Rishi Sunak to stamp out ‘woke’ policing

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Ministers are studying the example of a no-nonsense chief who overhauled the failing Greater Manchester Police

Rishi Sunak to stamp out ‘woke’ policing
Rishi Sunak has made it clear crime would be one of the Government’s top three priorities
Rishi Sunak has made it clear crime would be one of the Government’s top three priorities CREDIT: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak is preparing to launch a major offensive on crime as ministers seek to emulate the success of an “anti-woke” police chief who has turned around two forces.

Sources said the new Prime Minister had made it clear crime would be one of the Government’s top three priorities after next month’s Autumn Statement, which Oliver Dowden, the Prime Minister’s Cabinet enforcer, says will first restore “economic stability”.

Ministers are studying the example of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), where a “back-to-basics” chief overhauled the “failing force” and took it out of special measures in just 18 months.

Stephen Watson, Chief Constable of GMP, who has warned public tolerance of “woke” policing is at a “high water mark”, put more officers on the beat and required the force to pursue every crime lead – resulting in the official watchdog taking it out of special measures.

A government source said: “We want to get officers on to the front line doing what they are supposed to do which is preventing and solving crime. The chief constable of Greater Manchester has done a great job on that. We want to see what Greater Manchester have done replicated across other forces.”

During his summer leadership campaign, Mr Sunak alluded to the “woke” policing criticised by Mr Watson when he warned that “police forces must be fully focused on fighting actual crime in people’s neighbourhoods, and not policing bad jokes on Twitter”.

Forces have been criticised for sending officers to arrest social media users for offensive posts, as well as gestures such as “taking the knee” alongside Black Lives Matter protesters.

Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, accused Sussex Police of playing “identity politics” after it defended a legally male transgender sex offender by declaring it would not “tolerate any hateful comments about gender”.

The anti-crime drive is also expected to include pushing through a Victims’ Bill overseen by Dominic Raab, the recently reinstated Justice Secretary.

First, Mr Sunak will seek to stabilise the economy with an Autumn Statement expected to include significant tax rises and spending cuts. The Telegraph can reveal electric car and van owners could be hit with road tax in less than three years, under plans being considered by the Chancellor.

Warning over tax increases

However, Kit Malthouse, who quit as education secretary last week, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, who was Liz Truss’s business secretary, have both issued warnings about tax increases.

Writing for The Telegraph, Mr Malthouse says companies simply pass on tax to consumers.

Mr Watson replaced Ian Hopkins as chief constable of GMP after the force was placed in special measures in December 2020. He had previously achieved major improvements as chief constable of South Yorkshire Police.

He said: “The fundamental failing was simply that we stopped doing the basics well, we stopped being the police and we stopped doing many of the things that our public have every right to expect.”

During Mr Watson’s time at GMP, the average time taken to answer a 999 call has been slashed from one minute 22 seconds to just seven seconds, putting it among the top 10 response times for forces in England and Wales. Arrests have increased by 60 per cent.

Stephen Watson, Chief Constable of GMP, who has warned public tolerance of 'woke' policing is at a 'high water mark'
Stephen Watson, Chief Constable of GMP, who has warned public tolerance of ‘woke’ policing is at a ‘high water mark’ CREDIT: Heathcliff O’Malley

The Prime Minister wants the Government to focus on crime, the NHS and immigration to demonstrate to voters that the Conservatives have delivered on their 2019 election manifesto.

In his first speech in Downing Street last week, he pledged to deliver on the Conservative manifesto’s promise of “safer streets”.

Writing in The Telegraph, Mr Dowden, who has been tasked with pushing Mr Sunak’s domestic agenda through, states: “Our pitch to the people of Britain won us an 80-seat majority because it was focused on them and the issues they care about, and we need to show we have put those words into action.”

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