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Speaking Out
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 organised crime.

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 force.

The four Welsh forces will become one – despite the very obvious mountains in the middle of Wales making that a logistical nonsense.

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

  1. Britain Held Hostage, The Coming Euro-Dictatorship (The history) Foreword Frederick Forsyth
  2. The Last Days of Britain, The Final Betrayal (Independence lost) Foreword Lord Lamont
  3. Disappearing Britain, The EU and the Death of Local Government (Regionalisation) Foreword Lord Tebbit