Being a police officer is a privilege. But it comes with high responsibility.
Whilst we must emphasise and acknowledge that the UK and American policing models are not comparable, we cannot ignore the impact a law enforcement incident in the USA continues to have on policing and society in this country.
As I have said many times, across multiple media platforms, the Metropolitan Police Federation and officers across the capital were shocked and saddened by the death of George Floyd and the horrific circumstances in which it occurred.
This incident – whilst occurring thousands of miles away – has touched a nerve across the globe and has perhaps understandably shone the microscope on how we police in this country.
The Metropolitan Police Federation strongly condemns discrimination of any kind.
In the UK, we police by consent and our officers have strong links with the communities they serve. The police service in London must be representative of its communities.
While the Metropolitan Police Service has made great strides in becoming increasingly diverse over the past 20 years, we recognise there is still much work to be done.
And we want to play an active part in that. We want to say that we as a Federation are listening: to colleagues, to the communities we serve. And we will continue to listen as we move forward. We want communities to have high trust and confidence in the police.
I am outraged that comments I made during an interview about operational policing challenges and the excellent work of my colleagues during the coronavirus pandemic with The Guardian newspaper were edited and used out of context. The matter is currently in the hands of our lawyers as we seek an apology
Our colleagues across London maintain law and order proportionately, fairly and extremely courageously every day – often under very dangerous and challenging circumstances.
On the rare occasions when officers do use force on behalf of society, it should only be reasonable and appropriate – and at the right time.
And when that force is used, it is right that officers’ actions are scrutinised and they are expected to justify its use.
As we have seen over recent weeks, our members in London will continue to work as hard as they can to allow public rights and freedom of expression, while upholding the law without fear or favour.
Policing protests in London during the coronavirus pandemic has been an incredibly difficult task, and sadly while the vast majority of protestors have been peaceful, we condemn the violent attacks on our colleagues by a small minority. Many officers have been injured over recent weeks and we continue to wish them well.
As the police service faces and overcomes the challenges of 2020 and beyond, we vow as a Police Federation to continue to listen to our colleagues, as well as represent and speak for all rank-and-file Metropolitan Police officers.
Metropolitan Police Federation Chairman