Three days ago I wrote about truth. One of the lessons I have learned over many years of the study of Dr Covey’s works has been this – what we are being told is rarely, ever, the wholly accurate truth. That use of the gap between stimulus and response which contains self-awareness, creative imagination, independent will and conscience has awakened me to how much people’s bias or motives intrude upon communication and debate.
This week the press reported that there had been an upsurge in complaints against the (British) police, up to 35,000 recorded in the latest recorded year. One paper said that was evidence of a police force that did not respect the people. Many complaints were for ‘incivility’, some for ‘neglect of duty’.
Of course some complaints are justified. Some are genuine misunderstandings about what was and was not possible (based on watching NCIS and The Bill). Occasionally it is a procedural complaint that a process failed.
But the media was focused on the numbers, but it notably left some numbers unreported, or unrecorded. And they did no analysis of their own.
For example – 35,000 complaints among 140,000 officers meant only one in four officers was ever complained about, and complained about only once in that year. In hundreds and hundreds of interactions, in 200 days of working. Takes the tint off a bit.
Next, no measure was provided about how many of those complaints were be people later charged, or convicted in connection with the incident giving rise to the complaint. I’d ask this because (and this may surprise you) some criminals/people are dishonest.
Of course, you can’t measure complaints by those who just won’t listen – people who lose things insisting on a ‘crime report’; people who instigate fights complaining that they were assaulted; people who ‘think’ they know the law – but patently don’t.
That reminds me about one person who didn’t complain, but he arguably could have. I was parked blocking a road with my marked police car, blue lights flashing. A man drove up.
“Can I drive through, officer?”
“Only if one of us is a ghost, sir,” I replied. Sarcasm. Not allowed any more.
Anyway, this particular newspaper report hit close to home, it’s something I know a lot about. I was once ‘top of the force’ for complaints (preen, preen) and I know how much some of them are instigated by defence lawyers as a bargaining chip.
What is the situation like in your own sector – are people lying – sorry, being disingenuous about you and your colleagues?
If so, could you apply the Third Resolution and do something about it?