Chris over at alt tag is concerned about recent reports of misbehavior by the Gardai. This kind of stuff runs to form in almost any democracy. There's a delicate balance between protecting citizens and over-stepping what is just.
Generally, when these sorts of complaints become public, there's a ritual denial from the police that this sort of thing is tolerated.
I'm a conservative and do generally support the police. However, I'm not a fool and I know damn well that there are members of any police force who are too "trigger happy" and love the power and authority that they get from their badge. I also know that police will almost always stick up for one another. It's this "bonding" that allows them to do their job well.
Policing is an ugly job. I'd hate it. I have sympathy for anyone who has to do it. Everyday the police see the worst elements of our society - crime, drugs, domestic violence, you name it. It has to take its toll on the psyche and soul of any police officer.
But, we citizens cannot just turn our backs on police misbehavior. In fact, the soul-destroying aspect of policing is the primary reason that we must hold the police accountable. We must be the ones to define acceptable and unacceptable.