We live in an open and democratic society and, as part of that social contract, we universally agree to be policed by consent.
Being policed by consent, however, conveys upon those who wear a uniform and carry a warrant card, to commit themselves to the highest levels of professional service and integrity. Those who oversee the necessary professional standards have a nigh-sacred duty to insure that we are policed by men and women of integrity.
Thankfully, the vast majority of officers who leave their homes each day — can their partners, family or friends ever remain totally assured that they will return when their duty is done? — are a credit to our local police forces.
It would be remiss of the Cambrian News not to comment in the light of two recent cases, one concerning North Wales Police, the other an officer from the Dyfed-Powys force.
In the first instance, an officer has been suspended from duty after a video emerged showing a man being repeatedly punched in the head. The video has caused outrage, and while this publication is legally constrained by what it can and cannot comment on — there is an investigation underway now — those who saw the video will have formed their own impressions. It’s important to add that sharing that video now would be unwise, so too commenting on it in a public forum. We all should respect due process. And, as part of our social contract with those who police us, we would expect that investigation to be swift, transparent and responsible.
In the second case, due process has been concluded when it comes to a former Dyfed-Powys officer, Simon Williams, who resigned from the force.
An accelerated hearing last week struck him off — he can never wear a police officer’s uniform again. And rightly so. He admitted sexually assaulting a woman in a pub last November and was off duty at the time.
In light of all that has happened, in London Metropolitan Police, it seems less than satisfactory that then PC Williams received just a caution for his sexual assault.
Given his career path, was a caution the right choice? Those who oversee our police should be well aware that not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done.
Was it with Williams’ sexual assault? His victim would say not. And neither do we.