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NEWS


Priti Patel with the PFEW National Chair John Apter


Home Secretary promises support in pro-police speech


Priti Patel promised a “firmer and a fairer system” in an unashamedly pro-police speech to the Conservative Party’s virtual conference in October. In it, she touched on the Government’s 20,000 officer uplift and support for the Federation’s campaign for a Police Covenant. The Home Secretary claimed that: “Just over a year


since Boris Johnson became our Prime Minister, the thugs, the criminals and the terrorists, are in no doubt of our determination. We have already recruited over 4,300 additional police officers. That means more bobbies on the beat keeping our families, our communities and our country safe.” She said that while some had called for police to be


defunded, the Government had provided the biggest funding increase for policing in a decade. “We have given them an additional £25 million to roll up county lines drugs gangs,” she added. “With this funding, the police have shut down over 300 drug lines. They’ve made over 2,600 arrests.” The Home Secretary acknowledged the extra burdens


on policing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the summer of protests. She asserted there was “no excuse for pelting flares at brave police officers or throwing bikes at police horses”. Ms Patel said the Government was committed to training


and equiping 8,000 more officers with Taser and supporting officers who stop and challenge known knife carriers. She also paid tribute to Metropolitan Police Custody Sergeant Matt Ratana who was the victim of a shooting, and PC Andrew Harper, the Thames Valley officer killed responding to a call for help. She expressed support for the campaign by Andrew’s widow, Lissie Harper, to ensure anyone who kills an emergency worker gets the sentence they deserve. “It is in the memory of Andrew and Matt and others like them that we will continue to act to protect those on the frontline and we have already made progress. By introducing the Police Covenant to recognise the sacrifices, bravery and commitment of serving and former officers. I will enshrine their physical protection, health, and support for their families into law,” the Home Secretary said. She confirmed that the maximum sentence for assaults


on emergency workers will be doubled to two years, adding: “To say that the punishment should fit the crime is what the people of our country expect,” she said.


NOVEMBER 2020 | POLICE | 21


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