Suella Braverman to urge police to stop ‘pandering to political correctness’

Suella Braverman was said to have contacted Essex Police to express her displeasure - a claim the force vehemently denied.
Credit: PA
Home Secretary Suella Braverman will speak on Wednesday. Credit: PA

The home secretary is set to call for police to stop “pandering to politically correct preoccupations” and focus on catching criminals.

Suella Braverman is due to deliver a speech on policing following the release of Home Office data at 9.30am on Wednesday.

It comes a month after the scathing Casey report which laid bare a series of grave concerns about the Metropolitan Police's culture and standards.

Ms Braverman's speech will also confirm whether the target to recruit 20,000 police officers has been met.

Opponents previously claimed that the government, which had until the end of March to reach the figure, was lagging behind its 2019 commitment to replace thousands of jobs cut during austerity measures.

Speaking at the Public Safety Foundation think tank, Ms Braverman is expected to say: “Everything that our police officers do should be about driving down crime and keeping people safe.

“My mantra at the Home Office is simple: more police, less crime, safer streets and common sense policing.

“My vision for common sense policing is as clear as the public’s. It means focusing effort on deterring and catching criminals; not pandering to politically correct preoccupations.

“It means that policemen and women that come from and live in the communities they serve, familiar with local challenges, and familiar to local people.

“Common sense policing means police focused on delivering criminal justice, not social justice. That’s what the public wants.

“I believe in the police. But the policing in which I believe isn’t riven with political correctness but enshrined in good old-fashioned common sense.”

However, this issue was not outlined in the Casey report in March.

The report was the most significant review in policing history and was deeply troubling for Britain's largest police force.

In the 300 pages, it detailed discrimination that is "pervasive and exists right across" the force and uncovered widespread failings in every department examined.

Baroness Casey said: "The use of force is eye-watering against specifically Black communities" and that prejudice is used "to hold power over people" within the force.

She added that it repeatedly lets down women and children, black, Asian, ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ+ people.

Suella Braverman speaking in March after the publication of the scathing Casey report

Speaking when the report was published, Ms Braverman had said: "It is clear that there have been serious failures of culture and leadership in the Metropolitan Police, which is why the Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, has been taking action to restore confidence in policing in London.

"I will continue to hold the commissioner to account to deliver a wholesale change in the force's culture."

Figures published in January showed that more than 3,000 police officers needed to be hired in less than three months in order to meet the target.

As of December, 16,753 officers had been hired as part of the recruitment campaign, meaning 84% of the target had been reached, with 3,247 recruits still needed.

Rishi Sunak said that he is “confident we are on the cusp of” hitting the target of hiring 20,000 new police officers in England and Wales.

The prime minister said the goal was at the heart of his pledge on taking office to cut crime.

Mr Sunak said: “When I stood at the steps of Downing Street six months ago, I made clear that I would do whatever it takes to cut crime and make our communities safer.

“This is not only about putting more officers on our streets, it has also been a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the face of policing, attracting more women and people from ethnic minority backgrounds, and making the police become more representative of the communities they serve.

“While we are making good progress, we know we must go further," the prime minister added.

According to The Sunday Telegraph, some police forces had been inviting back failed candidates as part of efforts to meet the target, which fuelled fears of rogue officers infiltrating the ranks.

The Home Office expected to spend £3.6 billion on the recruitment programme by March, with a total cost of £18.5 billion over the next 10 years, according to Whitehall’s spending watchdog.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman will call for ‘common sense policing’ in a speech on Wednesday Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

In June, the National Audit Office (NAO) warned the recruitment campaign would “exacerbate pressure” on a criminal justice system that is “already under strain” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

It also said hiring police community support officers (PCSOs), special constables or police staff to fill the roles could lead to vacancies elsewhere in the service.

Meanwhile, inspectors from police watchdog His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said problems at the Metropolitan Police had been exacerbated by the number of young and inexperienced recruits in the force as a result of the recruitment drive.

In October, Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said he was reviewing the force’s recruitment targets after questioning whether it is “wise” to hire thousands of new officers at speed.

Scotland Yard was meant to hire 4,557 extra officers during the recruitment drive.

The Home Office said all recruits are subject to a “rigorous” vetting process and must meet national standards in order to be hired.

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