The Government has put forward plans for a police covenant similar to the Armed Forces Covenant which had its principles enshrined in law in the Armed Forces Act 2011.
Like the Armed Forces Covenant the Police Covenant will not create legally enforceable rights for Police personnel, but instead will introduce a legal requirement for the Home Office to report on its principles annually
The Covenant will read as follows:
"This Covenant acknowledges the sacrifices made by those who serve or have served in our Police Forces, either in a paid or voluntary capacity, whether as an officer or as a member of staff. It is intended to ensure that they and their families are not disadvantaged as a result of that commitment and seeks to mitigate the impact on their day to day life or in their access to justice. Police officers are required at all times to uphold the important principles of policing by consent, the foundation of their long-standing relationship with the public. We ask a great deal of our police and we expect the highest standards to be maintained. In return, we have a responsibility to provide protection and support to the police.
The Covenant recognises that working within policing comes with a high level of personal accountability, duty and responsibility
requiring courage and personal risk both on and off duty. This recognition extends to all those who support police forces in upholding the principles and practices of their vocation. Recognising those who have served in policing unites the country and demonstrates the value of their sacrifice. This has no greater expression than in upholding this Covenant." *
*source House of Commons Library Briefing Paper number 9110
Anything that helps with job retention and morale can only be a plus. The Government must uphold its side of the Covenant and act on recommendations derived from the yearly report.
There also needs to be a proper return to policing by consent rather than the vision of a police state that we have seen over the past seventeen months. Many officers have reported a big decline in morale as the continually changing lines between pandemic legislation and guidance became blurred. This led to public trust in the police dropping to very low levels of confidence.
With our party proposal for a written Constitution and a policy to re-establish the Peelian principle that " the police are the people and the people are the police," we can look to build confidence back into our nation.
Our whole policing policy can be read on our website, but I have included some extracts of the policy below.
"The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.in which we include crimes and violations of individual rights.
The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon the public approval of police actions. Police secure the willing cooperation of the public in voluntary observation of the law."
The public approval element was completely lost over the pandemic and we can only put the blame at the door of the Home Secretary and the Conservative government.
A very significant part of the policy is that " we will establish defence of individual rights,investigation and prosecution of violations and violators as the main function of the police, placing emphasis first on crimes against a person such as physical assault and robbery and then crimes against property such as burglary and theft."
This ties in directly to the non-aggression principle and will strengthen the role of the individual to take responsibility for their actions. In turn the police can concentrate their efforts on protecting the individual rights and so we get a virtuous circle of protection and cooperation.
Retention of police numbers is important, as I have said before the thin blue line is very thin. I have seen this first hand as previously I spent an afternoon out with the local beat Manager for the town I live in.
The Home Secretary is very proud of her pronouncements on increasing police numbers. In real terms they are only bringing numbers back to 2010 levels. When we send more funding abroad in foreign aid than the police funding budget each year things at home will almost certainly deteriorate.
We are suggesting a different approach to policing and it is up to every individual to consider our proposals and if they so choose vote for us in GE2024 and start the change.
Glenville Gogerly EADW - Libertarian Party Chairman and Home Affairs Spokesperson.