I was on the bus from Walton (Liverpool) when it stopped at a designated stop. Two ticket inspectors got on the bus to check passenger tickets. Okay, nothing unusual in that. Except in front of the bus was a police van with its doors open to receive anyone who did not have a ticket. Anyone wanting to lave the bus had his or her way blocked by a fully kitted out police officer.
Again, on the train a few days later two community police persons were patrolling the length of the train reinforcing the train company’s regulations.
Whilst passengers can accept the occasional ticket inspector, who is an employee of the company who operate the services, it is a bit much that the police should back them up and that they (the operator’s employees) have their job done by community police.
There can be no excuse for this other than to intimidate people by accusing all people of fare dodging until it has been proved otherwise. The police have no presence in the local communities and when they do come into the areas it is in heavy armour and always with lights flashing and sirens screeching. Local attitudes toward police are not favourable and are hardly going to be changed by having police acting like uniformed bouncers on public transport.
Why does this idea matter?
Whilst society needs guardians to maintain the laws of that society, it suggests a very unstable society if it has those guardians intimidating citizens.
In my time I have never heard such widespread contempt for the police. They operate from central stations and are physically and emotionally detached from the areas that they are supposed to be protecting.
This is not about simply making people feel safer within their communities it is demonstrating to people why communities matter. If the local authorities can treat their electorate with such disdain is it any wonder that people see no reason to vote.