enormously here in my lifetime.

I guess if you are plod in the USA, and you know that every punter could be carrying a concealed firearm, you'd be toey.

The Americans, with their insane gun laws, have made their bed, and I guess they'll have to sleep in it. 

Let's hope we maintain the NFA.

Comments closed.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Our coppers can be arrogant and intimidatory, but I have seen little of that"
You must be blind or obtuse to have missed VicPlod intimidate little old ladies and assorted peaceful citizens during Chairman Dan's lock down.
John Grey

1735099 said...

I know a few "little old ladies" in Victoria.
None of them have reported being intimidated.
They would, however, be quite offended by what you have called them.

Anonymous said...

Nice try at moving the argument to another issue, but my point remains.
There has been a lot of reporting of police intimidation of peaceful citizens in Victoria, including the harassment of little old ladies.
They may not have reported to you but you are not the centre go the universe.
The media reported it, several times accompanied by video evidence.
John Grey.

Anonymous said...

"They would, however, be quite offended by what you have called them."
No chance of that happening.
Hardly anyone reads this vanity blog.
Just me and a couple of others.
You must be so proud.
John Grey.

1735099 said...

There has been a lot of reporting of police intimidation of peaceful citizens in Victoria
"Peaceful citizens" who break traffic laws are routinely pulled over and booked. Is that "intimidation?"
Hardly anyone reads this vanity blog. Just me and a couple of others.
Except for 221000 views and 28300 comments*.
You have a strange definition of "hardly anyone".
*Blog stats.

Anonymous said...

28300 comments*.

That's about 5 per day since you started 15 years ago.
So yes, "hardly anyone" is correct.

Anonymous said...

John Grey...your description of the plod's exploits in Victoria is over the top, mate. Be realistic and compare the numbers of incidents to the numbers of little old ladies and others. There is a possibility that somebody in Toowoomba may have missed the thousands of upset people you allude to, and you have to accept that there are none so blind as those who do not wish to see.
1735069...if the blog stats are accurate and you display most comments, then you have a lot of passing traffic who see nothing of interest to either compliment or question. That sort of displays a lot of disinterest actually.

1735099 said...

That sort of displays a lot of disinterest actually.
They must be interested enough to view the site, but not prepared to comment.
That's fine.
I have no problem with lurkers.

Anonymous said...

"They must be interested enough to view the site"...you might find they just check the number to see who is attached to it, as I did. That is what brought me here. I remain your oldest "lurker" and if it wasn't for the attraction John Grey has for you and the relationship you two have built up I wouldn't be here either. I say that because you are barely entertainment value. It is a pity, because I was with Seven during your time there in the funny country and unfortunately you have managed to disappoint with many of your contributions to your own site.

1735099 said...

I say that because you are barely entertainment value.
I write to make you think - not to entertain.
Once a teacher - always a teacher...

Anonymous said...

Speaking of that relationship mentioned above - just a reminder to Bob that the non-de-plume of "John Grey" as in Sir John Grey Gorton is a permanent statement of fact: "In April 1970 Gorton announced the first Australian troop withdrawal: a battalion returning in November would not be replaced."
Chalk one up to the conservative side of politics.
John Grey.

Anonymous said...

"I write to make you think - not to entertain."
More self serving rubbish.
Posts on cars and golf are meant to make the two readers of this site think?
No, they are written for self aggrandisement.
John Grey.

1735099 said...

In April 1970 Gorton announced the first Australian troop withdrawal: a battalion returning in November would not be replaced.

Gorton was the only PM during the Vietnam era who had seen active service, as Whitlam had also, both in the RAAF. Both had seen the reality of armed conflict, and I sometimes wonder whether Gorton's memories influenced his decision.
He wore the physical scars on his face, as a consequence of a forced landing in a Hurricane in January 1942.
The decision to withdraw should have been made in 1968, by which time the Pentagon papers had revealed that the war was unwinnable. Such a decision would have saved many Australian lives and would have made no difference to the ultimate outcome. All Australian units should have been withdrawn at the same time.
That same decision comprised the lives of what remained of the Australian task force, as there was no way two battalions could maintain security.
As it was, the withdrawal of the Centurions in September 1971 compromised the capacity of the remaining two battalions left in-country, as 4 RAR discovered in September 1971 at Nui Le.

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