A chief constable has called on Priti Patel and the Home Office to “stand back” from the policing agenda and allow officers to assert their independence.
Staffordshire Police Chief Constable Gareth Morgan told The Times he was concerned Home Secretary Priti Patel had interfered in operational matters, which could create the impression “policing is seen as the extension of Government”.
Mr Morgan commended Ms Patel for her support of and closer involvement with police than previous home secretaries.
“But I don’t think that gives the Home Office a reason to step into operational policing,” he told the newspaper.
“Being supportive and taking an interest is really good, but stepping into the policing arena is not.”
The veteran officer, who is retiring next month, said it was important his colleagues were allowed the independence to do their jobs.
“I think it is as incumbent on the service to assert itself and its independence and its role as it is for the Home Office to stand back,” Mr Morgan said.
It comes after a long-awaited report into the unsolved murder of Daniel Morgan was delayed again due to an “unnecessary” Home Office review said to compromise the authors’ independence.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The police are operationally independent and that will never change, but the Government is determined to cut crime and deliver on its commitments to the British people.
“That is why we are recruiting 20,000 additional police officers to help fight crime and keep people safe. Alongside giving the police more powers and resources, the public rightly expects us to work with them to make our streets and neighbourhoods safer, and in response to an unprecedented, global pandemic.”