Sajid Javid offers ‘olive branch’ to police
Minister pledges funding increase for the force in first major speech as home secretary
The home secretary has offered an “olive branch” to rank-and-file police officers following years of acrimony with the government over budget cuts, telling them: “I’m listening, and I get it.”
Sajid Javid pledged to provide the “tools and powers” that front-line officers need, during a speech to the Police Federation of England and Wales earlier today - his first major public address since being appointed home secretary last month.
According to ITV News, he told the annual conference in Birmingham: “For those of you who stand on the front line, be in no doubt that I will be standing with you. I’m not arrogant enough to turn up here after three weeks in the job and tell you how to do yours.
“What I will say is that I am listening and I get it. I get that there’s increased demand.”
Javid said that the experiences of his brother Bas, a chief superintendent in West Midlands Police, has made him “acutely aware” of the injuries and abuse that officers can suffer while on duty, and how “hard and horrible” their jobs can be.
“I know the tricky situations he’s been in. He’s been hurt more times than I want to know from being assaulted on duty,” said Javid.
He also stressed his support for stop-and-search powers, saying: “Some of you don’t feel comfortable using it, and that’s not how it should be.
“I have confidence in your professional judgment. So let me be clear - I support the use of stop and search.
“You have to do your job and that means protecting everyone.”
The Police Federation has previously given home secretaries a “frosty reception”, says the BBC. Police numbers have dropped by estimated 20,000 over the past decade, following significant funding cuts.
Describing today’s speech as an “olive branch”, HuffPost said that Javid “struck a softer tone than his two Tory predecessors”, Amber Rudd and Theresa May.