Friday 9th July 2010 - Rothbury
Armed Police surround gunman Raoul Moat after a week long stand off. Aware of the sensitivities of the situation, they were very careful to take what action they could to try to make sure that this episode ended peacefully. In the end that didn't happen, but that was not through the fault of the Police. They spoke to him gently, using his first name. They got him food and water. In those tense hours, they treated him with the sort of dignity any human being, regardless of whether they are a wife beating murderer, should be treated.
Friday 16th July 2010 - Glasgow
UK Borders Agency officials raid the homes of friends of Florence and Precious Mhango. Anne McLaughlin has some of the details here and I heard more yesterday at the vigil from Chris Mercer, Precious' godmother.
Chris told the crowd how one single parent was told in front of her 10 year old child that she could be sent to prison for 14 years for not co-operating. Surely to goodness they should not be behaving like that in any event, particularly in front of a child. Anne tells in her piece how the officials surrounded wheelchair user Chris in her bed and behaved in an intimidating fashion.
I don't think there is any excuse for these officials to behave in such a manner. I am aware that there are some occasions where they have to be firm to enforce the law, but there are limits.
Surely it can't be right that a self confessed wife beating murderer is afforded more dignity than decent people who are doing their best to help two vulnerable people. Surely it can't be right that these two people have to sleep in fear, wondering whether the dawn will bring another raid, another spell in detention, I know from reading Janipher Maseko's story how brutal these officials can be, even to a mother who has barely recovered from giving birth.
These stories sound like they come from some really nasty, tyrannical government than from a country which is supposed to uphold justice and freedom and fairness.
I am really not happy with my taxes being spent to pay the wages of people who behave like this in my name. This is an organisation with too much power breaking the limits of what is acceptable behaviour and they need to be reined in soon.