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Letter: Lib Dem Letter is a Disgraceful Slur on British Policing

Published on: 10 Jun, 2020
Updated on: 10 Jun, 2020

From David Munro

Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey (Independent)

An open letter to Guildford Liberal Democrats. See also: Mole Valley MP Accuses Guildford’s Lib Dems of Political Opportunism

Sir Paul Beresford has shown me the letter you wrote to him and other West Surrey MPs following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the subsequent demonstrations around the world including the UK and Surrey. He has also given me a copy of his reply.

The Lib Dem letter can be read in full here: ‘To Remain Silent is to Remain Complicit’ Say Lib Dems On ‘Black Lives Matter’ Campaign

As Sir Paul has rightly said, the starting point must always be condemnation of Mr Floyd’s shocking and shameful death, and there is no-one, including myself of course, in Surrey Police who is not disgusted and ashamed that it could happen, and hope that the perpetrators are speedily brought to justice.

But I must protest at and profoundly disagree with your misguided attempt to link it with British policing in the UK and by implication in Surrey. I take particular exception to your sentence: “Police brutality directed overwhelmingly against BAME people, the use of force against peaceful protestors and political leaders defending racism is no less of an issue in the UK than they are abroad”. That is untrue, and a disgraceful slur on British policing – I ask you to withdraw it.

While we would all acknowledge that there is more to do to establish racial equality in this country, it is also a widely-accepted fact that enormous strides have been made in the last decades. Nowhere is this more evident in policing where, especially since the publication of the MacPherson report into the death of Stephen Lawrence, there have been genuine and successful efforts by a host of policing leaders and others to eradicate this scourge. To imply otherwise is not only contrary to the facts, it is an insult and a discouragement to so many men and women from all racial backgrounds who have made it their life’s work to create a much more equal society than would have been believed possible even a generation ago.

I am doubly disappointed that, as Surrey residents, you have not acknowledged the contribution of our fine county police force, Surrey Police. I know from personal experience how passionate they are to ensure that all entrants to the force, whatever their backgrounds or protected characteristics, are given an equal chance to serve their communities and how eagerly they welcome recruits from all communities. I repeat, the force is as horrified as anyone else at the events in Minneapolis.

Surrey has had its share of demonstrations recently: in Guildford, Runnymede, Staines, Woking and elsewhere. I know from the Chief Constable that, despite the anger and strong convictions of those who took part, they all passed off peacefully. That is due to the good sense of the demonstrators, protestors and marchers themselves but also very much to the excellent way in which they were policed: Surrey Police deserve much credit for upholding the difficult balance between allowing people to exercise their lawful right to protest, and keeping public order, especially in these very difficult Covid times. I wish you had acknowledged that.

Yours sincerely

David Munro


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Responses to Letter: Lib Dem Letter is a Disgraceful Slur on British Policing

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    June 10, 2020 at 11:20 am

    If anyone disagrees with David Munro’s comments then they are living in a wholly different would to the majority of law-abiding citizens of our country.

    Just trying to find a cause and creating an effect for five minutes of fame by destroying 300-year-old statutes to become tomorrows chip wrapper or to relieve the boredom of lockdown is a dangerous path to tread.

    Perhaps actually studying the problem properly first is a good way to stem boredom. Currently, there are over 500 pages of future planning control documents on the GBC website. Reading these would do more to change Guildford for the better than walking the streets with cardboard placards and putting them in the rubbish at the end of the day.

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