Yesterday saw the less than glorious story that officers I n Humberside had been threatened with the Official Secrets Act by their very own PCC.
The Grimsby Telepgraph broke the news that Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove had stated that officers were not to discuss staffing levels with the press. This follows on from an earlier story when that very same newspaper ran a story that at one Station there had only been 4 officers on duty between 3am and 7am, instead of the required 8.
Mr Grove (Conservative, surprisingly) stated that if any officers told the press how many were on duty they would be in breach of the Official Secrets Act and would “become criminals”
Official Secrets Act? Criminals? Really? This kind of political bullying really has to stop. It is no surprise that a Tory PCC would want to help play down the drastic effects of government. The boys and girls who inhabit Westminster are all grown ups allegedly and can quite capably defend their own actions, we don’t need a PCC bullying and threatening the troops for telling the truth.
Is it even a Secret? No, of course it isn’t. Hidden away in the reams of stats that the Home Office and HMIC publish ad nauseum is the number of officers per 1,000 (might be 10,000 but you get the idea) head of population, not a secret of any kind, particularly not an Official one, it’s more or less a published stat.
The Front Line is frayed and ragged, stretched to unbelievable levels. None of us need PCCs like Mr Grove threatening quite awful sanctions for telling the truth. Let’s be honest, if the Tories had somehow managed to double the number of officers on patrol the likes of Mr Grove would be shouting that from the rooftops. No threats for breaking the Official Secrets Act there.
No officer anywhere should be bullied or threatened if what they have said is the truth. Sanctions against anybody who speaks the truth leads us all to a very dark place, and I, for one, don’t want to be in that place.
I have said it many times before, and no doubt I will say it again, good, bad or indifferent our public deserve to be told the truth.