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A police chief who wants to protect us from criminals? Yes, honestly


WITHOUT the protection of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers, an angry crowd of pro-abortionists would have successfully disrupted the inaugural meeting of the Manchester University Pro-Life Society.

This video on Manchester free speech platform Tke Media shows the incident on February 29:

The small group of pro-lifers was hugely outnumbered by the pro-abortionists who would almost certainly have injured them were it not for the courageous professionalism of the GMP officers on duty. They manifestly did their job with one even defending the right of the pro-lifers to hold their point of view in conversation with a group of irate pro-abortionists.

The pro-life group’s treasurer said: ‘If it wasn’t for the police and security, people would have definitely been physically hurt. It made me feel intimidated and threatened. I was genuinely afraid that we would get hurt.’ 

The question arises: why the enormous visible difference in behaviour between GMP officers and the frequent Left-wing bias of officers in other forces, particularly the Met? Leadership would seem to be the answer.

GMP Chief Constable Stephen Watson took over a force in 2021 which had been put into special measures by HM’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. England’s second largest force had failed to record more than 80,000 crimes in one year. Within 18 months of taking over, Watson had led the force out of special measures.

He certainly has an impressive CV. In 2011, he became Metropolitan Police Commander for the East Area, responsible for operational policing across nine London boroughs. He is a qualified Firearms and Public Order Commander and had a major role in East London in the aftermath of the 2011 riots. Before becoming GMP chief, he led South Yorkshire Police. In 2019 he was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for distinguished service.

But what kind of moral outlook does Watson have? Without wanting to make a window into his soul, I suggest he sounds rather like a British policeman from the days when this was a broadly Christian country.

In that society individuals were deemed to be responsible for their own moral choices and the authorities did not allow criminals to hide behind the Leftist claim that their behaviour was the result of oppressive class structures. The Ten Commandments prevailed in criminal justice and public consciousness over the moral relativism which captured the intellectual elites during the 20th Century. In the 1960s the relativists came to rule everything from broadcasting to education to policing to the Church of England. Their legacy is now unyielding selfishness.

Watson told a Freedom Association event during the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester last October: ‘I do think what has changed in large measure over recent times is we are growing a generation of people who have never had anybody say “no” to them.’ 

He added: ‘The trust and respect for people in a hierarchy has broken down and I think people take pride in not respecting others because they somehow see it as demeaning to respect other people.

‘And we have seen a post-covid feeling in the air where this strange sense of entitlement has become amplified.

‘So many of my officers will tackle people who are doing things that are demonstrably unacceptable, and the response will almost inevitably be, “You can’t tell me not to do that”.’ 

Watson believes the police should protect the public from criminals. According to the Daily Mail report on his speech: ‘Mr Watson – who in his two-year tenure at GMP has slashed 999 response times from 12 minutes to eight and more than doubled the number of arrests – said that more money should be spent on safeguarding “very young children” before they join gangs.’

He said: ‘I’m not talking about 16-year-olds. I’m talking about three-year-olds. By the time they’re 16 and carrying a gun they’re lost to us. It’s a tragedy . . . but my only interest is to lock them up because I need to safeguard the public from them.

‘We need to have fewer children entering the system. But for those who will not take no for an answer, we need to lock them up.’

The neo-Marxist march of wokery through Britain’s once Christian-based institutions, including the police, has undoubtedly done tremendous damage. But the GMP story under Watson shows what positive leadership can achieve even in these dark days of national decline.

What would be the future for police leaders with Watson’s moral outlook under a Labour government? One would think not particularly bright.

Political correctness took root in police forces under New Labour and has very arguably accelerated under the Blairite Conservatives. Would not the deterioration become infinitely worse under another Labour government?

Peaceable pro-lifers in Manchester were protected by officers in a force led by a capable British policeman with the right attitude. But one fears he is a rarity now as the shadows fall over our once-ordered parliamentary democracy and will become yet rarer in the red sunset.

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Julian Mann
Julian Mann
Julian Mann is a former Church of England vicar, now an evangelical journalist based in Heysham, Lancashire.

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