A smile costs nothing

15 Mar

Children are so perspicacious.

Walking along the street this morning, my five year old and I passed four policemen. As we walked by she smiled and said ‘hello’. The response. Blank looks and lowered heads to avoid her eye line.

So my daughter asks: “Mummy why is it that firemen always smile and wave at us, but policemen never say hello or smile and are so grumpy?”

Good question.

My children love the fire station, they always get waves and smiles and are even occasionally invited in to sit in the fire engine, try on a helmet or watch a fireman slide down the pole. They think firemen are great and always pass the entrance hoping there will be someone there they can make contact with by wave or whatever. Conversely they are already disappointed with the police.. the smiles are rarer than hen’s teeth and they only get personal contact at open days and fetes etc, where they are mobbed.

It’s common knowledge the police have a generic image problem. So smiling, being friendly and showing willing that you are a part of a community would surely be a good thing. Community policing is hard enough but a smile to a five year old not only costs nothing, has no dangerous side effects, but also puts police in the “friendly, there to help” category of a child’s mind – rather than some aloof untouchable.

I fail to see how this could be a bad thing and think it could go some way to improve the police image for the future. There are already plenty of ‘kids’ who see them as ‘the enemy’. It may seem simplistic and clearly it’s not the only solution, but smiling more will never build barriers, however, it just may help break some down.

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2 Responses to “A smile costs nothing”

  1. Jacko March 20, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    You should send this article to the Borough Commander, if you haven’t already.

  2. rosemary goldsmith March 25, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    Or the local police liaison committee

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