Friday, 25 October 2013

Trust in the Police

Listening to the radio today I was struck by the comments of many people that because of the way they have been treated by the police in their everyday life. I realised that this is not a new problem. I remember when I was growing up in the 1950's that there were people who did not like the police.
I used my experience from then in my novel AN ORDINARY LIFE.
The main character in the novel Tom is sixteen and rather protected by his parents and school as to what life is like for some living on the council estate near his home. His friend Derek has just been arrested for shop lifting and Tom seeks him out to find out what really happened. When he finds him sitting in the park with two girls, Tom hears about their lives. About fathers who have sex with their daughters, of sisters becoming prostitutes and husbands who beat their wives after drinking bouts. It is way outside not only his experience but completely alien to his way of life. Then he says innocently:

“ Why didn’t you go to the police?” Tom asked innocently. He imagined that is what would happen in similar circumstances at his home or among his parents friends.
Derek, and surprisingly to Tom, Pat laughed bitterly. It was Pat who answered. “Nobody goes to the police from where we come from. It is against the custom of the people living on our estate. Most people who live round where I live in the middle of that estate up there, hate the police. Well hate is too strong a word but they are suspicious of the police. They’re scared that if they call the police in for a small matter, the police will use that as an excuse to look further at what is happening on the estate and its surrounding area. As far as I know there are a lot of rogues living on our estate. Oh, not everybody is bent but a lot of people living there are. With the poverty and all, what else are they supposed to do? Most of those who are not bent will stick up for the other people on the estate, trying to sort out their problems between themselves. That is the obstacle to anything being done about family violence. Just like Derek’s, my dad used to beat us at the least little thing which upset him. We were lucky in that he did not try to interfere with me or my sister. He only stopped beating us last year when my uncle threatened to smash his head in if he did not show some regard for his family. Uncle Harry is even bigger and tougher than my dad. Dad has always worked so we have plenty of money to live on unlike some of the people. Did you know, I passed the eleven plus? My dad told me not to get ideas above my station. I would not go to grammar school because he could not afford to send me and, anyway, girls should leave school as soon as they were fifteen and go out to work to contribute to the household. It was not for girls to go to grammar school. One of these days, I will be free and then I will go to college to get an education.”
The blurb for the book says:
Money laundering is illegal. Even Tom Houseman knows that. He, as an academic, makes a distinction between helping somebody to set up legitimate business and the source of the money.
The novel follows the life of Tom Houseman. From his early childhood on the edge of a hard council estate to eminent Professor with a worldwide reputation and great wealth. The story explores the manner in which most people regard themselves as honest and law abiding although there are times and circumstances when they ignore the rules of behaviour or of some moral code. These people justify their actions by ignoring their conscience or making excuses for their behaviour. In extreme cases they give the impression that morality is not an issue in their case.
Tom Houseman has a boyhood friend called Derek from the council estate and, though their paths diverge after junior school, he stays loyal to his friend. Derek becomes the right hand man of the criminal Mr. Big and introduces Edward. During his life, Edward accepts opportunities presented by his friends and his brother. These enhance both his standing in society and his wealth. All the time, he ignores and denies the moral and legal implications of taking advantage of these offers. As time passes, he has to accept the implications of his choices.
Will he finally have to face these hard decisions or will he sail serenely on living, to him, this ordinary life?
AN ORDINARY LIFE can be purchased as a paperback from Amazon or downloaded from Amazon for Kindle and all electronic book readers.