10 June 2019
Theresa May should take personal responsibility for the fact that policing is on its knees, says Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton.
Tony was speaking after Mrs May stood down as leader of the Conservative Party on Friday although she will continue as Prime Minister until her successor is chosen.
“I think the vast majority of police officers will be glad to see her go,” says Tony, “She has devastated the police service presiding over a period, as Home Secretary and PM, in which we lost around 22,000 officers, saw our funding slashed and also witnessed a shocking rise in violent crime.
“I don’t think anyone who attended any of the Police Federation conferences which she addressed as Home Secretary would be in any doubt that she showed a contempt for police officers.”
Tony now wants to see the new Prime Minister learn from Mrs May’s mistakes but also put policing and public safety and protection at the heart of Government policies.
The Derbyshire chair’s comments are in line with those of national Federation chair John Apter who wrote a blog to mark the PM’s departure as party leader.
John writes: “Mrs May has made no secret of her thoughts on policing – her contempt and disdain for the profession has been vocal and sustained during her time as Home Secretary, and then throughout her tenure as Prime Minister. Her actions have been devastating for policing, genuinely devastating.
“I hold Theresa May personally responsible for the fact that policing is on its knees – it’s been personal for her, and it has been incredibly damaging.
“Let’s remember that in 2015 when she was Home Secretary, Mrs May attended the Police Federation conference where police officers warned her what the deep and damaging cuts would do to policing. These warnings were genuine concerns from police officers who wanted her to see the reality of the damage she was causing.
“Her response was dismissive, hostile and brutal. The Home Secretary accused us of ‘crying wolf’ and scaremongering. Her speech was an attack; you didn’t have to hear her words you just had to watch her. It was a very personal and insulting attack which demonstrated her utter contempt for policing and those who deliver it.
“Since that infamous speech, it’s been proven that those police officers whose warnings were ignored were right - Mrs May got it spectacularly wrong, although to this day she has not accepted any responsibility. Her arrogance is astounding.”