The new Knights – the new aristocracy.
Earlier today while taking a typing test I had a discussion with a fellow test-taker while waiting for the results, and an interesting topic came up in our conversation. The majority of us taking the typing test were there for law enforcement-related reasons, and after this brief talk I realized something about the state of the field of policing.
Municipal forces here in the lower mainland always talk about being competitive: “you need to stand out from the crowd to be competitive,” or “you need to be able to do this and that, have this and have that in order to even qualify or get someone’s attention.” What I started to realize was that once you wipe away all the soot and gunk from the conversation, you are left with an uncomfortable truth that shows policing has moved away from its’ original roots. When Sir Robert Peel wrote his principles, one of them (if I recall my notes correctly) was that the policemen should be recruited from among the common populace. Traditionally these principles were adhered to, but times have seen them eroded, or even replaced with new practices in an effort to get something more out of the uniformed boys and girls in blue.
Nowadays to even be considered, the minimum requirements are no longer even used, rather there is an unspoken requirement of having X-amount of degrees, X-amount of hours here and X-amount of hours there in volunteer/unpaid work placements, and let us not forget getting friendly with the personnel working there. Now with all these requirements, how can the common, working young lad or lass afford to become a policemen when they need to put bread on the table, pay bills, and other worldly expenses? People also need time to relax, yet what they are implying is that you MUST NEVER relax, and that you must work 56 hours a week, 16 of those hours MUST be unpaid volunteer garbage because eat horse droppings candidate, you must have this because we say so.
What you then have is only those kids rich enough to be able to work for no pay for those 16 hours, plus afford a masters degree, plus have the connections to get into prestigious positions before joining up being the only ones ever considered for policing positions. The City Watch has turned into the new role for the aristocracy akin to the days when knights roamed the land keeping order for the monarch (which in today’s world translates to the present governing authorities – different body, but same function). Today we see the evolution of policing into a knighthood of sorts – a class role where rich kids are afforded the chance to be able to control the world around them and enforce the will of the wealthy against the working populace. Sure they uphold the law, but what if these laws begin to criminalize low-income earners? Already we see laws criminalizing panhandling, and while aggressive panhandling ought to be outlawed, people simply standing on the median of the street safely out of the way of traffic asking for spare change are of no threat to public safety (unless they are intoxicated of course).
The new “knights” ladies and gentlemen, only rich kids get to be cops now – poor kids look elsewhere for work, because they are not going to look at you if you can only afford a high school diploma, a college certificate, or even a college diploma – no you need a bachelors, with 5 years’ experience in a prestigious position in the municipal government, AND references from within the force itself (familial connections) in order to even get a phone call these days. Now as for the young woman or man looking to join the police force but do not want the debt associated with a particular education program that has no guarantee of work afterwards (or cannot afford one, period), and whom cannot afford to work for free, you’re gonna have to look elsewhere as these municipal forces – Vancouver Police Department, Delta Police Department, New Westminster Police, And West Vancouver Police – will only recruit from among: “the cream of the crop, the best of society,” which translates to rich, well-connected kids who meet their expensive, utterly out of reach for people from poor backgrounds’ requirements.