Focus on Crime, Not Woke Virtue Signalling, Says Top Police Chief

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 08: Police officers pose for a photograph with a reveller in Soho during the Pride in London Festival on July 8, 2017 in London, England. The Pride in London Festival sees hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in celebration and support of the …
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Police in Britain should focus on tackling crime rather than woke virtue signalling and joining with left-wing activist groups, the recently installed chief constable of the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.

Chief Constable Stephen Watson said that the public is “fed up” with the leftist lurch seen in police forces across the UK, which he said has passed the “high watermark”. He said that the British people would “really rather we just locked up burglars”.

“Whether it be through adulterating the uniform with pins and tabs and badges or whatever, and having all manner of florid social media accounts. These are all things which I think leave the public cold, and I just personally don’t think they have a place in policing,” Watson told The Telegraph.

He said that officers should not be “putting rainbows on their epaulettes and wearing rainbow shoelaces,” adding: “If you ever see one of the guards outside Buckingham Palace doing that before getting the next plane to Afghanistan, give me a ring because I’ll be very interested.”

British police came under heavy scrutiny last year for “taking the knee” during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests. Watson said that he would “absolutely not” take the knee, saying: “I would probably kneel before the Queen, God, and Mrs Watson, that’s it.”

“I do not think that things like taking the knee, demonstrating that you have a commonality of view with the protesters that you’re policing is compatible with the standards of service that people require of their police.

“Officers could put themselves in a difficult place because if you demonstrate you’re not impartial, and you then have to make an arrest, how on earth do you assist the courts to come to just judgement as to you having executed your powers of arrest in an appropriately impartial professional manner?”

The Manchester police chief also said that forces should place less of an emphasis on so-called non-crime hate incidents.

Watson argued that focus on such offences “detracts” from the central mission of the police, namely to target hardened criminals, such as the grooming gangs who have sexually exploited children in the region for decades.

“I know it might sound at first blush like a relatively outlandish comment but you know it is not an offence to be a misogynist, it is not an offence to be a racist. What is an offence [is] if in holding those unfortunate beliefs, you act them out in such a way as causes harm to another.

“If you take misogyny, for example, within the current criminal code if, as a misogynist, you harass another, there is an offence called harassment aggravated by your misogyny.

“If you lay hands on another, it’s a criminal assault in statute, aggravated by the fact that you’re a misogynist.”

Watson vowed to increase the numbers of “bobbies on the beat” in Manchester, in order to get out of the cycle of reacting to rather than preventing crime.

He has used these tactics successfully during his time at the South Yorkshire Police, which has seen the number of officers on the beat rise to 600 which correlated with a 23 per cent fall in the crime demand on officers.

During Watson’s time at the South Yorkshire Police force, HM Inspectorate of Police rated the constabulary as the most improved in the whole of the country for three years in a row.

“What you come to discover is that far from being a luxury that we cannot afford, I believe neighbourhood policing is something you cannot afford not to have,” the police chief said.

He said that “the one thing that the police are uniquely empowered to do is to arrest criminals and if we’re not doing that then nobody is, and that is a problem.”

So, he has vowed that every victim of a burglary in Greater Manchester will receive a visit from a police officer and a forensic investigator “wherever appropriate”, rejecting the trend of police forces classifying burglary and theft as minor crimes which are often ignored.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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