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Thursday, 18 August 2011

Political Opportunism?

It has been reported that, in the apparently escalating row between senior Police Officers in England, and Westminster politicians, the Home Secretary has insisted that it is her job to tell Police Forces "what the public want them to do", and that this is that "the public wanted them to get tough".  This, I suspect, is just the kind of political oppotunism that has, sadly, become the norm with modern (career) politicians.

However, as a Police Force Chaplain, a taxpayer, and a concerned subject of HM the Queen, I am willing to accept the Home Secretary's description of her responsibility.  What I would wish to suggest to her is that the allegedly timid response of the police at the outbreak of the violence in London was a direct result of the 'politically correct' culture that has invaded every aspect of public (and, indeed, private) life throughout the UK.  My late father served with the RUC, and he would be horrified at the way in which the hands of his successors have been so effectively tied (or should that, in context, be 'cuffed'?!) so that an officer is as likely to be charged with assault as is the person who is being restrained/detained.

One of the assurances that I seem to recall the PM giving during the campaigning that led up to the last General Election was that the Human Rights legislation would be, if not scrapped, at least amended in order to ensure that criminals would be dealt with firmly. Perhaps officers, at every level, needed the 'assurance' that they had some backing from the government before providing the response that the public did (and do) indeed want.  It might help defuse the current row if the Government were to bring forward, as a matter of urgency, legislation leading to the early repeal of the Human Rights Act, and assure the Police that they have the authority to get as 'tough' as the public want them to be.

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