|I am honoured to be invited to speak to
you here today. I am very worried about what is happening to
policing in this country today and I would like to share some
thoughts with you.
First, let us look at the big picture. Securing a total merger
of two countries say the UK and France into one country would be
difficult enough. Everything is different about our two
countries – language, customs, law, government – everything -
and in part that is why so many of us enjoy visiting or living
in France. Then travel across Europe to Italy, Germany, Croatia,
Poland, Romania, even as far as Turkey and what divides is far
greater than what unites.
Can all these disparate nations really be merged into one with
one set of laws and one way of doing things, one set of values,
and remain a democratic and free country? No.
So it is blindingly obvious, I think, that the only way 25
countries or more can be held together is via a police state –
and that ladies and gentleman is what is just around the corner
and I would hazard a guess within 5 years.
Let us look at what is happening now in this country to see if
it reflects that. The 43 police forces of England and Wales are
under threat. Yet it has been said that the existence of so many
police forces with their own Chief Constables and their own
Police Authorities is a key reason why this country could never
become a police state.
But now Charles Clarke the Home Secretary wants mergers - not
just tweaking a boundary here or there to recognise a shifting
population - that we could all understand -but the biggest
change to the police since Sir Robert Peel set up the
Metropolitan Police Force over 175 years ago.
Why does Charles Clarke want those mergers. He says they are to
fight terrorism and serious crime. He even says they will save
money. Really? Is that true?
Next month the Serious Organised Crime Agency, SOCA for short,
starts work. The Association of Chief Police Officers says it is
the ‘bespoke UK solution to our organised crime problem’. If it
is that bespoke we do not need regional police forces to fight
Most parts of the UK have no or next to no connection with
terrorism so why carry out a wholesale restructuring of the
police to counter something which does not exist – why for
example merge Devon and Cornwall with the neighbouring counties
to create one huge force covering the whole of the south west?
Where’s the terrorism threat?
Despite weighty reports the planning for the new forces has been
very short on explanation that stands up to any scrutiny
whatsoever. And Charles Clarke’s explanation makes no sense.
But the Home Office’s instructions to the Chief Constables and
the Police Authorities had only two clear imperatives: no merged
force can cross regional boundaries, and forces with less than
4,000 officers are ‘not fit for purpose’. At a stroke most
forces have no future.
Clarke has met resistance so the first phase of mergers will
reduce the 43 forces to 24 or slightly less.
There will be a new East Midlands force to fit the East Midlands
region and 5 county forces will go: Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire,
Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire will
disappear. Similarly all the county forces will disappear in the
NE, the NW and the West Midlands.
The Eastern region will require a two stage process: the interim
will see an East Anglian force consisting of Cambridgeshire,
Norfolk and Suffolk and the counties of Bedfordshire,
Hertfordshire and Essex will be combined into another single
The four Welsh forces will become one – despite the very obvious
mountains in the middle of Wales making that a logistical
The SE region stretching from Milton Keynes round London and
down to Dover is a ridiculous unit of government. It is proving
difficult even for the geographically challenged Charles Clarke
to justify one police force to cover it. So only Surrey and
Sussex will be merged in round one. Leaving Kent, Hampshire and
the Thames Valley alone for the moment.
Yorkshire is proving tricky and the Home Secretary is talking to
the three forces, North South and West Yorkshire plus Humberside
to get them to fit the regional pattern. And soon we will hear
about the fate of the Southwest.
The Home Secretary has been repeatedly warned by Chief
Constables, Police Authorities and even by a joint Home Office
and Downing Street report that these mergers will be
- Very, very expensive,
enormously disruptive of policing and that when respect for
policing in this country is at an all time low
- That big does not mean more
efficient in catching criminals – in fact the opposite has
been repeatedly demonstrated – just take the Metropolitan
Police in London as one example
- And above all that the
governance for these new forces has not been addressed. At
all. The most fundamental point. Who’s in charge?
And it gets worse. Only one merger has been accepted voluntarily
– Lancashire and Cumbria though we don’t know what money has
been promised. While Norfolk has agreed to merge into the new
force of East Anglia, the other parties, Cambridgeshire and
Suffolk, have said no to a merger. The City of London police
with its specialised interest in financial crime is strongly
resisting a merger with the Met backed up by most City
institutions from Goldmans to Merrills and across the board.
So Clarke must spend the next 4 months consulting – that is
arm-twisting – before he uses his powers under the 1996 Police
Act to force most of those mergers. Force ladies and gentlemen!
Why is he doing it?
Last December the Western Morning News published an article I
had written on this issue and it elicited a reply from none
other than the European Commission Office in London. The
Commission denied that British policing was anything to do with
them – well they would say that wouldn’t they - but actually it
is legally true. But the Commission Office did say the regions
are European regions. As far as I know that is a first – no one
from the Commission has ever before admitted that the regions
are European. They have been very keen to have us believe that
they are entirely British.
So here we have the centrepiece of the jigsaw: British police
being forced into European regions.
And here’s a critical issue. How much easier will it be to
control the police if instead of 43 forces, 43 independent chief
constables and 43 police authorities composed of local
councillors, magistrates and independents we will be down to 10.
Even easier if all the independently minded magistrates become
full time district judges and the councillors are all part of
the regional assembly system.
The second critical piece of the jigsaw is that in 1999 at
Tampere in Finland the EU via the Council of Ministers set up an
area of freedom, security and justice in the European Union. And
so the present drive is towards creating a single system of law
both criminal and civil, of law enforcement, of courts. We have
already seen several major steps in that direction for example
the European Arrest Warrant.
So it is no surprise that it is not just the police who are
being forced into European regions. As I make clear in my latest
book Disappearing Britain, The EU and the Death of Local
Government other key parts of the British judicial system are
being forced into regions too: the Crown Prosecution Service,
the Prison Service, the Probation Service and the Crown and
County Courts and even the Fire Service are all going through
the same process.
So almost certainly within 2 or 3 years the whole of the British
judicial system will be organised in EU regions.
Well we can already see what is likely to happen next. We have
the example of planning, which has already been removed from
county councils and district councils to regional assemblies and
the whole regional apparatus. And planning has to fit into the
EU’s spatial plan. So a foreign power can tell us what to do
with our land.
The same thing is almost certain to happen to the whole British
judicial system including our police. The British police will
report to Europol in The Hague.
Europol is the European Law Enforcement Organisation. It began
operations in a very small way in 1994 as an agency to exchange
information about drug trafficking but today says it improves
the effectiveness of the Member States to combat terrorism, drug
trafficking and serious organised crime – the same list that the
Home Secretary is using to justify the police mergers.
Europol’s second director in its short history was appointed
last year – another German -I don’t know if two Germans on the
trot is a record for an EU agency but I think its worth noting.
Max-Peter Ratzel comes from the BKA (Federal Criminal Police
Office, Wiesbaden), where he was Head of the Organised and
General Crime Department.
So Germany has the head of Europol and the Dutch have got the
Europol HQ with a new HQ to be ready for the fast expanding
staff in 2 years time and we the British have the European
police college for senior EU police officers known as CEPOL
which was also set up at that 1999 Tampere conference. It is
based at our own police staff college of Bramshill and trains
police from across the EU.
The Austrian Justice-Minister, Karin Gastinger, said in January
‘the role of Europol is to be expanded towards that of a
European investigative authority with police powers [as
prescribed in the rejected constitution]…At the European level
investigations will be conducted only at the request of the
European Office of the Public Prosecutor.’
No British political party is making the connection between the
police upheaval here and the EU. None wants to admit that the
wholesale changes to the British police forces are anything
other than British. There is almost a conspiracy of silence.
None has wanted to talk about the fate of planning so perhaps we
should not be surprised.
So here is my message for you today. Please ladies and gentlemen
go forth and spread the word - tell everyone you know that what
is underway is nothing less than the takeover of British
policing by the EU. That what is in store very soon is a police
state in which the word freedom will be banished.
© Lindsay Jenkins
London, March 2006 www.lindsayjenkins.com
The Britain in Europe series by Lindsay Jenkins
- Britain Held Hostage, The
Coming Euro-Dictatorship (The history) Foreword Frederick
- The Last Days of Britain,
The Final Betrayal (Independence lost) Foreword Lord Lamont
- Disappearing Britain, The EU
and the Death of Local Government (Regionalisation) Foreword