‘Old Bill’ is comin’ to nick you (2/Finale)
Sunday 28 April 2013, 12.26am HKT
NOW that we’ve got the useless (but highly interesting) police trivia over and done with, we can finally carry on to the actual protips for dealing with The Fuzz, helpfully supplied by a serving
fuzzfag Chief Inspector of our esteemed Hong Kong Police Force —”the best police force money can buy” (geddit?).
Even more dangerous when you’re in the wrong
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Here’s what my favourite Chief Inspector advises you numbskulls (aided a graphic he fished out from the Internet that he won’t give to me):—
PROTIPS WHEN DEALING WITH THE POLICE
HEAVY POLICE THREAT IN EFFECT
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
1. Keep your hands in open view at all times
Stick your hands out for everybody to see. Take them out of your pockets SLOWLY. If they can’t see your hands, you’re automatically deemed potentially armed and dangerous.
Chief Inspector Robocop says:—
Our job is law and order. The law is always on OUR SIDE. Our mission is to deter crime. We will use deadly force on you as a deterrent for others. We are NOT SORRY about using you as a deterrent target.
Combat Infantry Lawyer says:—
If the police are talking to you and ask you to remove your hands from your pocket and you refuse, then that’s probable cause for them to believe you’re hiding a weapon.
It doesn’t matter in real life — if they can’t see your hands, you won’t get to see them either … permanently.
In the USA, police enjoy the legal right to stop and frisk you for weapons under the U.S. Supreme Court case of Terry vs. Ohio 392 U.S. 1 (1968) — that includes you’re legally obligated to remove your hands from your pockets as of the police’s legal right to insist that you do so.
For their part, police officers may freely talk to you with their hands in their pockets because they don’t have bans like the U.S. Army Regulation AR 670-1 or the U.S. Navy’s Uniregs (Uniform Regulations) Article 1101.3.
So far (2008), only the UK’s Norfolk Constabulary has issued formal ‘advice’ relating to personal standards for its officers, such as no designer stubble, no eating (including chewing gum), and no talking to the public with hands in the pocket.
For all other countries, you MAY be legally allowed to talk with your hands in the pocket in police presence — but most police forces should be able to use Terry vs. Ohio as persuasive evidence that your hands in pockets is (at the very least) an obstruction to their carrying out ‘legitimate police duties.’
[Is there even such a thing as ‘illegitimate’ police duties?—Editor.]
2. Make no sudden movements
Keep all body movements predictable and gradual. Common sense really, especially if your place has an armed police force.
Chief Inspector Die Hard says:—
We’re worse scared than you are out in the streets because of our history of bullying. I don’t wanna die, but I don’t wanna lose either.
Dirty Harry Lawyer says:—
Seriously, if you’re not shot dead already, then your sudden body motions at best will land you in a police cell awaiting transfer to the psychiatric outpatient ward as a probable mental case. (I’m serious about this in Hong Kong.)
Lawyer’s sobering rider:—
I have literally seen people being shot to death by the police because of some [claimed] misinterpreted body movements (some of which weren’t even sudden).
As an ex-infantryman myself, all I can say is, we train (read: condition) soldiers to react swiftly to threats — but to exclusively react under command and supervision.
A soldier who opens fire without command (even under actual combat conditions) is liable to be summarily executed in the field by the officer commanding. Who commands and supervises police officers in the field in the use of deadly force, when they operate in factually non-combat conditions?
Moreover, policemen paired together are ‘partners’ to each other — we’re already familiar with that through movies, etc. The military has NO ‘partners’ — a formal chain of command is always set for ALL activities, from squad level right up to High Command. For instance, a pair of soldiers even on an admin task will have one assigned explicitly as ‘in charge’ and the other ‘to be supervised.’ Someone is always in command and the rest always under supervision.
Which policemen in a pair is in charge to command and supervise, when both are partners? Are you in command of your spouse or partner? Is your spouse or partner supervising you?
The Naked Listener’s reminder:—
There has NEVER been one single case (in any jurisdiction in the world) where a policeman had been convicted of homicide whilst on active duty or ‘on beat.’ Any convictions (very few) that existed have always made out that policeman was classified as ‘off duty’ or in some other circumstance.
On the other hand, there have been quite a number of cases worldwide where servicemen have been found guilty of unlawful homicide whilst on active manoeuvres under actual combat conditions.
If servicemen can (and have been) convicted for unlawful killing whilst under the chaos and confusion of combat, what does that say about things?
3. Record your interaction
Generally, the camera is your best defence against police actions. If they know you are recording, they will be less tempted to violate your rights.
Chief Inspector Gadget says:—
Not in Hong Kong you can’t! Recording police activity is OBSTRUCTION here (3 months in the slammer).
Even making WRITTEN notes is considered ‘recording.’ We love this rule from British times so much that we’ve decided to keep it FOREVER. Muahahaha!!!
Batman Lawyer says:—
You’re screwed, pal.
Jason Mick of Daily Tech tells us that even an audio recording of a conversation with the police can land you a Class 1 Felony with a sentence (15 years) just below the prison time you’d spend for murder.
The usual police excuse is:—
“[Mark Donahue, president of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police] complains that citizens monitoring police activities for wrongdoing might ‘affect how an officer does his job on the street.’ “ — Jason Mick, “Chicago Police: Tape Us, Get Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison,” Daily Tech (24 Jan 2011)
On the other hand, police everywhere in the world is free to record to hell as potential evidence.
Pray tell, Mr Fraternal Order of Police, why would anyone want to monitor your activities for wrongdoing? If you, the police, are doing your job properly, no one will have the time, money and effort to monitor anybody for wrongdoing. Simple as that.
Back in the day when I was a combat infantry officer, I had no problems with anyone tape-recording or videotaping me on the job. Everything I did, I did aboveboard and according to the book, even in times of having to make life-or-death decisions over innocent people even under highly error-prone conditions. If a faggot like me can do that, so can YOU, Mr Fraternal Order of Police.
(The following applies to all police forces worldwide, subject to differences in their legislation and regulations. In the main, they will have comparable legal positions.)
The Hong Kong Police Force is legally bound to prevent and detect crimes and offences as mandated by Section 10 of the Police Force Ordinance (Cap. 232). In March 2013, it started 6-month trial use of the Body Worn Video Camera (BWVC), which is more famously used by British police.
The official Hong Kong police position is that (emphasis mine):—
“5. […] The BWVC will be used in confrontational scenarios during public order events and crime scenes, or incidents where a breach of the peace has occurred or is likely to occur. It will not be deployed for use in intimate searches, examination of materials with legal privilege, and for any other covert surveillance. It is not intended for the officers to use BWVC in private residential flats except where violence has occurred, or is about to occur.” — Hong Kong Police Force, “Body Worn Video Camera Field Trial” (last revision April 2013)
The operative words that give trouble are in in red — everything of course is likely or about to occur, for otherwise there wouldn’t be police presence in the first place, would there? Which altogether means the BWVC will be deployed for use regardless.
The official website unabashedly goes on (emphasis mine):—
“6. To govern the use of BWVC, a set of detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) has been put in place. Any recording made by BWVC would be incident-specific. It would not be selective[,] so that both the acts of members of the public and police officers may be captured. The officer using BWVC will be in uniform, overtly wear the camera as shown in the attached photographs, and where reasonably practicable, notify the person prior to the commencement of the recording.” (Ibid.)
First of all, it would be nice if the police could actually get someone with a working knowledge of English to write it, instead of this abortion of a language. This isn’t even English, I don’t think.
If any of you out there are (were) police officers, you don’t even need to tell us that everything a policemen encounters is an ‘incident.’ Anything that somehow comes under a police officer’s awareness/notice/interest — it’s an ‘incident.’ If not, the police officer wouldn’t even be aware of it. The police mandate (s.10 PFO) puts all events of interest as ‘incidents’ under the general remit of crime prevention/detection anyway. Which means the BWVC will be used because everything is an incident. Simple as that.
The word “may” suggests probability (that both the public and police MIGHT reasonably be captured/capturable by the device under most anticipated circumstances). What it really means is the individual police officer has now been given a legal backdoor to SELECTIVELY capture images. As every Hollywood director knows, nothing lies more than a picture. The word “may” here doesn’t mean what most people think it means.
To be perfectly honest, when I was an military officer, I was given the same set of operating guidelines (and ‘internal interpretations’) — as well as having personally issued orders to the same effect to my men — so I’m not fudged by this. We should wished to be such simpletons…
Another major problem is the images captured are police evidence. They’re not your evidence. Anything untoward happening to you, and since you’re absoeffinglutely disallowed to record even in writing, you have nothing to fall back on.
I would welcome any challenges to this interpretation of mine, preferably in a legal forum or the courts.
3. Don’t talk to the police or answer questions
You are not required to talk to police. Anything you say to a policeman can only be used to hurt you, never to help you.
Chief Inspector Clouseau says:—
Not true. If we ask you something, you are REQUIRED to answer. If you don’t, that gives us PROBABLE CAUSE. Just answer. You argue, we arrest you on the spot for criminal intimidation (automatic 6 months). We love you, Britain, all is forgiven!
Chief Inspector’s rider:—
Anything you say is evidence. Anything we say to you can be made into deniable, groundless allegations made by you against us.
Spiderman Lawyer says:—
Your ‘right to silence’ is basically polite-society fodder for law-school mental somersaults, not for real-life dealings with the Old Bill. If a cop asks you something in the streets and you don’t (or won’t) answer, that’s already PROBABLE CAUSE FOR ARREST in any jurisdiction anywhere in the world.
Not being read your rights (“Miranda warning” in the USA) also means zero by the time your fat ass is hauled into magistrates’ court — the fact that the magistrates’ court is alternatively called “police court” tells you which side the court is friendly with.
Speak when you’re spoken to. Don’t speak on your own initiative, because that INFURIATES the hell out of policemen anywhere in the world (and I’ve been to many and seen many).
4. Don’t argue with the police
Never argue with the police. Got a problem? Ask the officer for a follow-up contact person at the police station. If you argue, that’s a ‘outright challenge’ to a police officer in the course of his duties and he can arrest you for both obstruction and intimidation.
Intimidation (also called ‘cowing’) is intentional behaviour that would cause a person of ‘ordinary sensibilities’ to fear injury or harm. It ISN’T even necessary for the police to prove that your behaviour as ‘intimidation’ was violent or of a nature to cause terror or fright.
Smack My Bitch Up Lawyer says:—
Specifically for Hong Kong (but probably applicable to any jurisdiction worldwide), if you argue with a policeman or use language that he deems to be offensive or menacing in character (which means anything he likes), that’s officially criminal intimidation under Section 34 of the Crimes Ordinance (Cap. 200) (which incorporated s.13 Criminal Intimidation Ordinance of 1920, itself derived from s.503 Indian Penal Code).
In the UK, though, there is no legal definition in English Law as to what behaviour constitutes intimidation, so it’s up to the courts to decide on a case-by-case basis. You can bet it won’t be in your favour.
5. ‘Am I being detained?’ If not, leave
If you are not being detained, just walk away.
Chief Inspector Judge Dredd says:—
Hurt feelings is a helluva lot less to live with than being charged with a criminal or police offence.
Streets of San Francisco Lawyer says:—
Question: Why do you need to hurt other people’s feelings? Does that make you feel special and important?
Detention is different from arrest. If you are being detained, it’s better to get the officer to explicitly say on the spot the cause for your detention. This is because by the time you’re hauled into the police station, the police will have already come up with half a dozen causes (no kidding) to justify the detention and protect themselves.
“Please state your cause for detaining me.”
6. Never consent to searches
Broadly speaking, a police officer isn’t allowed to ‘frisk’ you (search your body or your property) without your consent — unless he has a warrant or a “reasonable suspicion” (“cause”) of a crime. Even if the officer actually frisks you, always state to him explicitly that you DON’T CONSENT to the search, but don’t obstruct the search if it is carried out.
Chief Inspector Groper says:—
That’s the broad principle — no searching without warrant or cause.
Reality is, the police is free to search you, cause or no cause.
Any groundless police suspicion is considered ‘reasonable’ as a matter of police operation and public policy in ANY jurisdiction around the world.
If you physically refuse the search or even interrupt it, you will be charged with obstruction (automatic 3 months in Hong Kong).
Repeating Parrot Lawyer says:—
Let the police search. Don’t obstruct it. Don’t refuse. Don’t interrupt it.
“I do not consent to the search, and you will note this for the record.“
“I inform you the police that I retain all my rights and none waived.”
“Please enter for the record that I am not obstructing your search.”
Throughout the whole time of the search, you must keep REPEATING those words (boldface are most important) — memorise them.
In reality, there is a serious disconnect in how the Police Force Ordinance (Cap. 232) — or whatever’s your local equivalent — is viewed by the police and the lawyers. The police sees the PFO as giving them rights and authority. The lawyers see the PFO as delineations of police authority.
The reality is much, much simpler than those two extremes — the PFO is just legislation that the police may selectively use to protect themselves (hence, the government) in a lawsuit if ever they foul up in carrying out their duties.
Simple as that.
7. Be polite, but firm
Law-enforcement officers are YOUR public servants. They are paid with YOUR money to protect YOU. If you feel intimidated by the police, they are not doing their job correctly. But BE POLITE, as police can often act irrationally if offended.
And all police officers are trained to be easily offended.
Chief Inspector Sturmbahnführer Fritz Barbwire says:—
Police and other law-enforcement types are NOT your friends. Whenever they talk to you, you are already some kind of a suspect. Everything you say to law enforcement is being committed to memory or notes — and often used against you in court (should they decide to arrest you for some arbitrary reason).
Lying to them also gets you into significant trouble — which they can easily make into SUBSTANTIAL trouble if they so decide to.
Law enforcement personnel are not reasonable or reasoning types. That’s why we don’t recruit educated or sensitive types for the job like Sherlock Holmes.
To be quite honest, despite what we say in public, we know as fact that we policemen have great wages and great welfare in comparison with what everybody else with better qualifications gets to get out in the real world. We’re not going to jeopardise our standard of living for the sake of complying with your needs.
This is why I (and many lawyers) frequently advise people, when they interact with law enforcement of any kind, the best thing is to do nothing and always stay silent.
Reality Check Lawyer says:—
The average cop truly believes he has “a job to do” without us ‘civilians’ go bleeding hearts on human rights and police brutality.
They see anyone (especially lawyers and intellectual types) who question their ‘authority’ as a bunch of fancy-talking, smarmy faggots in fancy suits putting up barriers to prevent getting ‘the job’ done.
What the average cop also conveniently forgets is that we (general public, not just lawyers) also have OUR jobs to do — and it’s hard to miss that the police is hiding behind their fancy badges and faggoty uniforms too, thankyouverymuch.
As well, the courts can’t be relied upon to protect us from the police in most cases because all court personnel know which side their bread is buttered on, since the courts and the police are both paid by the same ‘company.’
8. Never help the police, but don’t frustrate them
Never help the police out of your own initiative. Help only when specifically asked. Police and other law enforcement have practically unlimited resources. They have all sorts of investigators and support staff. But don’t ever frustrate or obstruct their work.
Chief Inspector Marginal Report says:—
I’m saying this privately. We are a selfish lot. We won’t thank you for your help because we’ll just say it’s every citizen’s duty. Your help, our credit. We would prefer to do our job by doing nothing if and when we see you can do it for us. That’s the honest truth.
There is a danger in helping us too. Sometimes we’ll just regard your help as some criminal false-flag op to derail our investigation.
Paradise Lost Lawyer says:—
Police and other law enforcement are executive arms of the government. They operate in autonomy and without much accountability in practice, regardless of the PR you hear. Like all government bodies, they have time, money and people.
I’m not suggesting you don’t help the authorities. Do it, if your sense of civic duty tells you that’s the decent thing to do. But understand you need to have a sense of proportion (and realism) that your civic-minded help could also lead to the suffering and injustice of some innocent person.
Read the Hong Kong Law Blog article about how things can spiral out of control from a simple police call in a New York City incident — an extremely frequent occurrence even in super-safe, low-crime Hong Kong.
It’s always better to let law enforcement handle their stuff on their own, and if they fumble it, let them sort the mess out themselves.
They’re there to help us, not the other way round.
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FOCUS ON THIS REALITY
“I tell you, it’s State against Chavez. State AGAINST Chavez.
That’s everyone against Chavez. And everyone is the State.
You talk to no one because everyone IS the State. You talk only to me.”
— Racist white defence lawyer to Mexican mother
whose son is charged with rape and murder, in the movie “Trial” (1955)
Even a racist lawyer says this. Think about that.
© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2013. (B13124)
Additional textual sources: Army Rumour Service ♦ FBI Table 70 and Table 78 ♦ Harrendorf et al. 2010:135 ♦ Jeffrey Hays 2008-2012 ♦ Hong Kong Police Force 1998 ♦ Hong Kong Police Force 2013 ♦ Mental Health Cop 2012 ♦ SCMP 27 July 2012 ♦ The Telegraph 31 Aug 2008 ♦ United Nations 2008:787.
Images: (1) Dangerous To Be Right via Chanstickers (2) Hands in pockets via AskMen (3) Sudden body movements via Coach.ca (4) BWVC via Hong Kong Police Force (5) Police officer talking to grey suit man via Clipart.com (6) I’m Gonna Kick Your Ass poster via c4c (7) Walk Away via Aol Real Estate (8) Police stop and search in London 1984 via Friends Reunited (9) Police notice via iflyblog.com (10) Soviet census poster 1939 via SovietHistory.org (11) “Trial” (1955) movie screenshot via Turner Classic Movies.