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Police Story

Ah hindsight, its wicked isn’t it, especially when it comes to relationships. What feels like an exciting, romantic gesture when you’re together, suddenly looks a little bit weird and creepy when it all falls apart (am assuming that Katie Holmes knows how that feels this morning). So how does it feel when you read about potentially systemic abuse by any number of police officers and realise that, while not abusive, your previous relationship with a policeman was littered with the same behaviours?

I experienced firsthand (and let me be very clear on this) in a non-abusive relationship with a policeman, the following:

  • Flowers sent to my work address which I had never given him; when challenged, he shrugged and said “I’m a detective”
  • I don’t believe I ever gave him my home address and yet he knew it
  • After we split, which was his decision, he continued to email and text – even after repeated requests to stop
  • He promised to delete my contact details and then contacted me again – his explanation for how he found my contact details was weak and now feels suspicious
  • He had serious anger control issues, never with me, but it was very close to the surface
  • I haven’t heard from him since February, the last time he got in contact he sent a message which was deliberately written as if it was part of an ongoing conversation to (I believe) disguise the fact it was him and lead me to engage; I am constantly waiting for the next message

I know of other women who have had experiences with the police and “romance”, scarily similar to mine. As a result, my BFF and I have a rule about not dating policemen; when she got chatting to one in a bar, she told him about this rule in jest and he totally lost it at her – point proven?

There are the extreme cases, such as that of Stephen Mitchell who has quite rightly been jailed for life. But beneath that it looks like there is a culture of abuse of authority and betrayal of trust. It appears that police officers are seeking out the vulnerable for their own sexual needs.

I’ve made this point before, but I think it’s important; sometimes it’s the casual, everyday stuff that is the key signifier. A police officer feels comfortable seeking out contact details as part of his dating strategy because there is a culture in which that is the “done thing”. To abuse your position with good intentions, doesn’t mean you haven’t abused your position. To do so with such casual disregard for the other person’s feelings is downright terrifying.

Now here’s the thing, I’m a strong, confident woman who may have got swept up in the sexy policeman’s antics and maybe it took me too long to see the light, but I got there. But if I were vulnerable, if I had met him because he was investigating a crime that happened to me, would I be able to see him as anything but my saviour?

So hindsight, brilliant isn’t it… I’m off for a shower to wash away the feeling that I have been slightly violated.

The Guardian report is here http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/29/guardian-investigation-abuse-power-police.

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5 thoughts on “Police Story

  1. Jesus, what a terrifying experience.

  2. Not that I’m saying this was your intention but…

    The logical train of thought used in this article is poor. For example the part where you wrote “As a result, my BFF and I have a rule about not dating policemen” could easily replace policemen with black guys/asian guys/men/women or anything for that matter based on some personal experience. The basis is the categorisation of someones character based on something that is not connected to their character. I’m not surprised the policemen you talked to was offended, you had effectively judged his entire character and suitability as a person, based on his employment. Had you done the same thing, based on his race/gender/nationality etc, surely you can see why that would be wrong?

    I would have thought a better conclusion would have been that a job in the police force is appealing to those who wish to gain and then abuse power. That the police force should be aware of this and aim to remove these people in their selection process. And you would be aware and do the same when dating.

    • I’m not sure I totally agree, of course it would be wrong to rule out an entire race/gender based only on your personal prejudice. However, becoming a police officer is a choice, an action that anyone (with the right skills/experience) could take. My aim in life is to always judge people by their deeds and nothing else, not pretending I am perfect, we all come with baggage. However, my feeling is that I have had enough experience with the police – either personal or through conversations with friends – to decide to be cautious of becoming romantically involved with anyone in the force. That’s my choice and perhaps one day something will change my mind, but for now my rule stands.

  3. Bizarre article. What happened was horrendous, no doubt about that. But to claim this is something which will only happen in a relationship with male police officers? There are so many men who behave like this, seek out vulnerable women to enter into abusive relationships with, etc. Sadly some will be police officers. However to claim that it is police officers who seek to do this is ridiculous. Not to mention this article is sexist as it suggests police officers are all male. I know some police officers on the response team in a London borough and they are not only incredibly hard working but passionate against those who commit violence against women and determined to catch them.

    It’s up to any woman to decide who she wants to be in a relationship with but your generalisations about the police are offensive.

    I am an out and out feminist and like your blog though.

    • Hi Emma

      Thank you for the comment. My intention wasn’t to imply that only police officers behave this way or that only men can be police officers. This is very much about my personal experiences and those I am close to; linked to some findings in the public sphere. Having written this I have heard more stories of disturbing behaviour from male police officers and have seen more examples recently of behaviours that I personally find troubling.

      I hope that they aren’t representative of all male police officers and am genuinely pleased to hear that you have positive experiences. I am always happy to be proved wrong.

      S.
      xxx

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