On reading an article in the Independent, we are even more convinced that there is too much political intrusion and embedded influence within the police service at the highest levels.
The Conservative party are proposing that directly elected police commissioners should be introduced to the UK forces, similar to systems that operate in the United States.
Sir Hugh Orde, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said he was opposed to the idea and warning that public apathy voting could lead to "lunatics" being elected to take charge of forces.
Whilst there are strong arguments for both sides here, the involvement of Sir Hugh must be questioned.
As a police officer, Sir Hugh is bound by the police regulations as much as all officers of every rank.
THE POLICE (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2004
7. Policy background:
7.1 In carrying out their functions and exercising authority, police officers must be seen to be impartial in their dealings with all sections of the community.
7.2 It is particularly important for maintaining public confidence in policing that the Police Service does all it can to root out police officers and recruits who may have racist views or may be perceived to have racist views. This is particularly important in maintaining confidence in policing of minority ethnic and faith communities.
7.3 Regulation 2(1) provides that members of police forces must not take part in activities which are likely to interfere with the impartial discharge of their duties or are likely to give that impression to members of the public.
7.4 Regulation 2(2) provides that members of police forces shall not take any active part in politics and shall not belong to any organisation proscribed by the Secretary of State
7.5 The Secretary of State has determined that no member of a police force may be a member of the BNP, Combat 18 or National Front.
If the police service are to successfully argue that there should be less political interference, then we would ask if Sir Hugh should "lead by example" and interfere less with party politics?
The voters get the politicians they vote for, with all of its downsides. That is democracy in action. We might not all agree with the views of the far right or left, but then it's down to the electorate to make those decisions through the ballot box.
There are many that will agree with the sentiments expressed by Sir Hugh, and they have the perfect right to that stance. But when a senior police officer becomes involved in future party political issues, the line that separates "Police" and "Politics" becomes distinctly blurred.
We sympathise with Sir Hugh in as much as his concerns are for the policing problems that may result from such a proposal. There are right and wrong ways of getting a message delivered and it must be questioned whether the pages of a national tabloid are the right forum.
Sections 7(1) and (3) seem to be the appropriate items to consider in light of the article.
To read the full article click here
In conclusion, our comments are made here to draw attention to the growing overlap of politics in the police force. We neither condone or condemn the actions of Sir Hugh, but would ask if the potential consequences of his public involvement in the matter, might have an adverse effect on the opinion of the police service in general.
The Crime Analysis Team
Nice 1 Limited
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