Apologies if you are a bit soft in the head and have fallen for the lies of Boris Johnson since he became – and I find this very hard to write – our new prime minister. Lying is Johnson’s default position, although he does also lapse into deception, as he has with his populist announcement that he will recruit 20,000 additional police officers. Let’s look at the evidence.
As well as losing 22,000 officers since 2010 under Theresa May at the home office and Theresa May as PM, we have also lost 3000 prosecution staff. Plus thousands of court staff and probation officers. The Conservatives closed 600 police stations. Where will these new officers go and who will deal with the cases that all these new coppers will generate? I haven’t finished yet.
How about the forensic scientists who have been axed in the last decade? Or prison staff, criminal lawyers, police support staff and court interpreters? You see, 20,000 extra coppers sounds good as a neat soundbite but, as ever, Johnson is playing fast and loose with the facts. You cannot simply go out and recruit these new coppers by next week and put them on the beat. Training a police officer takes a very long time. Two years at least.
Boris Johnson treats us like we are thick. A headline promise that in itself means nothing, certainly not in isolation from the shambles that is the Criminal Justice System (CJS). Johnson’s rhetoric is for one reason and one reason only: the general election campaign has already started.
Let’s add one more thing to the pot: the government has literally no idea how to pay for extra coppers. Johnson, not for the first time, has simply made a policy on the hoof, assuming it is a policy at all.
People used to complain about politicians and how they never told the truth. Yet, we are supposed to believe, Johnson is incredibly popular with voters who somehow see him as a breath of fresh air, despite the fact he is a serial liar.
My guess is that Johnson’s is an election promise, to be quietly dropped after an election win, on the grounds, I would imagine, that the previous chancellor left the country’s finances in a mess and employing more coppers would become merely an aspiration over the next decade or so.
I’ll believe we’ll get these extra 20,000 officers when I see them. I suspect under this liar and charlatan, we never will.