Given the dire state of the channel boats crisis and all the rest of it, Priti Patel probably feels she has more than enough on her plate as it is. Which is a shame, because it seems increasingly clear that someone needs have a proper fight with the police.
Just this week we have no fewer than three stories which ask hard questions about different aspects of their conduct and operations. Individually, each is serious. Together, they are a call to arms.
First, there is the ongoing scandal that is the woefully inadequate response to Insulate Britain’s sustained attack on our motorway network, ports and other vital infrastructure. Whilst the official response is hamstrung to an extent by inadequate law, ministers are rightly frustrated that the police are not being more creative in applying existing legislation that might allow them to take more effective action.
Second, there are the chilling reports that Sarah Everard’s murderer, a serving officer, used his knowledge of his Covid-related powers to publicly handcuff and abduct her. Onlookers thought they were witnessing an arrest; it was actually a kidnapping.
Third, there is Harvey Proctor’s fury that the police have heavily censored an ‘independent review’ that cleared the Metropolitan Police officers who hounded him as part of Operation Midland, their investigation into fantastical allegations of a satanic VIP paedophile ring. (This was Tom Watson’s witch-hunt, which we covered at the time.)
Shockingly (or not shockingly at all, as you prefer), Merseyside Police have concluded that the officers involved did nothing wrong. It would be fascinating to know their reasoning. But we can’t, because the report has apparently been so heavily redacted as to make it utterly opaque.
Bizarrely, it turns out that the Met actually set the terms of reference for the investigation. When Proctor made further complaints to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, these were… referred to the Met, “which is currently considering the appropriate next steps”.
The Government’s response to all of this has been to allow Cressida Dick, the scandal-stalked Metropolitan Police Commissioner, to remain in post. Feeble doesn’t even begin to cover it.