By Mike Speakman (Law & Order Spokesperson)
22nd August 2019
One of the themes drummed into me at basic police training was that it is imperative that the police do not take sides. Respect and trust for the police was seen as conditional on our fairness and impartiality.
I soon experienced practical examples of this. Liverpool is well known for its Orange parades and no more than on 12th July. Policing the 12th July was a major exercise in Liverpool. Orange bands would assemble all over the city and march to the city centre to get on trains for a day out in Southport. Several thousand people were often involved. The weekends throughout the summer were also subject to local marches, accompanied by bands. The first time I ever accompanied such a march I was told in no uncertain terms that I must not march in step with the band as this would imply solidarity with the march. Now this was actually quite hard to do as the music was often lively and vibrant. Such events could be a bit contentious as many of the marches passed though Catholic areas of the city and the odd brick or bottle was sometimes lobbed at the marchers.
Although Liverpool police contained many Catholics and a few Orangemen, you could never tell their allegiance at any of these parades and I never ever heard of the impartiality of the police being called into question.
We were given similar instructions for policing industrial disputes and political demonstrations. In the nineteen eighties there were quite a lot of National Front demonstrations and marches which were opposed by the Socialist Workers Party in particular. Again, it was emphasised that we must not give any appearance of being aligned to any one group. This was not too hard as policemen detested both groups equally, but we were also very keen to ensure that they had their right to march and demonstrate protected.
Contrast that era with today. Any suggestion of impartiality has long gone. Police forces are heavily influenced by the political makeup of local authorities and the Police and Crime Commissioner. Chief Constables were the bastions of police independence and their authority has now been undermined by the Crime Commissioners and increasing central government influence over policing activity.
The most outstanding example today is the police involvement in “pride” parades. Firstly, I do believe these parades are political, many LGBT (etc etc) groups are seeking changes to the law, particularly as the gender identity issue is being heavily promoted. I would definitely characterise these parades as political marches, and are the police impartial? They certainly are not, there is no semblance of impartiality at all, they are full on identifying with the members of these parades. Now it may be that some of these police officers are LGBT (etc etc), but so what? We don’t need to know that, and it should not influence the way they do their job. In these circumstance police officers are like umpires. They are there to enforce the law and ensure fair play. Their sporting of LGBT symbols is like umpires wearing Australian colours at a test match. They appear to have taken sides.
It doesn’t end there, For Britain has been at the receiving end of police bias where the police actively attempt to stop us meeting at a particular venue, sometimes successfully. I was once proud to uphold any organisations right to assemble and have meetings, this is no longer a police priority. They will try and stop any organisation that doesn’t fit the establishments criteria of political correctness.
We need to take politics out of policing and that means from the top down. Get rid of Police and Crime Commissioners, replace the government-controlled Police Chiefs Council and reinstate a professional body to lead the police. Make the police accountable to the local public, not political appointments. Above all, we need to change policing culture and have one law for all. This is what For Britain is about.