Thu, 30 Nov 2023

The home secretary called on police chiefs to check their priorities

New British Home Secretary Suella Braverman on Friday criticized the police for spending too much time on "diversity and inclusion," and urged officers to focus instead on tackling crime.

In an open letter to the police chiefs of England and Wales, the minister claimed that "there is a perception that the police have had to spend too much time on symbolic gestures, than actually fighting criminals."

"This must change. Initiatives on diversity and inclusion should not take precedence over common sense policing," Braverman said.

The home secretary stressed that she, as well as Prime Minister Liz Truss, expects law enforcement "to cut homicide, serious violence and neighbourhood crime by 20%." Braverman also called for "a renewed focus" on addressing drugs, vehicle theft, vandalism, and graffiti.

"I am deeply concerned by the current levels of cases being investigated and then being converted into charges and subsequent prosecutions," Braverman noted.

Meanwhile, she pledged to support the police by delivering an additional 20,000 officers and "investing hundreds of millions in 2022-23."

The minister's letter echoed the conclusions of a survey conducted by the organization More in Common last month, which revealed that "the public were almost twice as likely to agree than disagree with the statement that 'the police are more interested in being woke than solving crimes'."

The authors of the report referred to a controversial video tweeted by Lincolnshire police in August showing officers performing the Macarena at a LGBTQ+ Pride event.

In May, Superintendent James Sutherland came under fire on social media for wearing a rainbow helmet in support of an anti-homophobia campaign in Cambridge.

Kneeling by police officers in support of the Black Lives Matter movement has also been a subject of controversy.

Meanwhile, recent years have seen the police forces, and Scotland Yard in particular, criticized for their handling of several high-profile criminal investigations, as well as for the increase in street attacks and knife crime. The problems within the police ranks were highlighted in a bombshell February report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct. The watchdog told Scotland Yard to take immediate steps to eradicate racism and bullying in the ranks and to train officers on the appropriate use of social media.

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