Are You A Professional Bystander?

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You have already probably heard of the term ‘professional bystander’. But who/what are they?

A professional bystander is someone who feels compelled to give advice to the emergency services despite having never served in the emergency services themselves. 

Professional bystanders are particularly active anywhere where there has been a road closure, and they are also ‘experts’ when it comes to telling the police how much force they should be using when trying to detain a violent individual. 

Clearly, a professional bystander knows precisely how to detain someone, what threat they pose (based on their access to various police intelligence databases) and how much force should (or should not) be used on someone who is intent on violence.

They are described as:

‘What a person becomes when, upon receiving word of a police incident from the internet, the news, or word of mouth, one advises on how the police should have “properly” handled the situation in line with police protocol, the law, etc. 

‘Usually, this occurs when the police have been accused of wrongdoing or, even more commonly, when the police have been accused of no wrongdoing, yet the receiving party believes they are almost entirely at fault’.

You will often see ‘Armchair Policeman/woman’ surface after a critical incident. 

They lurk in the media and always tell everyone what the police did wrong, despite not having the qualities or bravery needed to join the police force. 

But can you think of any well-known ‘armchair policeman/woman’? Let us know in the comments below! 

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One comment

  1. I know it’s funny how many there are . But it can be horrible to the person if the police are trying to help someone and one of these professional by standards butts in I have mental health problems and was having relapse , and was detained on a 136 at the railway station the police officers were kind and compassionate, but were searching me for weapons , I had seriously self harmed in March with something hidden in my clothes . We had been somewhere private but I’d walked off . First 1 man came over to tell the officer he was doing his job all wrong then another man came over and started to shout really loudly and aggressively at this officer . The officer tried to ask the man to be quiet, but he persisted . I got so frightened things were getting out of control, I burst into tears grabbed the officers hand , buried my head in his upper arm and asked him to get me way from these people . I dont think they realise they do more harm than good . I was obviously mentally unwell and they thought they were helping but if they’d of just let the officers do their job it would of been much better and I wouldn’t of been so scared . Surely there must be a law against this or at least some campaign to educate people on the dos and don’ts when you watching the emergency services doing their jobs thank you all for your service please stay safe x

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