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PETER HITCHENS: It really is time to scrap the police and start again

How does a person such as Wayne Couzens, a known drug user with an unconcealed taste for ‘extreme’ pornography, become a police officer in the first place? How did he remain one? 

How is it that when this questionable figure was caught on camera exposing his private parts, nobody even followed it up?

How has what used to be the most civilised and subtle police force in the world lost the sense to sack such a person? How has it, at the same time, gained the powers to detain a totally law-abiding woman, so that she was not at first suspicious and could be hauled into a car and driven to an awful solitary death too horrible to imagine?

How has the grisly kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard, which has so many grim messages for us, been narrowed down by the BBC and many politicians into an issue about the treatment of women? I am as concerned about the treatment of women as anybody, but these dreadful things could equally well have been done to anyone.

How does a person such as Wayne Couzens (pictured), a known drug user with an unconcealed taste for ‘extreme’ pornography, become a police officer in the first place?

And they go far, far wider than that. I am glad that the Labour MP Harriet Harman is now calling for the resignation of the disastrous Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick.

But what took you so long, Harriet? Dame Cressida is the very symbol of the useless, politicised modern policing which does not serve the public, male or female. That is how she got the job. Something tells me you would have been pleased when she did.

In February 2017 I warned against her appointment on this page. I said: ‘In British public life, nothing succeeds like failure, provided you belong to the Blessed Company of the Politically Correct… I am more interested in whether these people are up to the job, regardless of sex, which is surely the truly anti-sexist position.’

In October 2019, I wrote here: ‘Britain’s biggest police force is now institutionally unjust, and so is not fit for the task we have entrusted to it. The report by Sir Richard Henriques into its “VIP paedophiles” investigation is one of the most devastating ever published about any official body.

‘If any other organisation was involved, we would disband it and start again, as I increasingly believe we should do with the police. This horrible mess is closely linked to their failure to control or deal with the crimes they increasingly regard as petty, of theft and disorder.’

How has a police force gained the powers to detain a totally law-abiding woman, so that she was not at first suspicious and could be hauled into a car and driven to an awful solitary death too horrible to imagine? Pictured: Sarah Everard

How has a police force gained the powers to detain a totally law-abiding woman, so that she was not at first suspicious and could be hauled into a car and driven to an awful solitary death too horrible to imagine? Pictured: Sarah Everard

I am glad that the Labour MP Harriet Harman is now calling for the resignation of the disastrous Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick (pictured)

I am glad that the Labour MP Harriet Harman is now calling for the resignation of the disastrous Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick (pictured)

It is so telling that the modern police pursued – with chilly, relentless zeal and platoons of constables – ludicrous evidence-free claims made by a wild fantasist that a decorated Field Marshal had been a paedophile. But faced with real worries that one of their own officers was a serious deviant, they did nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing! Oh, you say, but we are no longer ‘judgmental’ about such things. A man must have a private life. ‘Sex workers’ have a job to do. Pornography is everywhere.

Well, maybe we need to go back to being judgmental. I never bought the claim that releasing the liquid manure of pornography into our society was a harmless reform that would make us less repressed and healthier. Rather the contrary, as we see here.

I was not joking when I said two long years ago that the police should be disbanded and replaced by something entirely new. I am joking even less now, writes Peter Hitchens

I was not joking when I said two long years ago that the police should be disbanded and replaced by something entirely new. I am joking even less now, writes Peter Hitchens

I think I can recall a time when a police officer who divorced would suffer in his career. One who was in serious debt would also have been under suspicion.

Police officers in those times no doubt had flaws of many kinds. But I do not think a man who was actually known among his colleagues for his taste for violent pornography and drugs would have been hired, or retained, until quite recently.

Because the police force upheld laws which also had something to do with the moral order we used to have here. Police constables did not just enforce the laws against violence, theft and disorder. They believed in them, and so did the public who were their friends.

Now the police enforce an entirely new code, which often seems to be mainly concerned with politics. The streets stink of marijuana. Vandalism, burglary, car theft and general disorder proceed unhampered. 

Yet when the Covid panic arrived, the police turned from patrolling Twitter and enforcing politically correct speech codes, and instead suddenly appeared in legions to lecture people for sunbathing, hiking or having picnics. Couzens, let it never be forgotten, pretended to use Covid powers to get Sarah Everard into his car.

Think on these things. I was not joking when I said two long years ago that the police should be disbanded and replaced by something entirely new. I am joking even less now.

So will Angela give up cigarettes – or politics?

Can you smoke and ‘support our NHS’? Not really. I don’t think that you can smoke and support policies which ask others to make sacrifices you aren’t prepared to make

Can you smoke and ‘support our NHS’? Not really. I don’t think that you can smoke and support policies which ask others to make sacrifices you aren’t prepared to make

So now we know what I did not realise before. Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, smokes cigarettes.

‘So what?’ you might say. Many people smoke. Well, so quite a lot. Because Ms Rayner has been one of the political class who joined in a solid bloc to lecture us about our health, and protecting the NHS. I believe pictures also exist of a smoking Michael Gove, Minister for Concreting Over The Country.

Wear masks, they said. Stay at home, they said. Their belief that public health and the NHS were the overriding concern of government closed businesses, wrecked educations and, as we are slowly learning, wounded the economy very deeply indeed. We were, in short, asked to make major long-term sacrifices for the general good, involving self-restraint.

No sentient being in this country does not realise by now that cigarettes are bad for you, may well kill you and are almost certain to subject you to very severe chronic disease. Can you smoke and ‘support our NHS’? Not really. I don’t think that you can smoke and support policies which ask others to make sacrifices you aren’t prepared to make.

I think Ms Rayner and Mr Gove know this too. That is why such pictures are very rare. Harold Wilson (who actually preferred cigars) smoked a pipe in public in the 1960s. So did Tony Benn. More recently than that, Kenneth Clarke was often seen with a cigar. Even Neil Kinnock had a public pipe-smoking phase.

But as governments interfered more and more with our private lives, our leaders began to keep their dirty habits secret. There are few, if any, genuine pictures of Barack Obama, once a keen smoker, actually smoking. And David Cameron was not outed until after he left office. They knew, you see, that modern Left-wing policies and smoking just don’t go together. I agree with them. I’ll leave it to them to decide which one to give up.

The noose tightens on student debt

University expansion was a cruel thing, luring school-leavers into debt to pay for education which often isn’t very good and may well be no use to them. I suspect most of its victims would have been better off getting jobs at 18.

Now it’s even worse, with plans to force repayment on those with quite low pay. And the interest rates, once mild, are rising to frightening levels. To begin with, the rules on student loans were not so bad. But, as with so many scams, the jaws tighten later when there’s no escape. This is quite wrong.

The only solution is to shrink universities back to a sensible size, and provide full grants to those who go to them. Debt is a nasty thing, and we shouldn’t force it on the young.

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