By Connor Steel
HOME SECRETARY Suella Braverman has officially ordered a new review into ‘general police impartiality’ as she also accused forces and officers of being involved in “political matters” over recent years; the Fareham MP announcing this fresh update last Saturday afternoon (September 2) as Parliament returns to action after the traditional summer recess.
The move comes as part of an ongoing Home Office crackdown on police behaviour following high profiles cases such as Wayne Couzens, who was found guilty of murdering and raping Sarah Everard. It further follows figures released in late March 2022 that show a total of approximately 88,200 complaints around the country across the 12 months before.
Many of these complaints involve officers commenting on social media regarding “political issues”; with examples such as lockdown restrictions, Black Lives Matter, and cost of living crisis. Similarly there has been video footage that shows police ‘taking the knee’ and dancing with protesters, despite official rules they should not be seen to adopt any position.
The Home Secretary is concerned that these examples are damaging the public confidence in police forces due to this engagement in “contentious issues” and has written to policing leaders for assurances that the time should be spent on the public priorities. These include a recent announcement by the Home Office on “theft investigations” as viewed here.
Therefore Ms Braverman has since commissioned members from “His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS)” to undertake this review, which is hoped to conclude by spring 2024. It is said to cover social media, communication with the public, and certain criminal offences where they may have been influenced at all.
But Labour has stated that the Home Secretary is “wasting her time” and said that she was commissioning a report into “her own political obsession”. The Liberal Democrats ‘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 for her.”
The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) haven’t given a comment whilst the police Federation’s deputy chair Tiffany Lynch warned policing is “too important to be kicked around like a political football”. She added: “Our members want to go out there and serve communities in the best way possible but require help when the Government moves goalposts.”
Readers are encouraged to explore media links like BBC News, Sky News and ITV News for fresh developing updates on this story; the Home Secretary likely to offer a Commons statement late this week on police and immigration stories.
PICTURED BY ALAMY (2KC5ERD): Suella Braverman leaving Downing Street back in 2020 as then Attorney General.