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Officers are ?sick of political pledges to treat violent crime like a disease?

Federation also turns on highest echelons of policing for ?getting things the wrong way round?
Published - 24/04/2019 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle

Rank-and-file officers have turned on politicians and their own leaders for making their job on the frontline “worse” with trendy pledges to treat violence like a virulent disease.

The Police Federation has hit back after the Met was accused of “going soft” on climate change protestors, surrendering London’s streets which have already seen more than 1,000 arrests and 70 people charged over the last week . 

More than 10,000 officers have been deployed, backed up by 350 from neighbouring forces to police the operation to curtail the Extinction Rebellion.

While Environment Secretary Michael Gove told activists the government had “got the message”, the Police Federation claimed ministers and mayors on all sides of the political spectrum had not.

It has also torn into Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan accusing them of subscribing to the view that it is possible to make up for “patchy, poor-funded policing” by going big on public health programmes.

Unfortunately politicians – and some at the highest echelons of the police force – seem to have got things the wrong way round; argued West Midlands Federation Chairman Richard Cooke.

Mr Javid, who said serious violence should be treated like "the outbreak of some virulent disease – a national emergency", also sought to reassure frontline staff about the government's proposed "public health approach" to the issue.

Sergeant Cooke said he “shuddered with scepticism” at well intentioned commentators keen to label crime as an “illness”.

Now he fears, worryingly, that the latest person to “fall into this trap” is the Home Secretary.

In an impassioned speech, Mr Javid even seemed to suggest that he almost caught the crime lurgy when he was a child, claiming that he grew up in the most dangerous street in Britain, and was (unsuccessfully) pressurised to deal drugs and shoplift by his peers at school, suggested Sgt Cooke.

There is no doubt that public health projects can make a positive difference in the fight against crime. But such initiatives should be seen as the ‘cherry on top’ built on layers of solid, well-resourced neighbourhood policing.

For decades, an ideology that emphasises the role of “prevention” and “rehabilitation” and is more dismissive of “punishment” and “enforcement” when it comes to tackling crime has permeated our police forces, courts and prisons, he added.

“I, and the vast majority of my colleagues, believe that these contrasting approaches need to carry equal weight in our crime-related institutions,” said the federation leader.

“Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

“Such attitudes have led some experts to draw misguided conclusions from Glasgow the success study of choice for champions of the public health approach.

“After Strathclyde Police launched the violence reduction unit, which made gang-related stabbings and slashings a public health issue as well as a policing issue, violent crime virtually halved in 10 years.

“Not that 10 years is an acceptable time period to wait, but people forget that extensive police resources, a tough approach to criminals and robust use of stop and search was central to tackling violence in Scotland’s murder capital.

“Many of us in the police service are wary of moving further away as an institution from the idea that crime is a choice that must be severely punished, and the best place for violent criminals is in prison, where they cannot harm members of the public.

“Middle-class individuals of a liberal dispositi

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