A number of recent Home Secretary’s have upset the police with their lack of understanding of policing issues. As a former Home Secretary and now the Secretary of State for Justice I expected better. The gaffs this Government have made with regard to the police have been beyond compare. Jacquie Smith did really well shafting us on our pay deal resulting in a protest march of over 20,000 off duty police officers.
We have had more Home Secretary’s over the last decade than I have had prisoners and a few hours in the warm. Most of them, including Mr Straw, departed because of their incompetence. I thought Mr Straw would have learnt his lesson and thought a little before putting his foot in it on the subject of police bureaucracy.
I wrote recently about one of the worst pieces of bureaucracy and its interpretation by the Surveillance Commissioners. This was the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. (RIPA.) One of a myriad of pieces of legislation that has been introduced in recent years and which keeps dozens of police officers skiving in the warm, filling out forms, ticking the right boxes, risk assessing everything. We love it! All this form filling stops us having to go out and do our job. Mr Straw introduced RIPA when he was Home Secretary, along with lots of other legislation that keeps us in the warm.
I see that Jack Straw’s father was banged up at Her Majesty’s pleasure during the Second World War because he was a conscientious objector. Did he prefer it in a nice warm prison rather than going to fight? I doubt it. I suspect there was more to it than that. I thought, Mr Straw, you might be a bit more understanding.
Happy New Year!