Hmm .... we seem to live in different worlds
Little of the above I know nor recognise ...... but then I don't live or work in London (or the GMP for that matter).
From my perspective @ Adam above had it about right ..... despite having so much in common, in reality there is often a world of difference between individual Forces, their policies and collective mind sets. No different really between any two business corporations.
The fact is that I am a fierce critic of my local Police and have been known to get very upset and fall out with some of them - on not infrequent occasions! On occasion some of them have left me utterly frustrated and exasperated and I find myself having to hold back from knocking heads; but not for any of the reasons cited above.
I am in fact currently in the process of making a formal complaint against an individual Officer, the Control Room staff befind them and a particular Force Policy they were acting upon. My family and I were immensely inconvenienced, put to unnecessary expense and then had insult added to injury .... but I know enough to realise that my battles are with the individuals concerned and not with the institution behind them .....
Oh by the way, I'm also one of them ..... with over 3 decade's service no less, so I think I have a fair grasp of what actually happens in real life; in my Force at least. I've never been power-mad and I'm not remotely autocratic (somewhat left wing in fact) but I do have very strong principles and I am highly motivated (at least within my specialist role). Off duty I am seldom taken for a Police Officer, my appearance belies my ethnicity and I know only too well what discrimination feels like. I like people and I've always had a well developed social conscience but (sadly) unlike most members of the British public today, its never been in my nature to walk on by when someone's in trouble.
What I don't like, however, is mindless yobbery, abusive drunks, thugs, thieves, rapists and bullies .... boy do I hate bullies. In my world, it is the duty of the strong to protect the weak and that's something I've always proudly striven to do. I have experienced a REAL Police State - a Fascist one that members of my family exiled themselves here to escape. Its something I feel very strongly about, so much so that I'd be prepared to fight to the death to prevent it occurring here; that may sound overly dramatic but such a defence was one of my reason's for joining.
I am not THE Police, I am A policeman, an individual. Like you I work (or not as the case may be) within a collective of other individuals - and we are most definitely not all of one mind; there is no longer any particular character type or disposition attracted to the police, Officers are now more diverse than they've ever been before. I have discretion and I use it every day; I turn a blind eye to some indiscretions and enforce others. I could not possibly enforce every single one (there's not enough hours in the day) and I doubt very much that many people would like it if I did. For all concerned, 'Zero Tolerance' is a very harsh yoke indeed.
The UK Police are a civilian body and quite independent of the Government and Military, to think otherwise is utter nonsense. We do not live in a Police State nor anything approaching one ...... you'd have to first replace the majority of us for that to come about. Yes I have been asked to do things I have disagreed with but nothing so extreme that it crossed my personal line in the sand; I do such things because that is my duty and part and parcel of what I signed up for but, like you, I have limits which I am not prepared to cross.
In the course of my job I've been a victim of crime more than anyone else I've ever met; I've been injured more than most too, occasionally seriously; even my wife and children have been attacked. But I remain committed and care about doing the right thing - without fear nor favour. I will help anyone if I can; even those I've had reason to dislike (and believe me, that can be hard).
Quite frankly, many of the above comments leave me puzzled, bemused in fact as its all so utterly alien to the world in which I exist. Regardless of whatever else you might believe to the contrary; I know, categorically, that whilst I and people like me exist there will never be a Police State in this country. You are of course free to remain in your own particular fantasy as, no doubt, many will accuse me of. But, unlike most armchair critics, I am compelled - on a daily basis - to stand up for what I believe in, regardless of risk or any personal cost involved ..... there, I've got it off my chest.
Re the Law:
Contrary to popular belief, the laws that the Police enforce are indeed subject to interpretation because, taken together, many can and do create ambiguity and contradiction. ..... this is one of the reasons why Trial Judges have continuously reinterpreted and modified existing laws by Stated Cases. You'll have to make a series of choices in order to get the matter to Trial in the first place and those choices will depend entirely upon your understanding (interpretation) of the legislation as recalled on the spot.
In certain circumstances it is not at all unusual for different items of legislation to all potentially come into play at the same time; this can be complicated by the fact that the specific context can be nothing remotely like that which the Legislators originally anticipated. Laws frequently have a utility beyond that which the Legislators sought to address and, despite precise(ish) definitions, their choice of words can indeed impact significantly upon hitherto unforeseen matters.