Blogs from Police &   
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Police: Police Foundation Report: An Initial Response

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

Yesterday, the Police Foundation published their Strategic Review of Policing in England & Wales. Three years in the making, the report examines policing past, present and future and makes a lengthy series of recommendations about where we need to go from here. The reaction to the launch on social media was predictably mixed – and I wanted to take a few moments of your time to offer a brief series of my own initial reflections on what I’ve read.

The first thing to say is that I think much of the content of the report is bang on. The world is changing beyond all recognition – demographically, socially, environmentally, technologically – and there is an overwhelming need for policing to keep up with the times. Among the headline analysis and recommendations in the report, I would wholeheartedly endorse the following:

  • The need for a “radical shift to a more systemic preventative approach” to crime (one that is both public-health based and trauma-informed)
  • The recognition that the responsibility for crime prevention...

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Police: An Impossible Job

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

Yesterday, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police lost her job. After 40 years of public service, she reached the end of the road. And there were plenty of people lining up in the immediate aftermath of the announcement to say that it was not before time.

There can be no avoiding the fact that the Met is in a desperately difficult place at the moment – as difficult as any that I can recall in the last twenty years. And, in fairness, critics of the organisation and its leadership have not been short of evidence in support of their concerns:

  • Crime is rising – particularly violent crime. 
  • Last year set a bleak new record for the number of teenagers murdered in the Capital.
  • At the same time, detection rates are falling – particularly for some of the most serious offences.
  • Figures reported in the Guardian last year suggest that, nationally, fewer than 1 in 60 rape allegations result in a suspect being charged.
  • Last year, Sarah Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a serving Metropolitan police officer.
  • The year before, Bibaa Henry and Nicole...

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Police: Her Name was Sarah

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

I hardly know where to begin, so I will begin by saying her name. 


Her name was Sarah.

I’ve struggled for days to put my thoughts into some semblance of order – to make any kind of sense of what I’m thinking and feeling. I’m still struggling now. 

What follows is my best (and no doubt inadequate) attempt to describe where I’ve got to – informed, I hope, by continuing to listen to the voices and wisdom of others: of women; of victims; of survivors; of ordinary people who are deeply and understandably horrified by what they have heard and seen.

It is difficult to imagine a crime more heinous; more wicked; more sickening. It is difficult to imagine it getting any worse than this. And there should be no hiding place for policing from the immensely difficult questions that follow. From the anger. From the disbelief. From the sense of absolute betrayal. That one sworn to protect us was the one responsible for this unthinkable crime.

When it comes to this case, nothing and no one is more important than Sarah, her family...

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Police: Institutional Humanity & Heroism

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

It’s been a hell of a year for police officers in this country.

Twelve months ago, in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, policing stood accused of institutional racism. And it wasn’t the first time that had happened.

Three months ago, in the aftermath of the murder of Sarah Everard, policing stood accused of institutional misogyny.

Yesterday, following the publication of an independent inquiry report into the murder of Daniel Morgan, policing stood accused of institutional corruption.

Yesterday, police officers up and down the country had their heads in their hands.

Because, while all of this has been happening, police officers have also been in the frontline of the response to:

  • a global pandemic – trying to make sense of rushed legislation, trying to implement imperfect guidance, trying to protect their own health and the health of their loved ones, all while trying to keep the rest of us safe;
  • a wave of public protests on the streets of London and Bristol and beyond – attacked from all sides,...

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Police: A Blueprint for Policing (2021)

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

These are the most challenging times for policing in this country since the end of the Second World War.

I said as much at the start of 2020. And then the virus came. And then George Floyd was killed. And then the streets filled with protestors. And then the second wave of the virus hit. And then Sarah Everard was killed. And then the streets filled with protestors. And then the Government proposed new (and singularly ill-judged) legislation for the policing of protests. And then the streets filled with protestors.

At each point along the way, police officers have been caught in the middle of it all, seemingly damned whatever they do. ‘All Coppers Are Bastards’, remains the refrain. And yet, in an increasingly divided society, as we face an increasingly uncertain future, the need for good policing has never been greater.

This then is my blueprint for policing: eleven brief thoughts about where we go from here.

I. We need to talk

We need to have a proper, old-fashioned, grown up conversation about policing: about...

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Police: #KillTheBill

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

A night of rioting in Bristol.

Yet another set of grim and deeply depressing headlines. 

Police officers with broken bones and punctured lungs. Police vehicles overturned and in flames. Police buildings under sustained attack. Extreme violence and endless vitriol directed yet again at the brave women and men who stand on the thin blue line.

What the hell is going on?

I don’t know whether I’m actually capable of a coherent answer to that question, but I do know that it’s about more than a single night of criminality in a single urban neighbourhood.

It’s about much more than that.

At this particular moment in time, it feels as though police officers are being attacked from every side:

  • By those who think the policing of protests is far too robust
  • By those who think it isn’t nearly robust enough
  • By those who think the policing of Covid regulations is far too draconian
  • By those who think it isn’t nearly draconian enough
  • By feminists
  • By misogynists
  • By anti-racists
  • By actual racists
  • By those who accuse the police of being facists
  • By...

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Police: Crossroads

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

Policing is at a crossroads.

The headlines this morning were truly grim.

The pictures were even worse: photographs of women being pinned to the ground by police officers, at a vigil held in memory of a murdered woman.

Clapham Common is a short walk from where I live. I went there yesterday. I went with my eldest daughter in the middle of the afternoon. We bought flowers and we paid our respects. It was peaceful and calm and subdued. It was powerful and poignant and painful. It was beautiful. As we walked slowly round the bandstand, I spotted a couple of uniformed police officers – one man, one woman – standing back from the edge of us all. They were quiet and dignified. I wandered over to them and thanked them for being there.

My daughter and I were back at home as evening drew in. As the crowd swelled. As the atmosphere changed. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know exactly what happened. I don’t know exactly who said what and I don’t know exactly who did what, so I’m not going to try to second guess any of it. That kind of uninformed...

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Police: Gross Misconduct

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

To err is human, but to foul things up completely requires a politician. Or rather, it requires a particular kind of politician: ideologues flawed by incompetence and floored by dishonesty.

Yesterday (Jan 17th), I read a powerful article written by Danny Shaw – who was, until very recently, the BBC’s Home Affairs Correspondent. Titled ‘Home Truths’, it tells a story that exemplifies so much of what has been wrong with the political leadership of this country during the last eleven years: a combination of ideology, ignorance and ineptitude, allied with a basic inability to tell the truth about almost everything. (You can read Danny’s piece in full here:

Let me try to explain why it resonated so strongly with me.

From 2010-2018, the Government cut 44,000 officers and staff from policing in England & Wales. It was a conscious, deliberate political choice – one with consequences that were as predictable as they were devastating.

From the outset, police officers tried to warn politicians...

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Police: Questions, Questions

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

These are unprecedented times.

No peacetime Government in the last hundred years has faced a greater set of challenges than those now facing the Government of Boris Johnson.

That being said, I do have some questions about the response to Coronavirus in this country.

I have never been a supporter of those who offer commentary and criticism from the sidelines – from the comfort of their armchairs – without ever having faced up to a real challenge in real life. So I’m not about to become one of them.

But I do have some questions. They look something like this:

Why do we in Britain have one of the highest excess death rates in the Western world?

Why do we have one of the bleakest economic outlooks in the Western world?

Why did we delay the first lockdown?

Why did we fail to protect care homes?

Why did we fail to get adequate PPE to frontline workers?

Why was there one rule for Dominic Cummings and one rule for everyone else?

Why has he still not been held to account?

Why has Government messaging throughout the...

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Police: #OfficerDown

Written by RSS Poster policecommander

I originally wrote much of what follows last summer – in the desperate days that followed the killing of PC Andrew Harper. Little more than a year on, the agony of history is repeating itself.

Officer Down.

Most give what they can; some give all they have. Sergeant Matiu Ratana – known to all as Matt – was one of those who gave everything. He was murdered in the line of duty in the early hours of Friday 25th September 2020. 

I never had the privilege of knowing him, but I know exactly what kind of man he was – one who understood that precious, old-fashioned thing called duty. The tributes paid to him – by colleagues, friends, local community members, rugby players and coaches, defence solicitors and even some of the prisoners he dealt with in custody – have been extraordinary. People loved him. He was “one of a kind”, “highly respected”, “an inspiration to all who knew him”, “friendly, capable and lovely”, “larger than life”, “big in stature and big in heart”. In every photo I have seen of him, he is smiling.


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Latest Policecommander Stories

Police Foundation Report: An Initial Response
An Impossible Job
Her Name was Sarah
Institutional Humanity & Heroism
A Blueprint for Policing (2021)

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