The Joke that is the honours system

A colleague of mine Constable Stephen Oake gave his life in the execution of his duty.
My Force recommended him for a George Medal because of the circumstances.
He has been denied this as the act was apparently "not gallant enough." One wonders what you have to do?
The Prime Minister says he has nothing to do with the allocation of honours. Oh really?

Recently 3 young women officers have been shot in the line of duty, one of them fatally. All these officers were probationers who the police reformists think are paid too much.

It seems the time has come when the fact that I am willing to put myself between the criminal and the victim is worth nothing. One wonders why we continue to do it.

Your views welcome, thanks.


  • If we're in a 'war' against terror (as the government is claiming so it can push through ID cards) then the police officer on the ground is a front line troop. If they could make political capital out of awarding a George Cross I'm sure they would.

    Aren't military honours awarded in a different way to OBEs etc?

    I wouldn't want to be a police officer and you have nothing but my admiration.
  • The officer should've been honoured, simple as that. However, the selection rules for George/Victoria crosses are extremely high (why so few are distributed)
  • I think the last award was 40 years ago or summat - so its not automatically awarded to any officer killed in the line of duty. It is for exceptional bravery.

    The guy does need to be honoured though, just not with that particular medal.

    It is awful to hear about these shootings, I wish you well in your job - its a hard one to do.
  • Point taken about George medals not being handed out to anyone -a colleague of mine John Egerton when i worked on Bolton Division was fatally stabbed by a thief in 1981 and didn't get any medal, but it was thought that the particular circumstances of Stephen Oake's murder warranted the application.

    One medal awarded to Police Officers for services to policing is the Queen's Police medal. The lower ranks hardly ever get awarded one -it does make me wonder sometimes. Personally I've never been a fan of the honours system but this one wasn't about me.
  • Cougie - the last VCs were awarded during the Falklands to St I McKay and Col H Jones (both paratroopers).

    The last George cross was to another soldier in the most recent Gulf War - he pulled some lads out of a burning vehicle that was under fire, despite being seriously injured himself. The reason he didn't get the VC was because the VC has to be won 'under enemy fire'. In this case it was the Americans shooting up the vehicle.
  • Good grief - that is damned picky !!
  • Doctor K, this has really got annoyed me as well. I am currently on career break from the force and my hubby is a serving officer.

    The Queens Police medal is a joke , it hardly goes to the workers. I didn't see my hubby for nearly 3 weeks after July 7th bombings in London. The case of Stephen Oake was a little to close to home for my liking as hubby does the same.

    The shooting of PC Sharon Beshenisky shook both of us up as I was initally went back to work after my two children and was uniform response like her. It got to a stage that I was not prepared to put my safety and life on the line when I had two little boys at home .

    Unfortuately as we have no power to strike , which I probably wouldn't do anyway , the police can be in a very weak position. However who will Blair be looking to when the firemen go on strike again. !

  • I will simply say that in the Home Secretary's "christmas message" to us, there was no mention of those who wouldn't be around at Christmas,or even those who had to work over the festive period, in fact the whole thing was a new labour rant on how marvellous the Home Office think they are.
    The clue was there I think.

    Anyway I don't really want to widen the debate.
  • 2 T, I thought Pte Beharry did get the VC.Beeb
  • Ah! Correct ATO - I'd forgoten about that one. The case where the George Cross was won was earlier than that, but same war.
  • It does seem wrong. I can't see the point in having an award that is so hard to win - he risked his life to save someone else, if that isn't enough to win some kind of official recognition then they need to look at the criteria for awarding them. Just something to make his family feel that what he did was recognised and appreciated - it wouldn't do any harm to anyone and I imagine would be of some small comfort to them.

    A different topic really but the honours system in general is corrupt. It's pretty clear that a good way to win one is to make a financial contribution to a political party. Not only that but it reinforces the idea that the high earning high profile people are the ones worthy of reward - often they reached that position because of ambition and connections as much as any particular worthiness. Not that I've ever had the chance to put it into practice but I would never call someone by an honorary title unless I knew why they were awarded it and agreed it was deserved.
  • Well done with your job, and I do applaud you in what you do, however, a lot of people get injured in the line of duty and noone knows about it eg my friend was a nurse stabbed whilst working in casualty; another colleague (social worker) set on fire when visiting a suspected child molester, and there are lots of firemen who risk terrible injury and death. Therefore, how we honour all public servants is a big question and worth public debate. At the moment there sems to be a hierachy of "good" public servants and the not noticed.
  • PS - Just a quick response to Popsider - my 84 year old auntie, who has no money other than her pension and no politcial allegience has been awarded an MBE for services to the community - she is an aids counsellor.
  • Who would turn an honour down?

    I'd like to think I would but sometimes it's a recognition of one individual where a whole team or workplace has done good things and it would be disrespectful to your colleagues to refuse

    But as a republican I'd hate to have to kneel before any of that set of goons.
  • Plucky Plodder- agree with what you say , alot of public servants get injured in line of duty. Unfortunately nowadays it is far too common for the media to report, hence the public never get to hear about it or apprecaite what nurses etc have to put up with.

    Only when a death occurs is it deemed news worthy, or when a public servant cocks up whether a police officer, social worker or nurse.

    Public servant- servant is the right word -seen but not heard..
  • Its about time we clamped down even harder on those posessing/trading guns and knives, sentances need to be doubled and think we should bring back hanging for murder.

  • PP - didn't mean to imply that all recipients were unworthy - just that a lot of them are, sounds like your auntie deserved hers.

    BR - I suppose it depends on what the honour is. I certainly wouldn't be kneeling before anyone to get one that's for sure. It's like a lot of things though - how many people say they don't believe in monarchy but they still stand up for the national anthem.
  • I'd turn an honour down... the only Empire I want to be a member of is the Klingon Empire...

    ...I'd quite like an Oscar or a Tony though ...or even a Palm'D'Or
  • For the record the submission in respect of Stephen Oake as I understand it invited a lesser award if they thought the George Medal was inappropriate. In the event he got nothing.

    I wouldn't normally recommend this but you can show your support by visiting the Sun's website and registering your support.

    Thanks to everyone
  • Sun's campaign not up and running yet other than an article of opinion
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