Police doing job to serve, protect

Re: Conservatism creep evident, Our View, July 13, 2011

Re: Conservatism creep evident, Our View, July 13, 2011.

Reading the editorial, I found myself shaking my head at the conclusions drawn and indeed the entire complaint.

Referring to the Olympic protests, your editorial charges that the act of police inserting a spy in the midst of predominantly law-abiding people is undemocratic.

Regardless of the post-Sept. 11 security climate, there have always been concerns with protesters sometimes going beyond legitimate protest that we would all defend as a democratic value.

In today’s world whenever there is a major event, it is always a target, and there is a risk of violence by those in society that choose to do harm to others, whatever the situation they happen to be protesting.

I think the key words in the article are “predominantly law-abiding.” The fact is, that in a protest group there may be individuals ranging from law-abiding citizens, to harmless wackos, to moderate trouble makers, to terrorists.

There is a fine line between the law-abiding majority and the minority who employ violence. The police have a singularly unenviable task in trying to identify that minority and attempt to prevent their actions.

One could argue that to place a spy within a protest group before an incident is something we expect of our police. How else could they effectively keep us safe?

As long as the protest remains law-abiding the police take no action and there is no harm to our democratic values.

If the protest turns the other way then the police have at least a chance to intervene. I for one sleep better at night knowing that police work hard to monitor potential risks via informants and spies. Let’s not confuse the methods of maintaining our security, with politics.

Paul McCormick

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