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As I indicated yesterday, my afternoon was spent regaling a crowd of mature people with my reminiscences and observations on policing, 1986 and 2020 style. During that talk, I spoke of how, in the ‘olden days’ of 34 years ago, training of officers was based on laws and practices of law enforcement and how, in the mid-1990s, the focus swung its pendulum from that and more towards teaching diversity. Now, that was an exaggeration and the example I used was how detailed and deep training on The Theft Act was now 7 pages of the training material, whereas diversity was 14. Which might explain why coppers can’t investigate without the internet, any more. 😊

My point, poorly made, was to show how diffusion of training to soft skills had an effect on law enforcement.

Afterwards, two people came up to me and challenged me on the basis that (they heard) I’d said diversity training wasn’t important which was not my intention. It became clear that one lady – an equalities trainer – had an expertise in this area that I did not, but it also meant she had a passion on the subject which I will never match. As Covey said, “One man’s mission is another man’s minutia.”

I countered her ‘need for training’ with a ‘just be nice to everybody’ argument, but then person number two said – and this made me really think – ‘Some people need to be taught how to be nice.’

Now THAT was an argument that I’d never considered, but it made sense. An AHA! Moment.

I come from the school of thought borne of the First Habit ‘ Be Proactive’ which promotes the idea that we all have an ability to choose our response to stimuli. This means that when someone (person 1?) tells me that poverty causes crime/stabbings, I respond, “Doesn’t have to, therefore it is not an excuse.”

But person 2’s statement really piqued my interest. I guess some people DO have to be taught how to be nice.

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t believe we need three day courses on other cultures to be nice. I believe we simply have to have a half-day course to suggest that other cultures exist, and people may not see things the way I do – but I may not see things the way they do, either.

But in these times of polarity, how about having learned and understood that, instead of screaming every time someone inadvertently transgresses (or tells what is clearly a joke), we try forgiving them and politely asking them, once, not to do it again.

THAT is how you build bridges – not by bombing the other side of the river.

So while person 1’s attack and demand that I understand – no, actively AGREE with – her point didn’t work, that one sentence from person two, which was not directed AT me but FOR me, made me think.

I still don’t believe that ‘poverty’ is an excuse for criminality, but I can see how an upbringing that isn’t all it could be can explain distrust and an argumentative nature. And for that reason I’d love it if the sociologists would stop spreading the ‘poverty is a reason and therefore an excuse for crime’ meme and try, instead and with the same end, the ‘you are not a product of your environment unless you choose to be – and if you choose crime you choose the consequences’ argument.

And teach it in schools, before it’s too late.

If I had a big lottery win…….