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October 25, 2010

"Not That There's Anything Wrong with 'Vice'", Mind You

In an NPR-worthy moment of cognitive dissonance, Scotland Yard strikes an important blow in the ongoing battle to destigmatize criminal behavior:

Scotland Yard's famous Vice Squad, which deals with prostitution and other aspects of London's underworld, has changed its title to the rather less dynamic "Serious Crime Directorate 9: Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command", or SCD9 for short.

The explanation is one that would draw a robust response from DCI Hunt, the old-school detective from BBC One's Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes.

Metropolitan Police sources said the switch had been ordered in part because the word "vice" was thought to have negative "connotations".

I can't help but wish the knuckle dragging Neanderthals in our own law enforcement community would get on board with the UK's enlightened affirmation of the essential human dignity and moral equivalence of non-conforming lifestyle choices.

Crime is only objectionable because we think it so.

Posted by Cassandra at October 25, 2010 07:40 AM

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Comments

Does that mean that "exploitation" does not have negative connotations? How about "crime"?

Perhaps they need to have the courage of their convictions. If they remove all the negative words, they'd be left with:

"Serious Directorate 9: Organized Human Command."

There. No one could object to that.

Posted by: Grim at October 25, 2010 11:19 AM

Or better yet, just make everything legal and crime will go away!

Posted by: Cassandra at October 25, 2010 11:32 AM

"Dreadfully sorry, Air Vice Marshal, but we're grounding your squadrons. Wouldn't do to give poor Jerry negative connotations about his opposition while he's blitzing London, eh? There's a good chap..."

Posted by: BillT at October 25, 2010 11:50 AM

...and crime will go away!

Savannah made a run at that a few years back, after Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil got their tourist industry to spike. The police started redefining calls related to burglary (which is tracked by FBI crime statistics) as "trespassing" (which is not). Thus, crime statistics fell for the city, making it seem safer to prospective tourists and people thinking of moving in and buying property.

And why not? After all, if we don't actually catch a burglar (and the almost police rarely catch burglars in the act), all we have is your word that someone stole your stuff. For that matter, all we have is your word that someone was even trespassing.

So really, maybe there was no crime at all! Just to make you feel good, though, we'll take a report. Of, ah, 'trespassing.' Then you can sit back and revel in the joy of the newspaper articles showing that crime in the city has fallen by substantial percentages since the new mayor took over....

Posted by: Grim at October 25, 2010 11:56 AM

The police started redefining calls related to burglary (which is tracked by FBI crime statistics) as "trespassing" (which is not). Thus, crime statistics fell for the city, making it seem safer to prospective tourists and people thinking of moving in and buying property.

Hey buddy, how do you think I 'saved or created' millions of jobs? Words have meaning.

Posted by: Barack Obama at October 25, 2010 12:02 PM

...and the almost police...

I don't care if that was intentional or not, I still snorted.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 25, 2010 12:14 PM

...the word "vice" was thought to have negative "connotations".

Hey, leave Joe Biden out of this. It's not his fault.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 25, 2010 12:59 PM

In all seriousness, I would figure the change is probably needed as "Vice" has too small a connotation.

When people think of Vices, I think they imagine personal vices, that is something a person does (He drinks/smokes/swears too much). Not the large scale group actions (Human Trafficing, Drug Smuggling).

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 25, 2010 01:07 PM

Serious Crime Directorate 9

Is that where the supply of Love Potion No. 9 disappeared to?


And why not? After all, if we don't actually catch a burglar....

You're being partly facetious, but some jurisdictions already are actively acting on this premise. In the recent "alleged" shooting in the lake on the Texas-Mexico border, the Mexican not-even-almost police for some time refused even to pretend to search for the body on the premise that since the murderers had cleaned up after themselves, the simulated police had no evidence that a crime had been committed.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 25, 2010 01:41 PM

At the end of the article, it explains that the name change had little to do with PC:

"The former Clubs and Vice team, which previously sat within Central Operations, moved over to the command of the Specialist Crime Directorate."

"It was renamed SCD9, the Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command, to reflect its changed work remit."

Posted by: Craig at October 25, 2010 01:51 PM

And in the middle of the article, "it" explains that the name change was partly motivated by the negative connotations associated with the word "vice":

Metropolitan Police sources said the switch had been ordered in part because the word "vice" was thought to have negative "connotations". It reflects a growing trend by law enforcement agencies to treat prostitutes as victims rather than as offenders.

Posted by: Cass at October 25, 2010 01:58 PM

At the end of the article, it explains....

Of course you elide other salient facts in the same article, like this from earlier in the article: Metropolitan Police sources said the switch had been ordered in part because the word "vice" was thought to have negative "connotations".

And the interestingly implied thesis immediately following that Christine Keeler and Cynthia Payne somehow are victims of their own crimes.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 25, 2010 02:11 PM

But...but...but...isn't that being deliberately misleading? To actually cook the stats? Isn't that what accountants get sent to jail for?

Can you just see a lawsuit over this?

Posted by: Cricket at October 26, 2010 09:13 AM

"Isn't that what accountants get sent to jail for?"

Only the ones that get caught.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at October 26, 2010 11:57 AM

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