I make no apologies for writing again about the current state of the British Police force. What I have found when talking to ordinary men and women who don the blue each day is that there is an enormous disconnect between them and their so called senior officers who are supposedly in command.
Never more was this reflected than in the case of PC Palmer murdered at the gates of Parliament not ten feet away from a senior commander who locked the doors of his car and hid. I have no compunction whatsoever in calling Craig Mackey out for what he is, a coward. Yes the senior bods at New Scotland Yard have closed ranks to defend him and his actions, you would not expect any less from them.
However in this case they could not be more wrong. They have further deepened the already enormous chasm between them and the officers they seek to manage, direct and dare I say protect. We are told that the doors on his car would have been locked from within by the other “people” in the car with him as protocol. Well the “others” in that car, if they too are serving police officers, I presume one would be his driver, then they are total cowards too.
Three people in a car not twenty feet away from a brother officer who was being stabbed to death, chose to hide and lock the doors, securing them safely. What further makes this a cowardly dereliction of their duty is that, when the incident was over, they drove away. They drove away, leaving other officers and an MP to try and attempt valiantly to save PC Palmer’s life.
When did this descent into the disconnect that is prevalent between the management and seniority and the constables and sergeants that are the backbone of the force start? I think it started with positive discriminatory recruitment, promotion and direct entry.
In 2014 Cameron the then PM decided to introduce direct entry to the force at Inspector and Superintendent level. This meant that anyone with a degree could apply to become a Police Inspector. This was a calamitous mistake. Man management and budget control are required at this level but a deep understanding of the policing brain, the ethos and culture within the police family can only be gained by doing the job over a number of years. These skill sets are a paramount requirement for promotion.
You need to have the experience of being lied to throughout an interview, how to stomach the “no comment” response in hours of interviewing. A Police Officer needs to understand the people with whom you come into contact with each and every day, those that will run, hit you, spit at you and those that are genuine. You cannot get that experience at university studying a zoology degree.
Fast track promotion breeds a culture of not wanting to get involved, of dodging and staying well away from any job that may just be tricky or need a certain level of bending the rules to get through. It breeds and establishes the feeling that coming into work every day involves doing the politically right thing and staying clear of trouble.
Coming in for shift to build a portfolio and looking towards that next step up the ladder will only create that disconnect. Your officers turning out to every job, no matter what it is, running toward the trouble, need that security that if it goes wrong, and it will, they have a boss who will have their backs. Not a boss who`s first thought is “how will this affect my career”.
I have long advocated that UKIP should take up the challenge on behalf of the police force, and too the Prison service, but that is another article that needs writing. The following are not UKIP Policy but just my thoughts on policy ideas for the future.
- Scrap direct entry and the need for a degree as an entry requirement at recruitment
- Investigate the influences of common purpose within the force
- Recruit a minimum of 25 – 30,000 new officers
- Scrap direct entry recruitment at Detective level
- Establish a national police force to deal with CSE, terrorism, cyber- crime, fraud and organized crime
- Keep the 43 police forces as ‘local’ forces dealing with local issues and crime
- Each local division to have a divisional commander responsible for his/her budget and policing management best targeted at local issues
- Scrap Police Crime Commissioners. Return to police panels on a local basis made from councilors, and members of the public elected to those posts
- Introduce minimum levels of service prior to promotion.
The biggest change should be scrapping the 50% rule on sentences and a complete overhaul of the parole board and probationary service. This list is not exhaustive. I firmly believe that if Ukip take on the police as a cause, coupled with strong law and order, they will be vote winners.