Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Pride in London
Artillery Row

Time to check the police’s thinking

Have they forgotten what they are for?

The quality of British policing has declined. In 2010–11, fifteen per cent of crimes recorded by the police resulted in a charge or summons, which has fallen to roughly six per cent today. There were cuts to funding and falls in staff numbers but charges and summons do not correlate cleanly with these. Funding and staff numbers have increased in recent years, but police performance has yet to follow suit.

Simultaneously, police have been encouraging radical politics. This has included expressing support for Black Lives Matter protests, allowing the statue of Colston to be destroyed and participating in the “LGBTQI+” movement. The police collectively have funded Stonewall by almost half a million pounds over seven years. Many chief constables plead poverty but forces spend thousands of pounds each year on Pride events and LGBT paraphernalia.

Why should hate crime be treated more seriously than violent crime?

Stonewall is a radical organisation that seeks to create transformative change — mostly without seeking consent at the ballot box. Like most radicals, it knows it would only lose that way. It seeks to impose change through redirecting the efforts of essential institutions.

Through its “Diversity Champions” scheme it purports to audit organisations for their “inclusivity”. Around two in five police forces are members. Participants are praised for the extent to which they recognise special privileges for transgender officers, through supporting LGBT events and charities, and through their procurement policies. But these are not settled political matters.

Political activists have been encouraged, mostly off the back of two political innovations. The Macpherson report (1999) recommended that the police work with community organisations to improve accountability. In practice, this has meant political activists. Their hand was strengthened by the Equality Act 2010, which required public authorities to promote “equality”, somehow, anyhow — and so the police outsourced it.

Independent advisory groups (IAGs) are supposed to provide scrutiny of police by trusted community figures. In practice, they are composed mostly of mysterious campaigners, often LGBT activists. Police will often refuse requests under the Freedom of Information Act to say who these people are and what they advise.

From what we can discern, they tend to talk hate crime up as a police priority. But most hate crimes are non-violent — often coming down to name-calling that occurs in unpleasant social interactions. Why should they be treated as seriously, if not more so, than violent crime? 

Non-crime hate incidents (NCHIs) are the invention of the College of Policing. They involve interactions that are unpleasant but not criminal, such as racist comments. The Metropolitan Police Service recorded 10,000 of these over five years, an increase of 129 per cent. At the same time, it has been placed in “special measures”, in part for failing to record 69,000 actual crimes per year, whilst recording practically no incidences of anti-social behaviour.

The College is doing much to set the tone. It was set up in 2012 by Nick Herbert when he was policing minister. Now Lord Herbert, he runs the College, which was founded to set ethical standards and oversee training. It has since expanded its role, taking on the power to investigate “super-complaints”. Lord Herbert, who is also a figurehead of the LGBT movement, commissioned a review into the College’s operations that found its performance both wanting and envisioned a greater role for it.

The result of this plan is the police becoming institutionally racist

Its invention marked the police becoming a full profession, meaning greater restrictions on entry and higher educational and ethical standards. Ten years on, there is no cessation of scandals. Meanwhile, the prejudices of liberal elites have taken precedence. Many officers are afraid to challenge the College, since it holds sway over promotions.

Its Race Action Plan, published jointly with the National Police Chiefs’ Council, commits the police to becoming an “anti-racist” organisation, justified by a purported lack of trust among black people. Yet statistics show that any shortfall is only found amongst those black and young, students, middle-class and black Caribbean. For black Africans, there is no substantial deficit. 

The plan commits the police to discriminating in favour of black people, promising them better treatment and more help in working within the police. The result of this is the police becoming institutionally racist — in that it is now official policy to treat some people differently based on their race, not their individuality, and to assume they have special requirements. This echoes the injunctive of the radical political ideology of “critical race theory”, that it is “not enough to be non-racist, you have to be anti-racist” — that the remedy for racist discrimination is anti-racist discrimination.

Look a little deeper, and the plan lacks any transparency. It is set to be scrutinised by a board headed by the barrister Abimbola Johnson, which is packed with leftists. It will function as a conduit for the views of activists, through its “diversity and inclusion forum”. Any organisation can participate — “effectively the membership will be whomever wants to join”.

Recent inquiries have exposed appalling cases of interracial violence in the sexual abuse of mostly white girls, predominantly by Pakistani Muslim men. The police have been excoriated for turning a blind eye and for “regarding many child victims with contempt”. Given this, why are the police committing themselves to modish identitarian causes?

The essential function of the police is to uphold the law. What is the average Briton meant to think if they see thefts and assaults going ignored and unpunished whilst the police monitor tweets? Suella Braverman has told the police to stop “symbolic gestures” but without systematic change that could be a “symbolic gesture” itself.

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