So I told you that we needed to be honest about dealing with the debt crisis and that doing so would mean police spending cuts. But I also told you that as Home Secretary I would be tough on crime, I would give you the powers you need to get the job done, and, as a government, we would do everything possible to maintain a strong police presence on our streets. I know many of you were sceptical. I know you meant it when you said that spending cuts would destroy the police as we know it, that the front line service would be ruined and that crime would go shooting up….and I want to take this opportunity too to remember the officers who have fallen while on duty in the last year. PC Shazahan Wadud; DC Adrian Grew; PC Andrew Duncan; and PC Mick Chapman They died serving their communities, and we honour their memory.
– Home Secretary Teresa May’s Police Federation 2014 Speech
Welcome to the Metropolitan Police Force’s new approach to making our local streets safer. Working in partnership (don’t you just love that phrase?), with our local councils, housing associations and the Department For Work & Pensions the police are smashing high level criminal gangs. High level criminals, living in our dwindling council housing and housing association supplies? High level?
I kid you not, we the general public are supposed to be profoundly reassured by the Metropolitan Police Force’s new cost-effective approach to policing. We’re not supposed to wonder why they would choose to attack crime by flinging back into our jail cells those petty thieves who have only recently been flung out of them. We’re not supposed to ponder the wisdom of raiding ‘Homes-in-Multiple-Occupation’ because of the poorly researched belief that the migrant workers living in them are drug dealers, as well as petty thieves.
Nor are we supposed to ponder the efficacy of trumpeting one’s triumphant drug raids one minute, whilst claiming that the neighbourhoods you’re policing have no appreciable drug problem the next (please see Harrow Observer). Nope, we’re supposed to be exceedingly grateful for this new cost cutting approach. That, and the increasingly significant role being played by Neighbourhood Champions in London Boroughs that were once very effectively and proudly policed.
Remember Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe? Britain’s toughest and most demanding Police Commissioner? Appointed as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in September 2011, he reflected the Home Secretary’s desire to find a “single-minded crime fighter” to lead the police force.
He is the man who introduced the Met to the slogan “Total Policing”, a mix of zero-tolerance policing and care for victims. And now the man reduced to voicing a 101 answerphone message, which reassures potential victims of crime, that their ‘non-emergency call’ will be dealt with in due course. And after you’ve listened to that, try listening to the voice of a belligerent police officer, as he or she strives aggressively to persuade you that your ‘non-emergency’ phone call is actually no policing matter of any sort.