Dog bites man

Random acts of reality, an excellent blog written by a London ambulance driver, has a post discussing a hostage situation that never made the papers. In it, he reacts to a commenter who accuses the police of looking for people to shoot, and how the incident he is talking about never made the papers:

‘Let’s hope they don’t gun down an innocent brown-skinned young man this time.’

A somewhat snide remark. The police don’t go around looking to shoot people, despite what the media may lead you to believe. Whenever I’ve been involved with armed police I’ve been impressed by the pure professionalism that they show. They are anything but looking for brown-skinned people to shoot.

People who make such pronouncements don’t understand how confused a scene can get, with differing intelligence, hearsay, rumour and lines of communication suffering from Chinese whispers.

Well now some ten hours after your post, and I can’t find anything on the Beeb web site. I’m keeping the conspiracy theories at bay by acknowledging that I’m probably not looking for the right thing…

Related to the above comment, this is an example of how the media works. The operation went off without a hitch – no one was shot, there were no interesting pictures of irate kidnappers. The only injury was someone who had been punched in the mouth.

In 2002 the armed police were called out 2,490 times in London alone.

How many times was this reported in the media?

It’s only a story if someone gets shot.

This is why the public have an imbalanced view that the police enjoy shooting people. You never hear of all the lives that have been saved because of their attendance.

The reason why blogs such as mine are so popular is because they tell you the stories that aren’t interesting enough for mainstream media to dedicate time to. We humanise the jobs that are often just ‘nameless men in uniforms’. Perhaps we need an armed police blog…

I think we do. We need blogs from hospitals, from hospices, from the inner sanctums of bureaucracies, from refugee camps and military bases. Information want out, and direct from the source is best. I am looking forward to it.