The following is taken from the Police Federation Annual Conference (16th
May) keynote speech by Jan Berry, Chairman of the Police Federation of England
and Wales, to the Home Secretary.
And Jan is not happy:
may I thank you once again for coming to what is your second and final
conference, and for agreeing to answer questions. We always encourage
politicians to answer police officers’ questions. I should point out, any
mention of cash or honours here today will be strictly about our cash, and our
They tell me the view is better from the backbenches, so I’m sure you will
have plenty of time to reflect on decisions you have – and critically haven’t –
made over the course of what’s been a very busy year. Despite all the
challenges we have faced, police officers have done what they always do.
They’ve given it 110 percent. The reaction to the terrible murders in Ipswich was a first class example of forces sharing
skills, knowledge, equipment and experience.
For years we’ve policed using common-sense. This is now under serious
threat. As a result of Government diktats the service has been reduced to a
bureaucratic, target-chasing, points-obsessed arm of Whitehall; debasing what was once a sensible police
service. There is no better example of the control-freakery that is eroding
common-sense: than Penalty Notices for Disorder. When PNDs were first mooted,
we acknowledged that used properly, they could bring some benefits. But we were
also absolutely adamant that PNDs, could never and would never, deliver a
faster, more effective justice system on their own.
A child who threw buns at a bus?
A man who threw water over his girlfriend?
And a man caught in possession of an egg … ‘with intent to throw.’
These are hardly weapons of mass destruction! All these cases should have
been dealt with by a quiet word and good old-fashioned common sense.
As we heard yesterday from Sergeant Sam Roberts, it is madness that an
officer gets 30 points if he or she issues a penalty notice but only 20 for
charging, and pursuing the case through the courts. Sam told us about an
officer who arrested someone for shoplifting. But rather than chase points and
rather than follow what officers are pressured to do, the officer investigated
further. It turned out that the offender had over two and a half thousand TICs;
his home an Aladdin’s cave of stolen property, not to mention a lucrative
business selling it online. How can we have a system that discourages police
officers from investigating crimes properly; from doing what they know and
believe is right, and encourages them to take short-cuts and issue PNDs like
Discretion has been at the heart of British policing since the days of Sir
Robert Peel. It is the very essence of policing by consent; of OUR relationship
with the public and their relationship with US. The most astonishing thing is
that these principles of policing by consent were born in Britain. Right now, as I speak, there are literally
hundreds of British police officers serving overseas – in Romania, Jordan, Jamaica – training forces to replicate our ethos and
our values. But at the very same time, government ministers and Chief Officers
are collaborating in their destruction.
Last year I
described how the police reform programme was like a juggernaut careering
downhill, out of control. We appealed for you to take the wheel and apply the
brakes. You must have misheard our instructions. Not only did you fail to apply
the brakes, you are jumping out of the cab, handing the wheel over to a new
driver – and probably one with a dodgy licence. But there’s actually nothing
funny about that. We will have to live with the consequences. The Police
service is being dismantled, piece by piece, eroding the Office of Constable in
the process. My greatest fear is that when the failed experiment is over, and
you’re busy writing your memoirs, it’ll be impossible to put the service back
So there you
have it from the horses mouth, rather than the snakes. The above shows how the
Police themselves feel the force is being run. The Police don't want to be
chasing points, they want to be chasing criminals. The greatest factor ruining
the effectiveness of today's Police Force is the continual trend to strip away
Police discretion. Any fool can hand out PND's (penalty notice for disorder) to
achieve their required number of points to meet government targets, but it
takes real policing to reduce crime. It's not the criminals who are handcuffed
today, it's the police.
You can read Jan's full speech HERE. (It's worth
reading in full, she makes many cutting remarks).
We can only hope that when the time comes, the Police Service will take the right actions against any Minister who has been found to be corrupt or acting against the interests of the people they are there to serve.
NuLab – Destroying Britain from the inside out.