Policing should always be governed by the need to keep our streets safe, protect the vulnerable and uphold the law of the land. And it’s generally accepted that an independent police force, free from political influence, is a fundamental ingredient of a healthy democracy.
We’re not exactly sure when this political meddling began infecting British forces but the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act, passed by Parliament in September 2011, certainly accelerated this process. Police authorities were abolished and replaced with directly elected politicians, called police and crime commissioners, who oversee local police forces and have the power to hire and fire Chief Constables.
The impartiality of police forces was undoubtedly compromised by this revised policing structure and put increasing pressure on officers to serve a political agenda rather than the community as a whole. In other words: policing to win votes which inevitably leads you down a dark path.
Isabella Sankey, director of cross-party pressure group the National Council for Civil Liberties, was correct when she said that “Independent policing is as vital as an independent judiciary and Chief Constables should be above party politics, not subordinate to it.”
And this is why it’s extremely worrying the direction of travel British police forces appears to be going in. In the last fortnight alone, there have been numerous instances of regressive left politics influencing decisions and further alienating a large cross-section of the British public.
Ten days ago West Yorkshire Police kicked off a September recruitment drive by posting a flyer on social media asking ‘Could YOU be a West Yorkshire Police officer?’ next to an animated Muslim woman wearing a hijab. Four days later, almost as if it was coordinated, Police Scotland then approved the hijab as official uniform in a bid to boost the number of Muslim women joining the force. Simon Byrne, Cheshire Police’s Chief Constable then caused dismay by admitting live on BBC Radio Stoke that he had looked into breaking employment law to bring in more officers from black and minority groups. Liberals predictably argue these instances simply reflect the ‘changing face of our society’ – the trouble is, they call it changing face, whereas we call it the systematic replacement of a population. Whatever happened to just hiring the best officer for the job, regardless of race or religion?
Who could also forget Wilshire Police’s sudden obsession with hate crime following their appearance on Channel 4’s 999: What’s Your Emergency? The force attracted more than 5,000 comments, including our own (now infamous) Cyril the swan tweet, after stating ‘you can’t hide from us if your (sic) spewing abuse from behind a computer screen. Our boys & gals in blue will find you.’ Many rightly questioned why their resources were being used to police offensive internet comments at a time when the most recent violent crime statistics in Wiltshire showed an 18% rise in the 12 months to April 2017? Just to rub salt into the wounds, the Salisbury Journal ran a story in January 2016 reporting that Wiltshire Police were the worst of any force in England and Wales at solving burglaries – surely the bread and butter for any self-respecting constabulary?
But arguably the most shocking example of this recent political-fuelled idiocy is at Bedfordshire Police which has invested valuable public money through the Government’s Prevent counter-terrorism strategy on an all-singing, all-dancing interactive app targeting ‘right-wing extremism’. The app specifically focuses on this niche brand of terrorism despite stats from the National Police Chiefs Council confirming that just 8% of those arrested for terrorism-related offences in the past year were flagged as extreme right wing. The vast proportion of that total was – of course – for Islamic extremism. In fact, of the 91 deaths on UK soil from terrorism since the millennium, 97% were killed by Muslims. So we presume the app for challenging this ideology must still be in the development stage?
What these instances show is that we now have a completely two-tier policing system in operation across Britain. What is a crime for one section of our society might not be a crime for another and that is simply a slippery slope which is all down to politics. West Midlands Police provided yet another shocking example of this when they admitted in February that “educating parents” was their priority in female genital mutilation (FGM) cases rather than pressing charges and prosecuting Muslim parents for child abuse.
Just when did it become acceptable for the police to interpret crimes to fit liberal agendas rather than being enforcers and upholders of the law? It gives us no pleasure in shining the light on police forces in this way. And it should be said that the majority, particularly on the frontline, still do a marvellous job in keeping us safe. In many cases they have little option but to adopt and enact the culture emanating from the top. Part of the problem is certainly that the present generation of police chiefs are often fast-tracked through the system and may be laden with degrees in law, business, criminology and public relations but are effectively managers of risk rather than police officers with practical, hands-on experience.
Whatever the root cause, British policing is currently undermining democracy and the rule of law and encouraging further division within our already hugely divided communities. Police forces in the hands of politicians and the global elite is something we associate more with authoritarian states than modern democracies and officers urgently need to scrap the two-tier system and instead go back to basics by focusing on the fundamentals of applying the law equally to all.
Standing up for those without a voice in Britain