I’m done too.

In the last twenty-four hours, over a quarter of a million people have read the ‘I’m done‘ post. One cop wrote to me anonymously. These are their words.

I’m done too.

I’m done with the self-appointed monitors of policing who feel it’s their place to photograph, video and (sometimes) selectively edit recordings of police doing their jobs. I’m done with people who misrepresent the truth for publicity, to self-promote and, sometimes, for mischief. I’m tired of people who value ‘likes’ on their chosen social media platform above helping a lone officer struggling to detain a violent person. I’m done with the cowards in society who would rather film a cop being beaten up than pitch in to help him or her. I’m done with people who ‘know their rights’ and who consider that (often mistaken) knowledge is sufficient justification to kick, punch and spit at police officers.

I’m done with people who tell us to do more stop-and-search in response to escalating knife crime but who then criticise us when the criminals who get caught as a result bleat about having their civil rights breached.

I’m done with criminals using the complaints system and legal process to intimidate hard working cops. Yes, that is what happens. Criminals use both to try and make it easier to continue with their activities, uninterrupted. And I’m done with the payouts made to criminals because our legal system has created a situation where firms of lawyers can tout for business, encourage civil actions and know their clients will get paid out because it’s actually cheaper for the police to do that than fight the case – regardless of the result.

I’m done with an organisation where the policy is to punish rather than forgive, to discipline rather than teach. I’m done with fearing if I make a mistake that I will be punished rather than have my employers accept I hadn’t been taught or trained as well as I should have been. And, while I’m on that subject, I’m angry too. I’m angry that Hendon, the flagship of police training, has been demolished and sold off to developers. That the swimming pool where officers were taught life-saving techniques is now gone. That the sports facilities, the gymnasiums, the canteens, even the police stations themselves are all gone. The police section houses are gone. Even New Scotland Yard was demolished and the site sold.

I’m done with being photographed and criticised – sometimes, even fined – for using a public cafe to eat when all the police canteens have gone. I’m done with having to travel across London to one of the few remaining custody suites where prisoners can be processed and where we have to wait in a huge queue to have a detained person booked in. I’m done with being asked by my supervisors not to arrest people because that means I will be off the ground, unavailable and the calls will soon build up.

I’m tired of trying to do the job to a standard the public has a right to expect but that forty-thousand more us used to be available to do. Think about that for a minute. Forty-thousand less police officers in the UK than there were ten years ago. And all because one Home Secretary considered the ‘role of the police is to fight crime, nothing more, nothing less.’ So, when I’m directing traffic, helping someone find their lost child, trying to find a missing person, supervising a demonstration or football crowd, or many of the other non-crime related roles that fall to the police, I’m reminded that one politician decided society needed less cops.

But, you know what? I’m not so tired I’m about to give up. Because I still believe in working for a better society. The reasons I became a police officer are still valid. I still want to help people. I still want to put bad people behind bars. Policing has to be accountable, I don’t know of a single colleague who doesn’t agree with that. But what I do ask is to be given the tools, the facilities, the support and the means to be able to do my job. Is that too much to ask?

Because being a cop is far more than simply fighting crime.

Thank you for taking the time to read these posts. Whether they will do any good remains to be seen. But, as we read above, police morale is dented but not beaten.

I was taught, way back in 1978, about the meaning of the word ‘police. It means, ‘generally, the arrangements made in all civilised countries to ensure the inhabitants keep the peace and obey the law. It also denotes for force of peace officers, or police, employed for this purpose.’ If I recall correctly, those were the opening words from the police instruction manual of the time. Members of our police services are members of the public one day, a cop the next. Our police services police with our consent, not by coercion, as we see too often around the world. That places us in a very fortunate situation but it is one that comes with responsibilities. If we want our police to function, their role must be supported, not weakened. Because if we weaken it by too much, we are on the road to anarchy. And then we may see a style of policing result that has happened abroad and which we must not countenance here.

And, while you’re here. Can I make a special request. I’m helping an old colleague pursue a murder case. It happened in 1984 and involved the shooting of a serving WPC. You may remember it. Her name was Yvonne Fletcher. This is a link to a crowdfunding page. If you’d like to help a veteran cop secure justice for a fallen friend, please consider donating a few quid. If he reaches his target, it’ll certainly go a long way toward reminding those on the thin blue line that they are supported. We do have their backs.

Thank you. For both your support and your time.

Matt.

19 thoughts on “I’m done too.

  1. Pingback: I’m done | Matt Johnson

  2. I’m done with trying to justify the well being and good intent of the the Police Service within the UK, because both our own force leadership and the Political leadership are so bias and political bias that good old fashioned policing is no longer a profession of Pride, Honour and Truth.

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  3. I’d really like to know Matt. He speaks the truth from the heart. I started out as a police cadet in Hendon back in 1981, but became disillusioned with it as they valued bullies more than people who wanted to be local bobbies helping their communities. I then joined the military for the next 11 years, so understand how the state doesn’t value those who serve.

    Am working with others currently for something better, so I haven’t given up hope. being in the right place at the right, can still make a difference.

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  4. I know exactly how they feel my ex was a policeman, the public deflate the hard work they do. How many of the general public would go to a RTA? Attend the deaths of children some gruesome. It’s not an easy job and being spat at because your a cop and the thugs don’t like you. I’m so glad my children did not follow in their fathers footsteps Yes there are good and bad cops just like other walks of life.

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    • This and the other letters from policemen tired of the corruption imposed upon them brought tears to my eyes, these letters need to be out there in mainstream.

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  5. I’ll make the same point as I did on the original page, but if this is still a serving police officer then perhaps it is not too late for him to act.
    The problems that he cites are rooted in the misconduct that is endemic in almost all of our public offices, and certainly all of those at the top.
    It is simply criminal and it is criminal that the police do nothing to combat it… perhaps that is because the first step for any decent police officer would be to arrest his commanding officer and I can see how that presents difficulties.

    But if the decent police are starting to resign over this (and we should observe that if they resign in protest that will soon be a criminal act) then perhaps rather than resign they should give it a go: arrest the PCC and get the process under way.

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  6. Politics ruins policing. People suport police when they investigate murder, rape, theft and people who cause violent injury. The police would get even more support if they were able to investigate the fraud and corruption commited by the wealthy and politically protected class.

    Instead the police assault peaceful protesters – I mean the ones who inconvienience nobody and just want to stand up for common law freedoms. The police constantly look for minor infractions commited by people who are suffering extreme hardship – issueing fines to businesses that are on the verge of going bust. Is it any wonder that common folk dispise the police.

    Until the police are accountable only to the public and are independent of politicians and the wealthy elites the situation will only get worse.

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  7. I 100% wouldnt do that job for anythingand agree with Im done and Im done too. Who could blame either off you. Thanks for being there for us though and trying to do the right thing. Its appreciated xx

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  8. It’s impossible to think the police can do the same quality of work when numbers and funding has been stripped. It must be difficult to stay stimulated about work when you are always being judged by others in a negative way. The officers on the streets are just pawns for greater government and their poor decision making. It’s embarrassing to look around my local area and see so many of police stations being sold off and turned into restaurants. The stations that do survive are part time or over run, trying to cover greater areas with less resources. As a member of the general public I am disgusted with the amount of time it takes to get through to a 999 call in t first place. Why do we need the pre-recorded nonsense in the first instance anyway? Who would want to be a police officer?

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  9. I’m done too. As an ex police officer, who now works in social care. I have seen the role of police change from target related statistics and the investigation and gathering of evidence, to glorified bully boys waiting on the school yard. The service that I once was proud to be part of I feel embarrassed to put my name to. The years the service, built up a strong community public perception has been shattered. Its a difficult job, its looking at things the general public would shy away from, it’s bold, it’s courage it’s a vocation. However I’m done, due to the damaged caused by the government puppets. More should take a stand. The thin blue thin needs to be repaired, not left in pieces on the ground.

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  10. I’m done too. As an ex police officer, who now works in social care. I have seen the role of police change from target related statistics and the investigation and gathering of evidence, to glorified bully boys waiting on the school yard. The service that I once was proud to be part of I feel embarrassed to put my name to. The years the service, built up a strong community public perception has been shattered. Its a difficult job, its looking at things the general public would shy away from, it’s bold, it’s courage it’s a vocation. However I’m done, due to the damaged caused by the government puppets. More should take a stand. The thin blue line needs to be repaired, not left in pieces on the ground.

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  11. Respect to all the boys in blue, I have many friends who do the job or now retired. I myself am an Army Veteran of 27 yrs an know the the things you have said and seen. No point me commenting any more as you have covered it all. One thing i will say is keep doing your wonderful job , you are respected and like by so many, and remember, Dont let the Buggers Grind you down.

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  12. Hi Matt,
    I spent 35 yrs as a Prison Officer. Gradually over the years of my service, Officers and Governors of prisons have had their authority diminished, by parlimentary idiots and do gooders.
    Prisons are now dangerous, to staff who are given less and less control methods.
    The public and government and from the Home Secretary down, to the youngest new officer joining the modern Prison Service, have lost sight of one fact. That fact is the people the Police and Prison officers are dealing with on a daily basis, are criminals and should be dealt with, swiftly and robustly.

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  13. I am saddened but not surprised by both “I’m done ” and “I’m done too ” I too left my industry before retirement as I could no longer put up with the tail wagging the dog. Excessive H&S, Human Rights, general malaise and indiscipline, no back up from the career hungry bosses and an environment where disciplined and orderly management of people and box ticking was taking over from doing the actual job in hand. Work used to be fun, it wasn’t any more, it was a chore no matter what I was earning. I wonder if things will at some point sway back the other way before society breaks down completely due to what I call the Harry and Meghan generation, the ‘victims’ , the ‘ my truth’ , the ‘my lived experience’ generation. Live in hope people, enjoy every day you can. Life is too short to ponder, live it ……

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  14. All very true Who would join The Police Force to be treated badly undervalued and underpaid The public will get what they deserve unless they support our Police Service

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  15. I am a retired officer with 31 yrs of service in a U.S. state. I read your post . I recall many portions of your writing as describing my road traveled. You were expected to be all things to people all of the time . This ,”I am done” , post says so many truths. In todays world I would never be a part of the police service . Government officials kick the police service to promote their own political portfolios for re-election . Civilization is out of control.

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