6 November 2019
As a police officer I am politically neutral. Police officers are not allowed to be active members of any political party and, pre-election, we have to be even more careful on giving any opinions that could be considered party political views. As a result it’s understandable that I’m often asked why I am so political. The reality is that policing is political and it’s more political than it has ever been before. Therefore, it is important that our voice is in the thick of any discussions about policing. I will never shy away from challenging the Government, Ministers or MPs, irrespective of their political party, if that’s what I believe is in the interests of our members. So if I am political, it’s because I have to be. What I am not though is party political; I leave that for others.
Now that a General Election has been called and Parliament has been dissolved, it ceases to function as normal and we move into a period called Purdah. This places restrictions on what local authorities, civil servants, the Government, the media and many others, including police officers, can do or say.
It seems, unlike recent General Elections, that law and order will be at the very heart of the political promises being made by many of the political parties. My colleagues know only too well that, to take law and order off its knees, what is needed in policing and across the Criminal Justice System is long-term, sustained investment. The General Election gives a future government the ideal opportunity to do the right thing and make policing a genuine priority, with credible financial support.
During the next month I have no doubt that politicians from all parties will be making promises about policing. Those politicians must understand that these promises must be genuine, not just a strap-line on an election poster. The public expect this and my colleagues, who deliver policing, deserve it.
My message to whatever government is in power after the 12 December is this - we will work with you, but we will also hold you to account for the election promises you make. Policing has been failed so many times in the past, if the safety and security of our public is truly a priority then this must change.