A group representing the profession’s rank-and-file has stated that policing should not be used as a “political football” in response to Suella Braverman’s allegations that officers were biassed on contentious matters.
The Police Federation of England and Wales stated in response to the Home Secretary’s declaration that she has mandated an inquiry into “police impartiality” that the Government wants its personnel to “act like robots.”
Deputy chairwoman Tiffany Lynch said: “Policing should never be put on any political agenda and is too important to be kicked around like a political football.
“Our members want to go out there and serve communities in the best way possible, but need help when the Government constantly changes the goal posts.
“One minute they want police officers to be more involved, the next, they want them to act like robots.”
The Liberal Democrats charged Ms. Braverman with using the police “as a weapon in her culture war,” while Labour slammed her for requesting an investigation “into her own political obsession.”
It happens after Ms. Braverman requested the His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) conduct an investigation into what she called “activism and impartiality” in the police.
She cited instances such as cops not kneeling or “policing gender-critical views on social media” as examples.
She told the Telegraph newspaper: “In recent years, we’ve seen an unacceptable rise in police partisanship and the police straying into politically contested areas.”
The Home Secretary is viewed as a contentious character because of her comments on “culture war” issues and her past tirade against the “tofu-eating wokerati”.
Prior to now, she has made a contrast between what she refers to as “common sense policing” of high-priority crimes and “political correctness” issues, which she claims are frequently a diversion.
Officers should concentrate on fighting crime rather than getting involved in politics, according to Ms. Braverman’s letter to policing chiefs.
“The review I’ve commissioned will explore whether the police getting involved in politically contentious matters is having a detrimental impact on policing. I will leave no stone unturned in ensuring policing acts for the benefit of the British public,” she said.
A Labour spokesperson said: “Instead of setting out serious practical policies to tackle Tory failures, all the Home Secretary is doing is commissioning reports into her own political obsessions – and while she’s doing this, more criminals are being let off and more victims are being let down.”
Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael said: “For the Home Secretary to use the police as a weapon in her culture war while criticising them for being political is a new low – even by her standards.”
Following “small boats week” and “health week,” Ms. Braverman’s declaration marks the conclusion of the government’s “crime week” of related announcements as part of its summer recess policy blitz.
The Home Secretary has asked that the HMICFRS review’s conclusions be made public by the end of March 2019.
It has been asked to address issues including the choice of groups that are consulted on changes to policies or procedures and the participation of staff networks in the creation of policies.