A timely reminder about our oath
Last week, three new recruits for South Holland proudly made their attestation. It’s an oath we all take when we join the police: “I, .. ......of Lincolnshire Police do solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that I will well and truly serve the Queen in the office of constable, with fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality, upholding fundamental human rights and according equal respect to all people; and that I will, to the best of my power, cause the peace to be kept and preserved and prevent all offences against people and property; and that while I continue to hold the said office I will to the best of my skill and knowledge discharge all the duties thereof faithfully according to law. This got me thinking.
It’s a timely reminder for all South Holland officers about our oath.
Policing is not an easy vocation. Some people love us, some people hate us. Some mistrust us while others have experienced the service we offer when my officers have gone the extra mile. Much of policing takes place at moments of human crisis. Our community relies on my officers to tackle many difficulties which may be a crime, but are often mental health, social or environmental issues that don’t require police powers.
I can’t change police numbers; I can’t change the laws and national policies that govern our actions.
What I can do is make sure that, with the resources we have, we do everything we can to put the right officers in the right place at the right time. This is a challenge that we can’t always achieve but I write these weekly columns in the hope of providing readers with an honest insight in to modern policing.
None of us know what the coming decades will bring for our new recruits.
I’m sure that, despite new technology, some aspects of policing will never change. During their careers, these new officers will encounter violence, hate and conflict. They will learn to be calmly professional when dealing with sudden death and the recently bereaved. They will have to bring order to the chaos of traffic collisions.
They will learn tolerance when dealing with the endless inane chatter from drunks at three in the morning that either want to fight the world or be your new best friend. But they will also experience being part of the police family and the sense of public service.
Back in the 1830s Sir Robert Peel, the founder of the modern police service, instructed that the police should ‘maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence’.
A sound principle that still fits the needs of the 21st century and one that will help our new recruits on their first steps on patrol.
Good luck, Charley, Lewis and Ryan.