The Police and the Public –a Declining Relationship

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Brian Booth, Chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation said recently “Police Officers are being made scapegoats for poor policy and law writing”

Irrefutably that is just one of the problems affecting the breakdown of the relationship between the Police Forces of Great Britain and the public they serve and protect. I wrote a recent article about the declining relationship between the Police and the Tory government since 2010, which investigates the Government`s attitude toward policing.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the difficulty in which the police have currently found themselves. But it cannot be blamed entirely on the current Covid-19 problems, it started some years ago. The problems encountered on a daily basis by men and women in the blue uniform are complex, but as with any organization, public or private, you have to look at the management, the leaders, the people charged with setting the ethos, the direction and vision.

Police officers dressing up in rainbow colours, dancing in large numbers at gay pride marches, bending the knee at a BLM rally or standing back whilst the Eco warriors of Extinction rebellion shut down large parts of the country`s capital, can to a certain, but very small extent, be overlooked.

But when Police Officers are directed to stand back and stand down when a unquestionable act of vandalism is taking place in front of them, such as the removal of the Colston statue in Bristol. When Police officers as they did in Manchester, refused to record 80,000 crimes, yet are clearly to be seen in supermarkets threatening people with arrest for not wearing a mask, it is no wonder that the trust and respect has dwindled.

The complete lack of policing at recent BLM marches in London, absent Police presence at the gathering of Indians outside the embassy, in addition to Police inactivity, though present at the continuing troubles at Speaker`s Corner Hyde Park. These actions or inactions cannot be compared to the baton charges experienced in Trafalgar Square. which clearly demonstrate a two-tier system of policing in the Capital.

This fortunately is not the experience in the 43 provincial forces. However, North Yorkshire Police establishing a ‘border’ patrol in lockdown 2 did not go un-noticed. The public witnessed officers in Birmingham standing in the entrance to Sainsbury`s prohibiting people entry to do their shopping, was also a new low.

It is therefore, little surprise, to find that assaults on Police Officers on a daily basis is at a new record high. Despite more severe penalties being available for such crimes, they are regularly not adhered to and therefore are obviously not the deterrent they are supposed to be.

The way to rebuild the trust and respect is to return to the halcyon days of community policing. Starting again, working within the communities they cover. Officers can over a period of time re-build that relationship. Local Bobbies in local Police Stations was always a winning formula. It is beyond question the current system and methodology of policing is just not working. The privatisation of forces cannot be allowed to flourish and take over. It is not clear that this is the aim of the current government but there are private police forces in parts of the country already established, such as in the City of Westminster crystal clear, is the need for a wholesale review into the Police force itself, the not-fit-for-purpose and archaic statutes and the failing judiciary leading to much needed sentencing protocol changes which is modern and reflects society.

The Alliance would return policing to the community. Local commanders would set the direction and delegate resources where best needed for that community. Police and Crime Commissioners would be abolished and the vast sums of monies saved directed towards front line policing.

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National Co-ordinator and spokesperson for Law & Order