The public is “fed up” with “virtuous signaling police officers” making their personal views known, said the new leader of England’s Second Force.
Stephen Watson, the new Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police (GMP), believes the public would rather see forces catch burglars than engage in “waking” police activities.
Mr Watson said officers who openly support campaign groups – by kneeling, wearing their rainbow pins, badges or laces – threaten their ability to do their jobs fairly.
As to whether he would take the knee in uniform, Mr Watson told the Daily Telegraph: ‘No, I absolutely wouldn’t. I’d probably kneel down before the Queen, God, and Mrs. Watson, that’s all.
Mr Watson, 52, began his new role last month at GMP, which is effectively subject to ‘special measures’ after a damning surveillance report found the force had failed to properly register 80,000 crimes.
Mr Watson, 52, has a reputation for overthrowing failing forces after overseeing notable improvements in his last post as South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable.
During his first week in charge, he vowed he would resign if the force was not in a “clearly better place” within two years.
Mr Watson told the newspaper: “Impartiality is in danger of being shattered in our envy and desire to demonstrate that we would like to make common cause from time to time with people whose agendas are very hard to contradict.
“I don’t think things like taking the knee, showing that you have a common point of view with the protesters you watch are compatible with the standards of service that people demand of their police.
“Officers could put themselves in a difficult position because if you show that you are not impartial and then have to make an arrest, how the hell can you help the courts to make a fair judgment that you have exercised your powers of arrest? in an appropriate impartial professional manner? “
Stephen Watson (left) alongside Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham as he takes the oath of office as Greater Manchester Police Chief on May 27, 2021
Former GMP police chief Ian Hopkins resigned in December
Mr Watson, who shuns social media as a way to build his own profile, told the newspaper: “I think we’ve passed the high water mark.
“The public is a bit fed up with police officers reporting virtue when they really prefer that we lock up burglars. “
He says he hopes to gain confidence by dispatching officers to every break-in and investigating every crime.
Mr Watson has a reputation for overthrowing failing forces after overseeing notable improvements in his last post as South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable.
Former GMP Police Chief Ian Hopkins resigned in December after Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said he asked him to resign following the scathing Police Inspectorate report and Her Majesty’s Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).