20 January 2023
Police Federation members should not be subjected to a witch-hunt in the wake of the David Carrick scandal, according to Derbyshire branch chair Tony Wetton.
Tony said everyone in policing was appalled by the case and that it was vital that public trust and confidence was restored but warned knee-jerk reactions rarely had the desired effect.
He was speaking after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak vowed to introduce reforms to make sure rogue police officers have “no place to hide” and ordered all forces to check against national police databases to “identify anyone who has slipped through the net”.
Tony acknowledged the case had once again damaged the reputation of the police service.
He said: “Our national chair could not have been clearer when he described how disgusted and appalled we all are by this case.
“None of us wants to work alongside people who bring such shame upon the police service and we will do everything we can to ensure that anyone who behaves inappropriately is swiftly reported and dealt with robustly - to the full extent of the law where necessary. Nobody wants corrupt people serving in the police – least of all the officers themselves and they will not tolerate it where they see or hear it.
“Derbyshire Police Federation fully support the Force’s ‘Policing we are proud of’ campaign launched last week, and encourages officers and staff to speak to someone if they are worried about the inappropriate behaviour of a colleague.
“But while the actions of a few damage the reputation of us all, I would caution against making knee-jerk reactions and launching witch-hunts even in the wake of this scandal. Let’s take a reasoned look at the issue and work out the very best way of ensuring that criminals are unable to enter the police or hide within it.
“It’s really important that where officers have made mistakes they are encouraged to accept that and learn from it. On occasions an officer will let himself or herself down – let’s deal with each case on its merits and make sure the outcome is proportionate to the circumstances.
“There are over 140,000 police officers in this country. The overwhelming majority of our members are decent, hard-working men and women who have dedicated their lives to protecting the vulnerable and enforcing the law. They would never dream of breaking the law and they don’t deserve to have their reputations tarnished because of the actions of a predatory criminal.”
His comments came after national Federation chair Steve Hartshorn gave evidence to a Commons Home Affairs Select Committee hearing on policing priorities this week.
Steve told MPs: “As a police officer, to hear what's happened this week is horrific, and it makes me feel sick.
“I have 29 years service in policing, I feel that we’ve let the victims down, I am really sorry as a service that we have done that.
“I don’t think there is any police officer who wouldn’t find this abhorrent in terms of what has happened, and we really need to get to the bottom of this and root out any officer that has those kind of views and commits these horrific crimes.”