Priti Patel plans to curb police chiefs from speaking out about policy

Home Secretary Priti Patel is set to STOP police chiefs from speaking out about government ‘because it gives the impression officers are setting policy’

  • Priti Patel hopes to draw a ‘brighter line’ between policing and policymaking 
  • She has become ‘concerned about senior officers commenting on politics’ 
  • Plans set to be included in consultation of the Policing Protocol Order of 2011

The Home Secretary plans to curb police chiefs from speaking out about government policy, according to reports.

Priti Patel is considering ways to draw a ‘brighter line’ between policing and policymaking, the Times reported. 

It is understood she is concerned about senior officers commenting on politics, and believes it is often unclear that the government, rather than the police, decides policy.     

However, those close to Patel claim she does not want to stop police officers from voicing their own opinions. 

It comes after the Home Secretary recently backed making it harder to convict police drivers of motoring offences linked to their work.  

Priti Patel is considering ways to draw a ‘brighter line’ between policing and policymaking, according to reports

Patel’s latest plans are expected to be included in a consultation about an upcoming overhaul of the Policing Protocol Order of 2011. 

The protocol clarifies the role and responsibilities of police and crime commissioners, the mayor’s office for policing and crime, chief constables, police and crime panels and the London assembly police and crime panel.   

It outlines what these bodies are expected to do and how they should work together to fight crime and improve policing in the UK. 

Patel reportedly wants to make clear that the Home Secretary has the right to ask questions about policing operations, following recent criticism of high-profile protests.  

However, some senior officers have called on Patel to ‘step back’ from policing, with Staffordshire Police Chief Constable Gareth Morgan voicing concerns she has interfered on some operational issues.

It is understood she has become concerned about senior officers commenting on politics, and believes it is often unclear that the government, rather than the police, decides policy

Police disperse crowds in Hyde Park following an anti-lockdown protest in April

Another added: ‘I’m not sure I could think of that many examples of chiefs being really outspoken about government policy. Lots of officers talked publicly about austerity and the impact of cuts, which was completely legitimate.

‘But even if she redefines the rules, it won’t mean I can’t have a view on government policy and articulate it publicly — because I’m a free person.’ 

Earlier this month, Patel backed making it harder to convict police drivers of motoring offences linked to their work.

The Home Secretary announced a new test that will judge police driving skills against others who have had enhanced training, rather than against civilian drivers.

Police drivers sometimes face driving charges when high-speed pursuits end in accidents which leave bystanders killed of injured.

Ms Patel told the Police Federation conference: ‘One of the many difficult parts of your job is driving in high-pressure situations – chasing suspects and responding urgently to incidents.

‘The Police Federation said that it wasn’t fair for officers involved in a collision to be judged in comparison with a regular member of the public.

‘We listened. There will be a new test to assess the standard of driving of police officers. 

‘The courts will judge officers against a competent peer with the same training, so that the officer’s skills and training can be taken into account when deciding whether their driving was careless or dangerous.’ 

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