This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

The Tories vs. The Police




It is a truth universally acknowledged that politicians need the police and the police need politicians.

Going up against them is a risk few governments or ministers are willing to take.

Only a few years ago, Charles Clarke had to back down in the wake of police outrage after he tried to implement some meagre reforms to do with local forces.

And just last year, Jacqui Smith was brave (or foolish) enough to put her foot down over police pay. Relations have never really improved since.

You would have thought politicians would have learnt all this by now. After all, the police are powerfully represented by the Police Federation and if it came to a popularity contest between both groups, the boys in blue would win hands down.

This is why I cannot understand why the Tories are insisting on dragging out this Bob Quick affair. I would want the whole thing to go away.

It will come as no surprise to most people that parties leak things to the press and brief against people in the media, but it would be a bit of a stretch to argue, as Mr Quick seemed to imply, that the Tories had organised a concerted campaign to undermine him in the media. He did make an error of judgement when he described the Party’s behaviour as ‘corrupt’ but he has since apologised.

David Cameron should have left it at that. But the Party is now increasing the pressure on Mr Quick by suggesting he needs to ‘consider his position’.

Obviously, the whole affair has unveiled a simmering tension between the Conservative Party and the Metropolitan police force.

Relations were already strained over the 42-day detention saga and the resignation of Ian Blair.

But the Tories will get no traction politically if they are seen to be anti-police and that is what it feels like at the moment.

Good relations and most importantly good results depend on trust. This has now broken down completely.

It is a far cry from the days when the Tory Party strutted around pretending to act like the party of law and order.

If I was the Tories, I would ignore the support of the Mail and Express and worry about the way the public perceived this. Attacking Mr Quick won’t win them many friends.

And just like Labour should never bend over backwards sycophantically to do what the police want it to do, the Tories should be careful not to distance themselves to much either.

Sooner or later they will be back in Government and they will need the support, expertise and help of our Bobbies.

The issues – terrorism, crime and anti-social behaviour – are too important to let a falling out last too long.

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