“Instead of stoking the war on woke this Government need to accept that many police forces have an issue with institutional misogyny, sexism and racism and focus on delivering institutional change around leadership and training.”Kate Osborne MP
By Kate Osborne MP
It is not woke police damaging trust with communities, it’s this Government’s damaging inflammatory rhetoric and the historic problems our police forces have internally.
We’ve had the Casey Report finding the Metropolitan Police to be institutionally racist, sexist and homophobic with more than 1,000 Met officers currently suspended or on restricted duties – we know the problem isn’t just in the met police.
Braverman knows that community engagement is vital to build trust, to help fight crime and to support communities yet instead she is criticising police for trying to do just that.
Her remarks about a review into ‘political activism’ in the police force, such as waving Pride flags which she said ‘symbolises highly contested ideologies’ and that taking the knee at Black Lives Matter events were ‘unacceptable expressions of partisanship’ about police not being paid to ‘wave flags’ and ‘dance with drag queens’ are designed to whip up hate and divide communities and further marginalise some of the most vulnerable in community.
Even where police have finally acted on misogyny Braverman dismissed them as ‘woke’.
She makes these comments in full knowledge of the history of discrimination against Women, LGBTQ+ and BAME communities, in full knowledge of our communities being failed by police forces and the judicial system and in the knowledge that rhetoric like this allows discrimination to thrive.
This continuation of this Government’s culture war gives the clear message that it’s okay to discriminate, that the police shouldn’t try to be inclusive or understand the communities they serve.
The language of ‘contested ideologies’ and ‘partisanship’ legitimises hateful homophobic and racist rhetoric, we have already seen a rise in hate crime on the back of their inflammatory rhetoric.
We can all see the damage this zombie Government are doing to our country, their culture war on woke is designed to distract from that – it won’t – but it will have a harmful impact on some of the most vulnerable.
Instead of stoking the war on woke this Government need to accept that many police forces have an issue with institutional misogyny, sexism and racism and focus on delivering institutional change around leadership and training.
Instead of pitting communities against each other, pitting police against people this Government should be encouraging closer community partnerships, restoring neighbourhood officers and ensuring we have the police officers, staff and PCSO’s in place to ensure the public have confidence that, when a crime is committed, someone will help them.
We know their goal is to make the next General Election a distraction culture war to cover up their disastrous 13 years of chaotic rule that has led to a cost-of-living crisis and the destruction of policing and so many other public services.
It’s time they stopped spouting nonsense and moved aside so that Labour can start fixing the mess they’ve made of this country.
- Kate Osborne is the Labour MP for Jarrow. You can follow her on twitter here.
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