Former police chief blasts PM's "mind-boggling, thoughtless" choice to put military on the streets

23 September 2020, 11:10 | Updated: 23 September 2020, 11:15

By Fiona Jones

Former chief constable Andy Hayman lambasts the Prime Minister's mind-boggling and ill-thought decision to put troops on the streets to enforce restrictions.

Boris Johnson announced a series of tough new coronavirus measures on Tuesday and said the military could be deployed in England to help police officers with enforcement.

Nick confronted Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab over these measures and Mr Raab clarified, "The point is they will backfill and provide extra capacity where the police need it so that it frees the police up to do the frontline work that's important for them."

Former Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner and Norfolk Chief Constable Andy Hayman said to Nick, "What the hell is going on?

"This is ill-thought through, the consequences of it have not been thought through...There's a complete lack of consultation with people who've got to make it happen on the street."

Mr Hayman pointed out that the police is an individual body that is not thwarted by political interference, "So for someone in the PM's position, who has got experience of the Mayor of London - so was head of the Metropolitan Police politically - to say the things he did yesterday which then had to be corrected by Number 10...is absolutely mind-boggling."

Former police chief blasts PM&squot;s "mind-boggling, thoughtless" choice to put military on the streets
Former police chief blasts PM's "mind-boggling, thoughtless" choice to put military on the streets. Picture: LBC/PA

Mr Hayman said he would like to remind the Prime Minister that he has operational independence and is policing by the consent of the community.

"Whilst he might want an outcome and the outcome is compliance with the rules, he doesn't tell me how I'm going to do it and he does not tell me to put troops on the street or into back office positions.

"The notion that he's going to provide troops to help us out in the back office is bonkers," Mr Hayman said, pointing out that the only people in the back office are civilian support colleagues.

Nick quoted Lord John Stevens, who said the move to use military would be "dangerous" as it sends the message that "the police have lost the streets", with which Mr Hayman agreed.

In the past the military have been used as an "operational imperative" and it is a "very big decision," Mr Hayman told LBC.

He made abundantly clear that what the Prime Minister is asking "is not the function of the troops" and instead police chiefs want clarity and not a "decision off the hoof."

"He's trying to be a strong leader but he's not thought through the operational consequences," Mr Hayman said.

Watch the full interview above.