Fed chair hits back at claims policing is woke
“And if that’s by attending a carnival, a fete, a cultural event or a sporting fixture and showing our human side then that to me is good community policing which, hopefully, will pay dividends down the line.
“But all this talk of anti-wokeism aims to mask the years of underinvestment in policing, which has prevented us from having more officers on the streets and in our communities.
“A lack of officers and a lack of money is why we’re not able to fight crime as effectively as we would like, not because of the Government using policing in their ongoing culture wars,” Steve added.
Steve’s comments echo those of National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) chair Martin Hewitt. Speaking at the NPCC’s joint annual conference with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), he said officers should defend their actions if they’re effective in building public confidence.
He said: “Where we struggle to explain action we are taking or where it is not having a positive impact, we need to reconsider it.
“But if we are accused of being woke when taking action that we know is effective in building trust with people where that increased trust is needed, we must stand tall, champion and defend that action.
“We are all rightly sceptical of tokens or gimmicks. Meaningful action that works is what we need.”
APCC chairman Marc Jones said he does not think the term “woke” is helpful.
He said: “The term woke means different things to different people. And whenever you get a term that can be adapted in that way, it’s unhelpful.
“Because when somebody says a word meaning a particular thing, and other people hear what they want to hear, that’s always going to be challenging.”
Home Secretary Suella Braverman sent a letter to police chiefs in September claiming that there is a perception that officers spend too much time on symbolic gestures.
She also said that initiatives on diversity and inclusion should not take precedence over common sense policing.
Speaking to journalists after his summit speech, Mr Hewitt hit back at the comments.
He said: “Diversity and inclusion at work is important for us to deliver what we need to deliver in crime-fighting in keeping the public safe, and it's not a diversion. I disagree that it's a diversion.”
Mr Hewitt added: “If we want to work with black communities, and have black communities feel that we are there for them, and that we are protecting them as much as we protect anyone else, and have people come forward when incidents happen so that we can investigate and prosecute, that is diversity and inclusion.
“I think we shouldn't characterise that as being something that is separate to us delivering on our policing mission.”
Mr Hewitt said initiatives on diversity and inclusion are part of common sense policing.
He explained: “Common sense is probably the first expression I would use about everything in policing.
“That is what we spend our entire time is trying to find common sense responses to difficult, messy, fast-moving situations. That’s the kind of people we are.
“I don’t agree with that phraseology, I don’t think it’s a fair comparison.”