UK Liberty

Police investigate allegations of political party support

Posted in Uncategorized by ukliberty on May 8, 2007

Greater Manchester Police is investigating whether or not some of its off-duty police officers attended an event associated with a particular political party.

You can probably guess the political party the GMP are concerned about and probably have your own feelings on it. Let’s just say I don’t like what (I understand) it stands for.

But let’s try to be as objective as possible in deciding whether or not it seems right or wrong for members of any political party to be barred from employment in the police service (or indeed anywhere in the public sector).

It isn’t an illegal party. Indeed it may well have put forward candidates in the local elections in your ward last week. Certainly there seems to be some level of support among the public (I cannot say how much, or how little).

But nearly three years ago the Association of Chief Police Officers decided that members would be barred from joining the police and that they would investigate any officer reported as being a member, the result likely to be dismissal.

The reason given was that membership of this particular party is incompatible with the service’s commitment to compliance with the Race Relations Act and its duty to racial equality.

I feel very uncomfortable with the idea that these people, however much I disagree with their views, may not be employed and support (through membership) their favoured legal political party.

Or should this suddenly become ok just because I disagree with what the party seems to stand for?

I don’t think so.

It seems to me that, instead of any blanket ban on membership, any specific allegations of illegal conduct should be investigated just as they are with any member of the public.

I would only support a blanket ban if police officers aren’t allowed to be members of any political party, as Jim claims is the case in his comment on Tim Worstall’s article on the subject. That would at least be fair.

Unfortunately I can’t find any such policy, specific or otherwise, on the ACPO website, the GMP website, nor the Metropolitan Police website.

Of course the service may be equally vigilant with officers who are allegedly members of say the Labour or Conservative parties. I suspect it is not. Certainly I don’t recall such a hoo-ha about off-duty attendance at a Labour or Conservative party event.

On a related note, there seems to be a certain irony, in an article alleging such people are racist and talking about the duty to racial equality, in quoting Chief Superintendent Ali Dizaei of the National Black Police Association (NBPA) an organisation setup to promote the interests of people of African, African-Caribbean, and Asian origin, consisting only of members of such an origin.

Don’t misunderstand: I couldn’t care less if such an organisation existed or not, provided there was a level playing field for organisations based on any ethnicity or religion and so on.

However, I suspect there isn’t a level playing field, and that doesn’t seem fair, does it?

By the way, I’m glad to see that, in the results for the NBPA’s poll on affirmative action, the majority are opposed. It’s support for my hypothesis that the majority of people are reasonable, and that the people who claim to speak for us aren’t.

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