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First the Police now the Fire Brigade

October 5, 2006

Ok technically speaking that should be the other way around in that the story about the police officer refusing to guard the Israeli embassy was from today and this story on Spicy Cauldron about firefighters refusing to hand out leaflets at Gay Pride in Glasgow was from August.

Thanks to one of my readers for pointing out the story on Spicy Cauldron and its connection with the police officer story.

Is this becoming a trend in society? Where people are happy to take the money for doing the job but then want to pick and choose which bits of it they actually do. Of course it is sensible for employers to deploy their people according to those peoples aptitude and ability but in the end surely the employer has the right, and in the case of publicly paid for services a duty, to say to the employee these are your duties and I expect you to do them.

Categories: Equality
  1. Andy
    October 5, 2006 at 2:45 pm

    Tony, thanks for the profile on what was and remains a shocking story which had some, but not very impactful, consequences for those involved. Certainly, stronger signals need to be sent out that if public servants of any kind want to be discriminatory, they should go live in countries where such bigotry is ignored or even celebrated.

    I am glad to have found your blog and look forward to browsing the archives over coming days. I will add you to my links page right now. x

  2. Anonymous
    October 5, 2006 at 5:45 pm

    There is a big difference between these two issues, one was general homophobia – the other was a personal (non-religous) issue.

    In the case of the police officer – the nation who’s diplomats he was guarding was actively bombing civilians where his family lived, so he requested to move to a different area, they could have refused and if he then refused to do his contracted duties, then they could have followed the normal disciplinary procedures.

    They didn’t refuse, he worked somewhere else just fine and he has said that he is happy to return to that role now that they’ve stopped bombing where his relatives lived.

    Sounds like good use of discretion, respecting your staff and asking nicely when something bothers you. Maybe the press would be treating it differently if he was jewish or christian – being sensitive to muslims seems to be some kind of terrible faux pas these days.

    Aaron Trevena

  3. Tony Ferguson
    October 5, 2006 at 6:30 pm

    You are correct about the difference between these two issues. However, fundamentally they also have a smilarity which was what I was attempting to draw attention to. I also have a more general concern that the police are on a slippery slope on a host of fronts hence the link to my previous post about sponsorship. The police force should be a wholly public funded and accountable body which enforces the law without prejudice or favour. If they sell themselves or their officers are allowed to pick and choose their duties then I am concerned as to where this will all lead. I can think of numerous examples where someone could object to the job they were being asked to do on various grounds. My concern is that this will lead to police forces where officers can pick and choose which laws to enforce. We already have the situation whereby different forces appear to take a different approach to some offences

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