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From the first of November each year, I can be seen proudly wearing My Poppy. I do so for several reasons, and none of them are because its a British thing.
I wear my Poppy because my Grandfather on my mothers side, left a senior post in Woolworth’s (they were the Harrods of the day in the late 30’s and 40’s) to fight as an Infantry officer in the Second World War (on much less pay). He was killed in action in World War Two, and left behind his wife, a son and a daughter (my mother).
My mother (then 13) ended up doing all the cooking and cleaning around the house and looking after her younger brother, whilst her mother (my Nan) went out to work to feed and clothe the family.
I wear my Poppy to remember the sacrifice that all those gave, when fighting and dying in both world wars, the Falklands, both Gulf wars, and Afghanistan (I apologise if there are others that I have not mentioned),
I wear my poppy to acknowledge that sacrifice, that helped advance and protect the freedoms we all take for granted today. These are freedoms than many in the middle east and elsewhere still do not enjoy today.
So Granddad this is for you. I wear my Poppy with Pride for you. I wear my Poppy for the freedoms, your sacrifice, allows me to enjoy. You died long before I was born so I never got the chance to know you, but because of you and those like you, I can live my life a free man.
Thank you Granddad.
Recently I have been accused of being anti Police. I am far from it. I am the first to admit that the majority of the Police do a extremely difficult and worthwhile job. I am first to admit that the majority of the police, like everyone else are law abiding, take great pride in their work, and do a n extremely brilliant job, in extremely difficult circumstances.
However, in this media driven world, where we are all only as good as the latest news story, and our reputation rides on perception. There have been in recent years a number of news stories about the police, that have raised the question of the professionalism of the police in general.
We had the Hillsborough Coverup, and the botched investigation into the murder of Steven Lawrence. We have had Pleb-Gate and the Hacking Scandal where they paid Police for info. We had the Police officer who wanted to sue for tripping up a curb, the apparent protection of Jimmy Saville by the police. The execution style shooting of Jean Charles De Menezes on the London Underground, because he looked a bit shifty and the police force who let a man escape justice for murder, because a Senior Officer, breached the rights of the offender. ( See Here.)
These are a few of the incidents that made the news in a big way and no doubt there are more that did not and while these incidents are definitely in the minority, they have undermined the publics trust in the police, because they have been so public.
As a senior manager in the defence and energy industries, I know first hand how single isolated mistakes, can rapidly erode confidence and reputation. But rather than sit on our hands and do nothing we constantly strive to ensure our reputation, and therefore trust is maintained.
The Police however do not seem to do this, the perception is that they close ranks, and cover up for each other, which has led to an outcome of this Lack of Trust. By their very inaction they have let these minority of isolated incidents, appear to be the norm.
I think It is time for a root and branch reform, to restore the public trust.