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covering up

Posted under Miscellanea at .

Here’s a public policy suggestion from a few weeks ago, which I haven’t encountered before.

. . . A real solution for gratuitous violation of civil rights by the police would be to abolish their immunity. Force individual officers to carry insurance or a bond, paid from their own salaries. By all means give the officers a raise to cover premium expense, but if an officer faces too many claims or judgments, a responsible, objective third party (the insurance company) can revoke his badge by cancelling tort coverage.


I’m not sure quite how serious the suggestion is. But as a thought exercise . . . I suspect there are problems with it, over and above the ones hinted at by the author (the police & unions wouldn’t like it, sort of reasons). I’m going to have to think about it though. At a first guess they would involve the kinds of problems that usually crop up with insurance companies . . . and the kinds of problems that usually crop up in court cases dealing with insurance companies, and dealing with police actions.

However, some of those are in part about a sort of (sub-)cultural attitude regarding police officers, both inside and out of the forces. Were a suggestion like this enacted, perhaps there would be a culture shift? (Noting that immunity means different things in different countries, and possibly different US States, so the nature and degree of effect should vary.)

There are as things stand some professions where this kind of insurance has to be in place . . . really, not that different from driving insurance — but for most people that’s not really comparable, because driving is a luxury rather than an essential or a livelihood. It would be interesting to look at the effect of required insurance on different professions. Maybe it would help draw a conclusion.

Or in fact, what are the effects on police officers of having to have driving insurance, where that is the case?

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