City’s chief constable says he would not take the knee and slams ‘woke’ policing

During his first week in charge, Mr Watson vowed that every crime reported to GMP will be properly investigated. (Image: PA)

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A city chief constable has said he would "absolutely not" take the knee and says the public are "fed up" with "woke policing".

Stephen Watson, Greater Manchester Police's new chief believes the level of 'wokeness' in the police has passed a 'high water mark' of tolerance from the public, who would rather see officers catch burglars.

He said the public is 'fed up' with 'virtue-signalling police officers' and believes that the impartiality of officers could be undermined by responses to campaign groups including actions such as taking the knee or wearing their pins, badges or rainbow shoelaces.

On whether he would take the knee in uniform, Mr Watson told The Daily Telegraph: “No, I absolutely would not.

"I would probably kneel before the Queen, God, and Mrs Watson, that’s it.”

Mr Watson, who was sworn into his new role last month, has vowed to turn around GMP.

Stephen Watson being sworn in as Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police
(Image: PA)

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The force is still officially in special measures after a damning government watchdog report, which estimated it had failed to properly record 80,000 crimes.

During his first week in charge, Mr Watson vowed that every crime reported to GMP will be properly investigated.

He said he would quit if the force is not in a 'demonstrably better place' within two years.

On impartiality, Mr Watson told the Telegraph: "Impartiality is in danger of being upset in our urge and desire to demonstrate that we would like to make common cause from time to time with people whose agenda is very difficult to disagree with.

“I do not think that things like taking the knee, demonstrating that you have a commonality of view with the protesters that you’re policing is compatible with the standards of service that people require of their police.

“Officers could put themselves in a difficult place because if you demonstrate you’re not impartial, and you then have to make an arrest, how on earth do you assist the courts to come to just judgement as to you having executed your powers of arrest in an appropriately impartial professional manner?”

Mr Watson comes to GMP from South Yorkshire, where he has been credited with introducing significant improvements
(Image: Joel Goodman)

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Mr Watson added: “I think we’re past the high watermark.

“The public are getting a little bit fed up of virtue-signalling police officers when they’d really rather we just locked up burglars."

Mr Watson comes to GMP from South Yorkshire, where he has been credited with introducing significant improvements.

Former chief constable Ian Hopkins was forced out of his £200,000-a-year just before Christmas following a series of crises.

Previously, Mr Watson Manchester Evening News how he was going to make local policing the core of the force again.

"It's early days but what I have set out right from getting the job is to make the point to staff that it is objectively unfair to describe it as a failing police force.

Tyrone Mings of England takes a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement prior to the international friendly match between England and Romania
(Image: Getty)

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"By the same token it is absolutely the case that GMP is under-performing. It has vast latent potential. We will with immediate effect put in place a significant program of reform to be delivered at pace, creating a clear strategic direction."

Senior ranks who will be sent out to work on divisions 'will be expected to go out on patrol' as he would do also, he confirmed.

The plan was to push officers 'closer to the public we serve', he said.

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Each division would identify their 'top ten drivers of demand' and then create a plan 'to make those things go away'.

He also promised 'slovenly people will not flourish in the future GMP' in a bid to improve the dress code.

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