Bad Journalism

Is there ever good journalism?

Today’s Daily Mail, always an example of the moral outrages of the UK…, has a front page expose about how 8000 police officers in the UK are on limited duties but being paid full rates.

Basically, when a police officer goes on a long period of sickness and then returns to work they are intially kept doing limited duties (phones, manning CAD, co-ordinating patrols, helping with background work and paper work etc) until they get back into the swing of things. This is the only course of action available to a responsible employer.

Now the Mail is complaining that this is costing the taxpayer £243 million a year and is not helping to keep crime off the streets. Seriously. This is what it says:

But, despite playing only a limited role in protecting the public, they receive their full salary – an average of £30,000 a year.

What madness is this. I am even more gobsmacked by the comments made on the newspaper article (mostly “pay them sick pay like everyone else”), which goes a long way to highlight how the UK seems to have divorced itself from reality.

The paper rounds this off with some good old fear mongering and false authority fallcies:

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance pressure group, said: “Some officers will obviously have to be on restrictive pay but when the numbers get out of hand, taxpayers are getting poor value for money and public security is put at risk. This problem needs to be sorted immediately.”

What on Earth does he know about running a police force?

These are police officers. Fortunes have been spent training them. They are often injured doing their job protecting the public and have to recuperate. While they are recuperating they are not going to be as effective on the streets. But equally importantly, since when has doing the work back in the police station been a “limited role.”

It really is insane, but then again it seems the Daily Mail has suffered some kind of mental disorder over the past few years anyway.

Shame on them.

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1 thought on “Bad Journalism

  1. Amazing.

    Obviously amazing in that the Mail seems to have no recognition that the least that a police authority could do, as a 21st public sector employer, is to give police the same rights as everybody else who has been off sick for a long time (or get sued, quite justifiably.) Do they want to force lame or frail policemen out on the streets?

    Also amazing is the Mail setting itself up as the policeman’s enemy. They usually make shrill law-and-order noises on a daily basis.

    Attacking sick policemen, even in print, seems so unspeakably churlish that you’d expect there to be an ASBO specifically targetted against it.

    You can only hope that the Mail editor gets burgled and the police send a bubonic plague carrier (who’s been forced back to work after 3 days) to investigate.

    If ever a job could be said to cause “stress,” you would think being a police officer was it.

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