British policing has “lost its way” and officers should stop taking actions – including ‘taking the knee’ and wearing partisan political badges or symbols – that could be seen as ‘woke’ by a public which has lost confidence in many forces across the country, a hard-hitting report has warned. MailOnline has more.
A manifesto by the Policy Exchange think-tank has urged Britain’s next Prime Minister to implement a series of drastic reforms that would protect citizens from a mounting tide of violent crime and disorder and restore public confidence in policing.
The report, entitled “What do we want from the next Prime Minister?”, makes 11 recommendations including a “return to basics” and “focus on fighting crime”, “no more taking the knee and other acts that could be seen as ‘woke’”, tougher laws to clampdown on road-blocking eco-zealots and left-wing statue vandals, and a drive to recruit “hacker cops” to tackle a surge in fraud and online sexual abuse.
The author – David Spencer, a former Metropolitan Police officer and the head of Policy Exchange’s Crime and Justice department – also suggests abolishing the College of Policing, developing an app so local residents can report a range of offences directly to police, from violent crime to street-drinking and aggressive begging.
Critics have accused many of Britain’s police forces of “going woke” – whether by officers “taking the knee” as they did during the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in the U.S. in 2020, “going soft” on eco-protesters from Extinction Rebellion and one of its offshoot factions, Just Stop Oil, or adopting the LGBT colours of Pride parades.
Just earlier this month, Lincolnshire Police came under fire for dancing the Macarena at a Pride event in Lincoln – and appearing to boast about this by sharing video of officers performing the routine from the force’s official Twitter account.
Mr Spencer said: “If the past few years have shown us anything, it is that British policing has lost its way. An overhaul of police leadership is needed which is capable of delivering for the public. When institutions become closed shops they cease to be effective – this cannot happen with the institution that exists to protect the public from crime and disorder.
“We need to breathe new life into British policing so that new approaches to crime can be applied, particularly to growing areas like cybercrime and online fraud, which are already costing Britons and the wider economy billions each year.”
The report warns that public confidence in the police is being eroded, partly as a result of the failure to tackle rising burglary and robbery.
Pointing out that clear-up rates for these offences are “woefully low”, it adds: “The proportion of police-recorded crimes which resulted in a suspect being charged or summonsed has followed a downward trend in recent years, from 15.6% in the year to March 2015 to 7.3% in the year to March 2021.
“Similarly, out-of-court disposals (such as ‘police cautions’ and ‘cannabis warnings’) have fallen over the same period from 9.1% to 4.4%. Policing’s ability to solve more common crime types is woefully low with only 3.5% of reported residential burglaries, 6.3% of reported robberies and 4.1% of reported thefts solved during the financial year 2021/22.
“There may be a host of reasons for these trends, including victims being less likely to be willing to support pursuing a prosecution or increasingly stringent crime recording standards.
“However, there appears to be no doubt that the ability of the police to solve crime once it has happened has reduced significantly over the last decade.”
Burglaries, thefts and robberies increased by 24% between March 2017 and September 2019. There was a reduction from 2020 driven by lockdown but inspectors expect to see an increase in the post-pandemic figures.
Worth reading in full.
You can read the Policy Exchange report here.
Stop Press: Boris has defended the police from the charge of being too ‘woke’. The Telegraph has more.