“Every contact leaves a trace.”

Context is everything

Another great read, especially if you are cynical about our police force. For example, when knife crime is high and children are dying, communities welcome Stop and Search if they are consulted.

How could Locard’s principle help police and everyone else spot abusive personalities before they abuse?

“Locard’s Principle – Edmund Locard was a French forensic scientist born in the 19th Century who gave his name to an idea that remains fundamental in the way in which we investigate crime in the 21st Century. Locard’s principle says very simply that every contact leaves a trace. Every time two objects come into contact with one another, an exchange happens…” Whether that is footprints and fingerprints or a snag of clothing caught on the broken window left at a crime scene. “…traces of the scene carried on the suspect, traces from the suspect left at the scene. Every contact leaves a trace.

It seems to me that Locard’s principle has an application that goes beyond simply the investigation of crime. It has an application for every kind of human relationship and interaction. Every time two people come into contact with one another, an exchange takes place, whether between lifelong friends or passing strangers – we encourage, we ignore, we hold out a hand, or we withdraw it, we walk towards, or we walk away, we bless or curse, we love, or we hate, and every single contact leaves a trace.”

This is true of abusive personalities at work – they groom to assess potential targets – how bullyable or harassable are their colleagues. Policing attracts abusive personalities – not because there is anything automatically wrong with policing. No abusive personalities are attracted to policing because it confers status and power. Considering every contact leaves a trace, it should be police officers who catch rogue officers before they commit crimes. I would love to talk to the colleagues of Couzens and Carrick – what were the red flags? Why were they dubbed “The Rapist” and “Bastard Dave, respectively?

I’ve learned all I can from casework in the TV and film industries, so I’d like to look at other high-profile employment that attracts bullies and harassers. Yes, there can be bullies anywhere, but the more ambitious and creative ones will pick an employer that confers status, power, and access to whatever is their thing. To stop them from progressing, colleagues need to tackle them at the grooming stage and or feel empowered to report their concerns.

Bullying is a common strategy for those breaching regulations or the law to put people off challenging them. So I’m interested in the behaviour just before “Bastard Dave” got that nickname. What was the first thing he did that made colleagues wince but also probably made them less likely to call him out or report his behaviour? One of the most common forms of grooming is pressure to submit – for example, pressuring someone to apologise for something that is not their fault—those who comply become dumping grounds for blame. The industries I’m now particularly interested in are journalism, policing, politics, banking, the charity sector, faith organisations, social services, and the NHS. So I would love a chat if you have any case experience as a target, witness, or management in any of these sectors. What was the behaviour just before any abusive behaviour began?

I don’t need to know who, when, or where; I’m only interested in the behaviour just before the abuse.

#johnsutherand #CrossingtheLine

Leave a Reply