Public 'fed up' of 'woke' policing, chief constable says

14 June 2021, 12:03

Stephen Watson became Chief constable of Greater Manchester Police in May.
Stephen Watson became Chief constable of Greater Manchester Police in May. Picture: PA

By Emma Soteriou

The public will not tolerate 'woke' policing over catching burglars, the chief constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.

Stephen Watson felt people were "fed up" of virtue-signalling from police and that impartiality from officers could be undermined by responses to campaign groups.

He added that he "absolutely would not" take the knee in uniform, the only exceptions being for "the Queen, God, and Mrs Watson".

This comes after multiple police incidents surrounding the issue, including a Met officer who was investigated for chanting "Free Palestine" on camera at a protest.

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Mr Watson took over the chief constable role in May, hoping to improve England's second largest force, which is in "special measures" after it was discovered 80,000 crimes had not been recorded.

He said he wanted to improve confidence in the force by sending officers to every burglary and investigating every crime.

However, the chief constable said if he did not see change in the force within two years, he would quit.

He already has experience turning failing forces around, after making improvements as chief constable at South Yorkshire Police.

His predecessor at GMP, Ian Hopkins, stepped down following the watchdog report from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.