Saturday, November 28, 2020
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Reader’s Comment: Pity the scapegoated police

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In response to Kathy Gyngell: Ordinary coppers are neutered by their PC bosses, Malcolm wrote:

Thank you! At long last someone has had the courage to say what many sensible people have been thinking for ages. The police have been treated as an easy target for scapegoating over the ills in society by politicians for at least two decades in order to make those same politicians, who should really be carrying the can, look tough. They are after all a very easy target when they are banned by law from taking any form of industrial action, however badly they are treated.

Straw started it with the wholly unnecessary and totally biased Lawrence Enquiry; a visitor from Mars would be forgiven for concluding that it was the police not racist thugs who had committed the murder. The outcome was pre-ordained, and in the absence of evidence being found of police wrong-doing then no matter: a whole new crime of previously unknown “institutional racism” could be invented to tar them. The result was predictable and has come to pass – a disenchanted workforce that trusts no-one and has become risk averse and pliant to PC agendas advocated by their supine and politically driven chief officers. Who can blame them?

Theresa May continued the trend as Home Secretary, blatantly abusing the police both verbally and through draconian changes to their working conditions, rewards, promotion and pension entitlements under Tom Winsor. Let’s have elected (ie political) local “Crime Commissioners” with the power to fire chief constables; let’s have senior officers with no policing experience recruited from industry and parachuted into superintendent roles; let’s make sure that the public are told it’s because the police can’t be trusted. She did all that quite cynically to further her own political career and burnish her claim to be the next Iron Lady, taking on “vested interests”.

It was notable that she didn’t try it on with the Fire Brigade, a workforce with a history of militant union activity. Those officers not nearing retirement took the other best option and left. They were replaced by young recruits schooled from the start in the bizarre requirements of pandering to the latest multicultural or politically correct fad; law enforcement was secondary to the need to avoid causing offence. With the IPCC, an organisation that seems to start from a position of assuming police guilt in any complaint or incident, looking over their shoulder, operational officers would be brave indeed (or very foolish) to ignore the stifling restrictions of political correctness in order to do what their predecessors did without thinking: enforce the law without fear or favour.

The result of all that is a police force which was once renowned the world over for its benign but efficient law enforcement, largely unarmed and operating with overwhelming public support, has been reduced to painting its patrol cars in rainbow colours to advertise its inclusivity but has seen that public support drain away to its lowest levels since its difficult birth in the early 19th century and the days of mob rule on our streets. The blame for that should be firmly placed where it belongs; on our myopic political classes. Well said, Kathy. As the old saying goes: pity the poor copper.

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