Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom says a review ordered by the Home Secretary into officers’ “involvement in political matters” was a distraction from the real issues facing policing.
Suella Braverman has commissioned His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) to carry out a review of police impartiality and activism.
In a letter to chief constables, Ms Braverman said public confidence had been damaged as a result of police “engaging in contentious issues” such as dancing with political marchers, taking the knee in a gesture against racism and “waving the Progress flag”.
Liz said: “Our members are absolutely dedicated to serving all of the communities in Cambridgeshire without fear or favour.
“These accusations of political activism are wide of the mark when much of what’s being levelled at members is about building trust with people and communities.
“This review feels like a distraction from the real issues that our members on the frontline are facing.
“Despite years of cuts and underinvestment, low morale and falling pay, our members continue to work tirelessly day in, day out, to protect the people of Cambridgeshire.
“The Home Secretary would be better served addressing those issues.
Tiff Lynch, the national Federation’s deputy chair, said: “Policing should never be put on any political agenda and is too important to be kicked around like a political football.
“Our members want to go out there and serve communities in the best way possible, but need help when the Government constantly changes the goal posts.
“One minute they want police officers to be more involved, the next, they want them to act like robots.”
The Home Office said the HMICFRS review has been asked to cover:
- policies and processes that go further than, or contravene, obligations set out in the Equality Act 2010, and how those impact operational decision making
- the quality and neutrality of associated training provided to implement such policies and processes, and by which organisation(s) this is delivered
- the selection process for groups that are consulted on revisions to policy or process, how decisions are made on which policies and processes are selected for amendment, how the views expressed by those groups are balanced against others, and what consideration is given to other groups that may be impacted as a result
- the involvement of staff networks in the development of policies and processes, and the use of police resources and time dedicated to such networks and whether they are involved in contested political matters
- communications with the public on these issues, including social media
Ms Braverman said: “The British people expect their police to focus on cutting crime and protecting communities – political activism does not keep people safe, solve crimes or support victims, but can damage public confidence.”