Of the many admirable demands made by supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement, such as dismantling capitalism and making white people pay for centuries of vile oppression, none commended themselves to me more than the demand that we should defund the police. This is a hugely attractive proposition, I thought, as I watched the chief constable of Kent, Alan Pughsley, ‘take the knee’ in solidarity with people who want him abolished.
I felt much the same upon hearing the words of Superintendent Andrew ‘Andy’ Bennett of Avon and Somerset Police, who watched as BLM protestors threw a statue of Edward Colston into the river. ‘Andy’ instructed his men to do nothing at all — because, as he explained, guarding the statue may have led to problems, and the last thing the police want is problems. Later, when asked what would happen to the people identified on camera for this act of public vandalism, he said: ‘We might ask some people to voluntarily attend a police station. But we haven’t got that far.’ No, indeed — don’t put yourself out, Andy, whatever you do. Defund now, then.
The police do not do what we want them to do, and have not done so for a very long time. By ‘we’, I mean the vast mass of people who pay their wages through our taxes. We would quite like the police to catch people who break into our homes and steal things, for example. Currently, in England and Wales, 97 per cent of burglaries go unsolved, the success rate having halved since 2013. In other words, if you are burgled, it is next to useless ringing the filth — although if you’re really lucky I suppose they might offer you counselling. Better to assuage your anger than solve the crime.
In response to the appalling stats, the Metropolitan Police commented that burglary presented ‘particular challenges’ in finding culprits. Does it? Well blow me down. Once again, don’t put yourselves out on our account, lads. Robbed of your wallet and mobile at knifepoint? No point ringing the police — again. Only 4 per cent of robberies in England and Wales in 2017 were solved. Had your car nicked? There is just a 2 per cent chance that the police will bring a prosecution.
However, shout politely, ‘If you don’t mind terribly, I think white lives matter too!’ and your chances of being apprehended and prosecuted are four times what they would be if you nicked someone’s car and more than twice as much as if you’d broken into someone’s house. The Lancashire old bill were hot on the trail of a bloke who flew pretty much exactly that slogan over a football match this week. A little late in the day they have come to the conclusion that he had not broken any law. I could have told you that.
The police — or, at least, police chiefs — are never happier than when grandstanding on crimes which they think will bring them political cachet and thus the respect of the rest of our liberal elite. And there is no force more determinedly, hopelessly progressive than the Metropolitan Police. Last year we had the pleasure of seeing officers dancing with Extinction Rebellion protestors. How cheering this must have been to the thousands of Londoners whose working day had been sabotaged by the demonstrations. It was a bridge too far even for the government and the Met’s chief constable Cressida Dick was, uh, gently asked what the hell was going on.
Neil Basu is the head of special ops at the Met. Amid controversy about comments by Boris Johnson such as comparing women who wore the burka with ‘letterboxes’, Basu said: ‘Every public figure who’s got a microphone and has got an opportunity to speak should take the opportunity to be bringing society together. The most important thing everybody should be aiming for is a socially cohesive, inclusive society.’ Perhaps, Neil. But your particular job is stopping crime, not social engineering. Basu then implied that if the current Prime Minister applied for a job with the Met, he wouldn’t get in.
Basu also signs up to the asinine belief that the over-representation of black men in our prisons is the consequence not of greater wrongdoing on their part, but of ‘racial bias built into the very fabric of our institutions and society’. Why, then, are people of Indian and Chinese descent not also over-represented? Progressives cling to many expedient notions in order to keep afloat their berserk ideologies, but few have been as damaging either to a socially cohesive society, or indeed to the murder rate among young black men, than this transparent canard.
The obsession with hate crimes, meanwhile, has become ludicrous. A couple of years ago I was reported to North Wales Police for making the insensitive and perhaps unforgivable joke that the Welsh language seemed to be short of a vowel or two. When I heard about this I was firstly perplexed and then a little angry. Who would bother the police about such an obviously trivial matter, I wondered? I thought about contacting the North Wales police and crime commissioner, Arfon Jones, to find out what response they might give to someone so egregiously wasting police time, until it became clear that the complainant was the North Wales police and crime commissioner, Arfon Jones.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the creation of the fatuous job of police commissioner has increased the politicisation of the police. Humberside Police piled round to a bloke called Harry Miller’s workplace to lecture him about re-tweeting a humorous limerick about transgenderism. To Miller’s enormous credit, he fought his corner and got a High Court adjudication which decided that the police had unlawfully impinged on his right to freedom of expression. But what an arrant waste of valuable time.
If you want the perfect example of political grandstanding by the police in their pursuit of wholly ectoplasmic — or indeed nonexistent — crimes, look no further than Operation Midland, the brainchild of the Met. The allegations of a fantasist, Carl Beech, against Edward Heath and other senior politicians played right into the Met’s hands: right-wing Tory establishment bastards sexually abusing our children! Sixteen months of investigation, the lives of many ruined and the dead defamed, all costing around £4.5 million and with not a single prosecution in result. The inquiry into this debacle identified 43 ‘key failings’ in the Met’s management of Operation Midland, which it said had been ‘hysterical and disproportionate’. You’re not kidding. The senior officers involved in this catastrophe have all since been promoted.
It is scarcely a surprise that the police top brass have been co-opted into the woke sensibilities which afflict almost the entirety of our establishment. That it has happened after ten years of Conservative rule is, of course, a calamity in itself. But the police need to understand that the public is no more with them on their fashionable obsessions than it is behind the extreme-left causes espoused by Black Lives Matter. It is often said that the police cannot do their job without the consent of the general public. What they need to understand is that the ‘general public’ includes the rest of us. Indeed, it is largely the rest of us.
I suppose we should feel a certain sympathy for the ordinary copper on the beat, if they still have something as recherché as a beat. It is undoubtedly the case that the reduction in police numbers has seriously hampered their ability to catch criminals. It is also beyond doubt that political correctness, imposed upon them from above, has meant that they are in danger — from their own side — when they try to fight crime.
The most obvious example is the (mercifully temporary) cessation of stop and search, during which time street murders dramatically increased in our capital. It was a Conservative prime minister, Theresa May — a former home secretary — who wished to acquire solid anti-racist kudos from banning stop and search. Well, congrats, ma’am: more black lives were lost as a result. If a Conservative government cannot grasp that the police are losing the support of the majority of the people through their relentlessly progressive agenda, then who can?
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