Three people were injured when a man drove a car into commuters outside the Houses of Parliament this week, in what was initially treated as a terrorist attack but is now being treated as attempted murder. Police Federation Chair John Apter criticised Prime Minister Theresa May for applauding the police for their response to the incident while simultaneously continuing to underfund the UK Police Force.
MDP commits to collaborating with DPF in 2018-2019 policing plan
The MoD has published the MDP’s policing plan for 2018-2019. The Plan says that the MDP’s purpose is to deliver unique, specialist policing; its says that its style is “professional, respectful and adaptable;” its ethical principles centre around respect and integrity, and its leadership standards demand its officers are “inspiring, confident and empowering.” The Force’s responsibilities are listed as armed nuclear/territorial policing and security; operational surge; intelligence gathering and analysis; crime prevention, investigation and detection; international policing; and supporting the government more broadly. Its objectives for the next year are providing specialist armed policing to the UK’s nuclear deterrent and other MoD assets in critical domestic incidents, as well as the UK’s NATO and other defence partners, and to “develop and improve its effectiveness and capability” in protecting “UK defence interests.”
The MDP’s funding sources are listed and the total funding for 2018-2019 is £138.4 million. According to the plan this decreases to £137.7 million for 2018-2019 before increasing to £142.9 million, £144.6 million, and £149.9 million in the following three years. It highlights personnel priorities including continued professional development as well as improving performance and attendance through continued use of occupational health services.
MDP Chief Constable Andy Adams wrote a forward to the plan, saying that the Force is aiming to recruit 250 additional officers during 2018-2019, noting that the Force’s recruitment abilities are “essential to our future success.” He said that the Force plans to have its officers fully aligned to the College of Policing’s fitness standards by 2020. The Chair of the MoD Police Committee, Sir Brian Burridge, also wrote in the plan, saying that “the Committee will be vigilant in ensuring that the command chain and the Defence Police Federation are constantly involved in the journey towards achieving the Chief Constable’s vision for the MDP as a centre of excellence for the specialist armed policing services.”
This is a positive summary of the critical work covered by the MDP and Sir Brian’s comments on future engagement with the DPF show his wider commitment to work with the MDP workforce.
MDP officers praised by MoD
The MoD this week publicly commended the three MDP officers who participated in the Britain’s Strongest Police Officer competition: Police Constable Claire Stott-Barrett from the Royal Naval Armaments Depot Coulport; Police Constable Josh Haydock from the Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield; and Temporary Police Sergeant Mark Bunce Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston. The competition, held at the Wild Training Gym in High Wycombe, involved six strength events and four different body weight categories.
The MoD has also published an article congratulating MDP Inspector Anne Turner for receiving a Special Recognition Award by the British Association for Women in Policing. Turner is a training manager at the MDP Operational Capability Centre in Scotland and won the award over 247 nominees across 34 forces. The award recognises the contribution she has made to “gender equality or service to females.” Turner is the first female firearms instructor which she noted was a “proud achievement.”
Attack on Palace of Westminster
A man drove a car into a crowd outside the Palace of Westminster this week in what was initially treated by police as an act of terrorism but subsequently considered attempted murder. Three people suffered minor injuries in the incident. The suspect, 29-year-old asylum seeker Salih Khater, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder but has been slow to cooperate with police. Khater had been living in Birmingham but is believed to have driven to Westminster, London to obtain a visa to travel home to visit his family in Sudan.
Khater’s family, from Darfur in Sudan, have said they are in “a state of shock” claiming that the man is a “normal person” with no fanatical ideas or links to religious groups. His local mosque expressed sadness and shock at the news, saying Khater had shown no signs of radicalisation. Scotland Yard said he was not previously known to intelligence services and that they are still trying to understand the motive for the attack.
The Metropolitan Police and Crime Commissioner Cressida Dick, Police Federation Chair John Apter, and Prime Minister Theresa May both commended officers for their work throughout the incident. People have likened the incident to the terrorist attack on Westminster last year in which 45 people were injured and a further five were killed, including PC Keith Palmer who was stabbed to death on the job.
The Times reported that MPs have been considering permanently closing the roads around Parliament to prevent terrorist attacks in the future The proposal has been supported by London Mayor Sadiq Khan although Ms Dick said that it would only provide part of the solution.
Although the motivation behind this incident is still being determined, it has highlighted the ongoing threat of terrorism on British soil targeting strategic assets in the UK, adding weight to the argument for a fully resourced police force.
Police Federation Chief says cuts are making police fail
Chair of the Police Federation, John Apter, has criticised Prime Minister Theresa May for applauding the police when they respond to a critical incident but failing to support and reward them in their daily work. Apter said that the public are being “failed” by police who are not being sufficiently resourced to cope with demand and that there are areas of the country where policing is “broken” because of a “crisis” caused by government underfunding.
In response to Mrs May’s praise for the police response Mr Apter said, “thank you doesn’t quite cut it.” He said that, under current arrangements, the police would have to stop investigating some crimes because the police “can’t do everything.” He asserted that “this is not the fault of police officers on the ground” but “You can only slice the financial cake so many ways.” He added that as well as impacting the rates of crimes being solved, it was impacting on the wellbeing of England’s police officers.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Police have the resources they need to carry out their vital work and we have provided a strong and comprehensive settlement that is increasing total investment in the police system by over £460m in 2018/19, including funding for local policing through council tax precept.” The Home Office nevertheless acknowledge that demand on police is changing, which is why the Home Secretary has “committed to prioritising police funding in next year’s spending review.”
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott supported Apter’s message. She said: “Over 21,000 police officers have been lost since 2010 and cuts on this scale are obviously going to have a huge impact on policing and public safety.”
This announcement follows the UK’s largest force, the Metropolitan Police, stating last year that it would not investigate non-serious, low-level crime so that it could meet rising demand in serious crime, such as violence and homicide. Several other forces have admitted to taking similar measures to make ends meet.
Home Secretary condemns Prime Minister for blocking police pay rise
A letter has been leaked to The Daily Telegraph from Home Secretary Sajid Javid to Prime Minister Theresa May where he condemns her decision to block the police getting a pay rise. Mrs May had rejected the recommendations made by the independent police pay review body for a 3 per cent rise with a 1 per cent one off non-consolidated payment. Javid said that he had been strongly in favour of the rise, having previously expressed his support for better rewarding the UK police. He said that the pay rise they have received amounts to “only a 1 per cent pay rise in reality” because of matters such as inflation and pension contributions.
Javid is aiming to break away from the poor relationship his predecessor Amber Rudd had with the police, but has limited power in increasing police funding for pay and resources as he is keen to present himself as a popular and successful figure in government. As pressure on the Prime Minister increases from within the Conservative Party numerous potential leadership candidates are putting themselves forward, and Javid is one of the favourites to replace her.
Initially the public sector was grateful just to have the 1 per cent pay rise cap lifted, but public sector professions are realising that it is making little difference when inflation is accounted for.