Police officers should not “take the knee” or subscribe to other “woke” agendas, the Home Secretary has warned in a hard-hitting letter.
Suella Braverman told staff they should adopt a position of political neutrality and not engage in political activism.
Her words came as she unveiled a landmark review into activism and impartiality in policing yesterday.
In a letter to force chiefs and Andy Cooke, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, who will carry out the review, she said police should focus on tackling crime rather than “virtue signalling”.
She praised forces for their hard work, dedication and bravery, but highlighted cases where “public confidence was damaged by officers engaging in contentious issues, such as policing gender-critical views online, dancing at protest rallies and taking the knee”.
She said: “The British people expect police to focus on cutting crime and protecting communities.
“Political activism does not keep people safe, solve crimes or support victims, but can damage public confidence.
“The review I’ve commissioned will explore whether the police getting involved in politically
contentious matters has a detrimental impact on policing. I will leave no stone unturned in ensuring policing acts for the benefit of the British public.”
In her letter to Mr Cooke, copied in to police and crime commissioners, she stated: “To be clear, I am concerned displays of allegiance with political causes opens some forces up to accusations of virtue-signalling, and related activity by others is having a negative effect on community confidence. The essential function of the police is to uphold the law.
“I’m concerned resources which might otherwise have been allocated to dealing with thefts, robberies and assaults are giving way to other activities. When officers adopt or participate in political or social campaigns, for example, by taking the knee, they risk losing the support of the public. This is not common-sense policing.”
She has requested the report be published by the end of March.
The Police Federation responded to the announcement that she has ordered a review into “police impartiality” by suggesting the Government wants its members to “act like robots”.