Home Secretary in wide-ranging interview with Fed chair

The Home Secretary has compared her role as a politician with that of a police officer in an online interview with the Police Federation of England and Wales.

Priti Patel talked exclusively online to the Federation’s national chair, John Apter, and responded to his question around her passion for policing.

“It’s about the shared values we have,” she said, “Policing is in my family and I’ve seen the most extraordinary and exceptional things around policing. My work is all about putting people first and I see big similarities with policing. I’ve always had that connectivity with public service and those on the front-line who give their all to serve their communities, so I think it’s a natural affinity that we have.”

In an informal, wide-ranging interview, Ms Patel also talked about the Police Covenant, stop and search and policing during the pandemic. She also committed to continuing to work closely with the service and to securing harsher sentencing for assaults against officers and other blue light workers.

“Policing is gritty work. I see the commitment and conviction, the lives officers lead, shift patterns, the effect on family life, but I also see the human beings, the kindness,” she said. 

“The Police Covenant must focus on respect, protection and recognising the extraordinary work our police officers do. It’s not just a blue light service, it’s a very specialised service. It’s a collective of individuals who run towards danger to protect our society. So it’s vital that they are given absolute protection; not just kit but their welfare and safety and extending that arm around their family.

When John asked her for her thoughts on what he called ‘almost the sport’ of videoing police officer assaults, she replied: “We need to take on this issue with these clips which have so much damaging, selective effect both on public confidence in policing and on police officers themselves. We need to stop being apologetic based on selective clips and information as that undermines transparency. There is a robust system for dealing with complaints, with allegations of misconduct and we have guidance, we have regulations 

“If individuals feel so strongly about certain actions, then go ahead, use those robust systems rather than show off on social media. I think Twitter should look at themselves with regard to the level of abusive and vile content they allow to go up and we will absolutely press them on taking down some of the most appalling and abusing content and also let that be a message to the individuals putting this up there too.”

The Home Secretary was talking to John as part of a new ‘The chair asks’ feature in Police magazine.

Read Police magazine and watch the interview with the Home Secretary.