Anger Is Most Definitely Blue

So, Cruella de May delivered her speech to the Police federation Conference 2014 yesterday.  I have to admit I didn’t catch it live, I couldn’t stand the prospect of throwing something hard and heavy, and the damage that might wreak.

A lot of the papers this morning have got it wrong, the Police Federation is NOT a Trade Union, never has been a Trade Union, and I seriously doubt it ever will be.  Can you imaging a government of any colour agreeing to that?

I watched her opening salvos one the 10 o’clock news last night and was seriously unimpressed with her body language.  This was a Government Minister who had come to fight, she wasn’t about to take shit from anybody.  Aggressive, cold and uncompromising.  I’m absolutely convinced that a huge percentage of that was directly attributable to her treatment at the hands of the Police Federation previously.  She waited her time then served her vengeance cold,  Predictable and perfectly understandable.

She criticised officers for, in some instances, displaying a “contempt for the public” in their handling of sensitive cases.

Citing excessive stop and search inflicted on black communities and failures in handling domestic violence cases, May said problems appeared to lie with a significant minority of officers rather than just “a few bad apples”.

I’m not getting involved in whether those examples are good or bad examples, but what the hell do they have to do with the Annual Police Federation Conference?  Just an opportunity to Bash The Police knowing it would make media headlines.

She pledged to break the powerful federation, announcing an end to its automatic right to enrol police officers as its members, in effect curtailing the closed shop in policing .  Apart from the fact I haven’t a clue what she was talking about here, membership of the Federation has always been voluntary, it’s an exceedingly aggressive stance “vowing to break the ‘powerful’ Federation”, and what’s the alternative?  Membership of the Federation or membership of NOTHING. She’ll never allow a Trade Union so what on earth is she talking about?  Who/what can you join if you don’t fancy the Federation?  If you want to stop a perceived Closed Shop you have to offer an alternative other than NOTHING.

Will Riches, one of two candidates to be the federation’s chair, said afterwards the reaction of delegates to the speech was one of “shock and bewilderment”.

Ian Pointon of Kent police branded the speech vitriolic. He said of the Home Secretary: “This morning she left as a bully.”

Cruella included  Hillsborough, the death of Ian Tomlinson and allegations of corruption in the Lawrence and Daniel Morgan murders. She also cited the Plebgate affair, which cost Andrew Mitchell his cabinet job after he allegedly swore at a member of Downing Street’s police staff which Mitchell denies., and the refusal of officers to answer questions from their own watchdog – which she said the federation encouraged.

Plebgate is probably the only one that was relevant to the Conference, the others just a bit of Bobby Bashing.

The police must change

“I can already hear some of you say, “but the opinion polls show confidence in the police hasn’t changed.” And that is indeed true. The opinion polls show consistently that about two thirds of the public trust the police to tell the truth. But that is no reason to rest on our laurels, because we should never accept a situation in which a third of people do not trust police officers to tell the truth.”

The Fed must change too

“I do not want to have to impose change on you, because I want you to show the public that you want to change. I want you to show them that you have the best interests of the police and of the public at heart. But make no mistake. If you do not make significant progress towards the implementation of the Normington reforms, if the Federation does not start to turn itself around, you must not be under the impression that the government will let things remain as they are.

The Federation was created by an Act of Parliament and it can be reformed by an Act of Parliament. If you do not change of your own accord, we will impose change on you.”

The Government must also change

Nope, never heard her say that.  The public trust politicians far less than they trust the Police but apparently they don’t need to change

This Government has already demonstrated that it is perfectly willing to change laws in order to get its own way, it has already done so on numerous occasions, making unlawful policies lawful by changing the Law.  Arrogant, childish and BULLYING in my opinion.

So all in all I’m glad I didn’t risk the integrity of my TV/Computer by watching her speech live, but now we know what colour Anger is, most definitely BLUE.

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One thought on “Anger Is Most Definitely Blue

  1. I read the Home Secretary’s speech, along with persuing some of the media response. Yes, it made me angry in places, especially the catologue of events and policies cited. Then as you rightly say when will our politicians answer public concerns over them, as shown in repeated opinion polling on the level of public trust.

    Somehow I doubt the Police Federation will not run a poster campaign along the lines of “65% trust the ordinary police officer; 20% trust their MP”. These are not the exact figures.

    What exactly motivated the Home Secretary to make such a speech is not completly clear, although one suspects an element of disenchantment, if not dismay about the police service in its entirety.

    For sometime now the Conservative Party, first at its “grassroots” thirty years ago began to shift to a critical friend stance, largely based on personal experiences of policing or more accurately the lack of service. By time the Conservatives returned to power nationally much had changed within the party, yes the “grassroots” had become greyer and smaller. There was a vocal reformist group, some within parliament, others in Whitehall-Westminster – notably Policy Exchange – who pressed ahead with their agenda.

    Not to overlook the cuts to spending, with sixteen thousand fewer police officers for example.

    Somehow the service’s senior officers maintain “all is well”, our effiency programme will deliver “the same for less” and of course ‘crime is down’. How can a public service say this with a 20% cut eludes me. A point that HM Treasury will relish.

    Did we hear a response to the speech yesterday from those senior officers? No, not in my limited scanning of the media.

    With one exception ACC Paul Netherton, of Devon & Cornwall, who tweeted: ‘I think the Home Sec got her speech wrong today. The Pol Fed had said they needed to change and cops don’t respond well to threats’. He tweets as ACC_Operations.

    Interestingly his Chief Constable clearly stated about a month ago “less means far less”. A rarity from the service’s senior ranks.

    Anger yesterday was appropriate. Today the service needs to THINK hard what next. Some like Inspector Gadget think a new Labour government, in 2015, will help. Maybe. THINKING is hard, will the Federation do that, let alone others who serve today?

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