Hardeep Singh is a freelance journalist and co-author of We Need to Check Your Thinking.
Recent Home Office figures indicate declining police performance on bread-and-butter issues – only 3.7 per cent of burglares, 4.2 per cent of thefts, and 6.6 per cent of robberies result in a charge. In 2010–11, fifteen per cent of crimes recorded by the police, in a charge or summons; this has dropped to roughly six per cent today.
However, resources which might be better deployed towards furthering criminal investigations on serious crimes are being used to pursue ‘woke’ issues. Remarkably, the police log ‘non-crime’, pay huge sums in subscription fees to diversity programmes, and drive around in rainbow colored patrol cars.
There’s something amiss when thefts, burglaries and robberies go unpunished, but ‘non-crime’ figures increase year on year. It comes as a little surprise then, that Suella Braverman, the new Home Secretary, has written to police chiefs encouraging them to spend less time on ‘diversity’ and focus instead on tackling crime.
Indeed, political activists are influencing policing priorities from within and the implications are significant, not least because they threaten the police’s sworn commitment to neutrality by drawing them into political disputes. One area of contention is ‘non-crime hate incidents’ (NCHIs), which are an invention of the College of Policing.
Data obtained via freedom of information (FOI) whilst researching a recent report for the Civitas think tank called, ‘We Need to Check Your Thinking’, shows NCHI figures have been dramatically increasing over the last five years, across several police forces. NCHIs are incidents that are not criminal offenses but may show up on enhanced background checks, harming employment chances, and have been found to have been applied in a manner inconsistent with freedom of speech by the courts.
Our research found that just seven police forces recorded almost 27,000 NCHIs over five years, with the Metropolitan Police alone accounting for 10,961. The percentage increase when comparing 2017 figures with 2021 NCHI figures for the MPS was a staggering 129 per cent.
Note that the Met, which has been placed under special measures, was found by an official inspection to be failing to record 69,000 actual crimes per year, as well as almost no cases of anti-social behaviour. The principle of NCHIs has been challenged, but even recent victories in the courts haven’t shifted the status quo enough.
The question we should ask ourselves is: should the police even be recording ‘non-crime’ in the first place?
The police are still turning up to check people’s thinking.
Meanwhile activists’ groups like Stonewall have a disproportionate sway within police forces across the country through it’s ‘Diversity Champions’ scheme, which audits organizations for ‘inclusivity’.
Figures show the police spent at least £58,000 on Stonewall products last year, down from £83,000 in 2018. Over seven years, the police spent almost half a million pounds on Stonewall products; an average of £67,000 per year. Stonewall promotes highly contentious ideas; despite this has written police policy on transgenderism.
Police involvement with them makes them partisan, and this has serious implications for free speech, especially for those who hold ‘gender critical’ views. Many self-censorship, for fear of being subject to a ‘transphobic’ police complaint triggered by their political opponents. Simply defining a woman as, ‘an adult female human being’, is considered ‘offensive’ in some ideological quarters, and the police must surely not be drawn into social media disputes on such matters.
As part of our investigation, we took a look at police affinity groups, staff associations and Independent Advisory Groups (IAGs) – what we describe as the ‘infrastructure of identity politics’.
IAGs were set up following the Macpherson Report (1999), but aren’t always as ‘independent’ as the title suggests. They are often use by activists to push ‘hate crime’ up the agenda for their particular identity group. As we discovered, a national IAG allowed campaigners privileged access to civil servants and government ministers, under the pretext of ‘training.’
IAG members across police forces remain unaccountable to the public they profess to serve, because information on them (including membership), and what actual advice is given, is often withheld. But despite this unaccountability, they remain well placed to influence police priorities from within.
In her recent letter to police chiefs the Home Secretary writes:
“Unfortunately, there is a perception that the police have had to spend too much time on symbolic gestures [rather] than actually fighting criminals. This must change. Initiatives on diversity and inclusion should not take precedence over common sense policing.”
She is right, of course. There is no question that minority groups must continue to have their voices heard on matters of law and order, but there also needs to be a reduction in the role of identity politics in policing.
Most taxpayers would probably like to see the police return to their traditional role of simply protecting the public and reducing crimes that shatter lives.