Extraordinary stuff emerging this morning about Sir Paul Stephenson, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. He wants to make it harder for members of the public to bring legal action against the police force.
The power to bring legal action against the police is an important tool in the arsenal of the citizenry, protecting us from the abuse of power by those entrusted with it and ensuring that the state does not overstep its bounds. It stands, furthermore, as an important symbol of the nature of the relationship we have with those who police us: we are not solely accountable to them; they are also accountable to us.
Furthermore, I think that there's a pretty obvious problem with his logic. If you think that legal action is being brought against you too often, perhaps the problem isn't with the system, but rather with…. (*drumroll*)… you.
Let us hope that Theresa May tells Sir Paul where to shove it.
There is a broader issue behind the suggestion, which I think is important. This was once a country in which it was felt, broadly, that the policeman is your friend. I don't think that that's true any more.
By Alex Deane
Related post over at Conservative Home: do you trust the police?