Boris pledges £15bn to police and says he’ll put yobs in fluorescent jacketed chain gangs

Police officers should 'call in sick' in protest of law says guest

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The Prime Minister said a record £15.8billion is being invested in forces up and down the country with almost 10,000 officers already recruited. Announcing his Beating Crime Plan, he said officers would get the tools to do their job effectively including more body cameras. And Mr Johnson promised that offenders would be in “fluorescent-jacketed chain gangs” while carrying out unpaid work”. He added it would ensure they were “visibly paying their debt to ­society”. 

During a visit to Surrey Police HQ in Guildford with Home Secretary Priti Patel, the PM said: “When I stood on the steps of Downing Street two years ago I said I wanted another 20,000 officers on the streets of our country. We are now almost halfway there. 

“We are putting £15.8billion into supporting our police. But of course it’s been a tough time financially for the whole country.” 

Police will be armed with more stop and search powers to help tackle the knife crime epidemic. Mr Johnson described it as a “kind and loving” way to get dangerous weapons off the streets. 

He also promised to cut crime by tackling drug misuse and ­using electronic tagging on more jailed burglars after their release. The boost to stop and search powers effectively tears up former PM Theresa May’s moves to water them down. 

Mr Johnson said he “disagreed with the opponents” of the policy, amid claims it ­targets minorities. 

“I think giving the police the backing they need in law to stop someone, search them, relieve them of a dangerous weapon. I don’t think that’s strong-armed tactics, that’s a kind and loving thing to do,” he said. 

The powers allow police to ­dramatically increase their stop and search tactics in areas where they anticipate violence or to helping find weapons and stop reprisals after a stabbing. 

More than 5,000 thugs who went before the courts for carrying a blade last year already had at least one other conviction. Knife killings have reached a 10-year high, with 275 victims last year. 

The Prime Minister said he ­is also keen to tackle problems involving low-level disorder, which he said could still have a major impact on victims. 

He said lockdowns “have driven some anti-social behaviour” and promised to tackle it. 

He added: “Somebody’s anti-social behaviour may be treated as a minor crime but it could be deeply distressing to those who are ­victims. If you are guilty of anti-social behaviour and you are sentenced to unpaid work, as many people are, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be out there in ­one of those fluorescent-jacketed chain gangs, visibly paying your debt to society.” 

Other measures contained in the Government’s plan include the creation of league tables for 101 and 999 call answering times so the public can see how quickly their local force is responding. 

The initiative will also ensure every neighbourhood in England and Wales is allocated a named officer, who can be contacted, dedicated to serving their area. 

It includes a £17million package to persuade young people who go to hospital with a stab wound or have contact with police to stay away from violence. 

The reforms for England and Wales will see the extension of a pilot scheme ann­ounced earlier this year in which burglars and thieves will have to wear GPS tags on their release from prison. 

And the package will trial the use of alcohol tags – which detect drink in the sweat of the wearer – on prison leavers in Wales to help reduce alcohol-related crime. 

  • Prince Charles will attend the dedication ceremony for a new national UK Police Memorial today. He will meet family and friends of officers who have died in the line of duty
    and join up to 400 guests in Alrewas, Staffordshire. 

Mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins and the British Police Symphony Orchestra will perform and there will be a flypast by the National Police Air Service. 

Charles, 72, is set to unveil a plaque before leading the laying of wreaths at the foot of the 12ft high brass memorial. 

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Comment by Nick Adderley

The shocking figures relating to the number of officers assaulted during the pandemic are not just numbers on a page, they are real people who go out every day knowing the dangers they face. 

But few of us could have predicted the additional risks policing a pandemic would bring. 

From the moment lockdown was imposed the police were seen not as protectors of the public and NHS but as the enemy, restricting freedoms we had all taken for granted until March last year. 

These were powers the police didn’t ask for but of course were needed to preserve life. 

The vast majority of the public have supported officers and recognised their virtually impossible task. 

Sadly, a significant minority used this as an opportunity to attack not the ethos of policing but actual men and women. 

They have been assaulted on levels I have never seen during my time in policing. 

Daily reports of officers kicked, punched, stabbed, shot, spat at, infected with all kinds of diseases, including Covid, followed home and their families threatened. All of this in front of the world’s media. 

I have lost count of the calls in the early hours telling me of yet another of my officers assaulted. I have also lost count of the victim impact statements I have written when those charged with assaulting an officer go to court. It is disturbing and upsetting. The National Police Chiefs’ Council is working incredibly hard to improve the safety of officers and will continue to explore every avenue to provide officers with the right training, kit and support. 

But we must never forget the assault statistics unearthed by the Daily Express do not cover the long-term psychological injuries hundreds of officers have suffered while policing
this pandemic. 

They have been truly heroic during this crisis and deserve the highest form of recognition including fair remuneration for their work. 

While pay and pay rises should never be viewed as compensation for injuries, they should be seen as recognition of the contribution made in the face of extreme adversity. 

They are also a signal to all those intent on committing crime or assaulting police that officers’ backs are covered. 

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