Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, tabled an Early Day Motion which has so far been signed by 22 MPs condemning the government?s unprecedented campaign to mobilise Chief Constables to lobby MPs in favour of government policy.
Peter Lilley said: “I fear this is a damaging step towards the politicisation of the police. It has never happened before and should not happen again in the future.
“It is perfectly proper that the police offer confidential advice to Ministers and evidence based on their experience, but Ministers alone are responsible for the advice and evidence that they accept and the policy conclusions they reach.
“It is deplorable that Ministers tried to evade that responsibility by invoking the authority of public servants who should not be embroiled in political debate. As it so happened the exercise backfired and many Labour MPs were unhappy to be put under this unusual pressure.?
Note to editors:
Text of Early Day Motion attached:
EDM ? ROLE OF CHIEF CONSTABLES
This House condemns the unprecedented campaign to mobilise Chief Constables to lobby Members of Parliament in favour of government policy;
fears that this is a damaging step towards the politicisation of the police;
understands that the government?s threat to merge police forces has put additional pressure on Chief Constables, all of whom may shortly be up for reselection, to acquiesce in demands for them to endorse government policy;
regrets that some Chief Constables gave the measure their backing even though they and their forces had no local experience of the problems allegedly making it necessary;
calls on them in future to leave lobbying and advocacy to others;
praises the police for their courage and dedication in tackling terrorism;
accepts that police have a duty to offer Ministers in confidence advice and evidence based on that experience;
but believes the essence of Ministerial responsibility is that Ministers alone are responsible for the advice and evidence that they accept and the policy conclusions they reach
and deplores the Government?s attempts to escape that responsibility by invoking the authority of public servants thereby embroiling them in politics.