The National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales has condemned the spate of anti-police news reports at a particularly sensitive period - including a Sky News report today on the number of serving officers with convictions for criminal offences.
Given there are more than 130,000 officers and PCSOs in England and Wales, the 200 figure cited in the report is a tiny percentage, explained John Apter who referred to it as a “regurgitated anti-police story” which “just wants to undermine policing”.
But this report from Sky is just one of many reports fuelling negative perceptions of the police service.
Mr Apter is urging for more support from the media as he warns of the detrimental effect on officers, the public and potentially the Government’s recruitment drive.
He said: “It is absolutely right that policing is transparent and accountable to the public; and that we continually look to see if we can do things even better by listening to the communities we serve - but the continuous vilification of policing and my colleagues in the media is seriously damaging.
“Policing is going through a tough time right now and these continuous attacks are chipping away at the morale of our members who are doing their best during this trying period. These anti-police reports also risk eroding public confidence in the service at a time where forces are trying to recruit more officers. This biased reporting risks damaging the recruitment drive.”
Mr Apter continued: “In the current climate where it is fair game to attack policing I would not be surprised if officers conduct less stop and searches out of fear of being publicly berated. They are damned whatever they do. Policing in the UK may not be perfect, but it is not as bad as is currently being portrayed.
“I am proud of my colleagues; the fantastic work they do every day goes largely unnoticed and doesn’t grab the headlines. We know the silent majority do support their police officers. I would urge those who do to speak up - we need your support now more than ever,” he concluded.