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Police Federation

The Chair Asks...Home Secretary Priti Patel

1 September 2020

National Chair John Apter sat down this month with Home Secretary Priti Patel for the inaugural ‘The Chair Asks' feature. This is a new section in POLICE magazine where prominent figures involved in policing are quizzed by the Chair about the questions on members’ minds.

This wide-ranging and exclusive interview covered subjects including the Police Covenant, vilifying of officers on social media, ‘Stop and search’ and how best to protect what the Home Secretary described as ‘a very special and specific blue light service’.

The Home secretary praised the response of officers during the pandemic and emphasised that: ‘I want your members, and officers around the country, to know that they have got a Home Secretary, and a Prime Minister and a Government that fully backs them.’

The wide-ranging discussion covered many of the topics on the lips of members. These included:

Assaults on officers

  • HOME SECRETARY: “The bottom line, an assault on an emergency worker is reprehensible and it is thoroughly unacceptable”
  • JOHN APTER: “When a police officer or emergency worker is assaulted, that’s an assault on society and there must be a deterrent”

Policing during a pandemic

  • HOME SECRETARY: “We police by consent. As you know, police officers are part of the communities in which they serve, and that’s a great thing actually.”
  • JOHN APTER: “I strongly believe, and I think that the vast majority of the public do, that policing has excelled during this pandemic.”

The policing family

  • HOME SECRETARY: “When I look at our police officers - days in, day out, I am just overwhelmed by not just their bravery, but their humanity.”
  • JOHN APTER: “Even before you were announced as the Home Secretary, we had a conversation...even then your passion for policing was really welcome.”

Police Covenant 

  • HOME SECRETARY: “I think it is absolutely vital that we give officers absolute protection. By that I mean protection isn’t just kit and body armour. It’s the human side – it’s the stuff that matters to them in terms of their welfare and their safety.”

Stop and Search

  • HOME SECRETARY: “Stop and Search absolutely is a crucial tool in policing and I think it will be a sorry state of affairs, quite frankly, if police officers feel intimidated to use one of these fundamental tools that they are well trained to use.”
  • JOHN APTER: “It causes tension, but I stand by Stop and Search being an incredibly important and useful tool in preventing crime and saving lives.”

Watch the full interview

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