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Police the Streets, Not the Tweets


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City Journal

The new chief inspector of constabulary for England and Wales pledges to focus on crime and resist “thought policing.”

Noel Yaxley

June 10, 2022

Here in Britain we seem to police everything except crime. Yet some signs suggest that things could change. Andy Cooke has been named the new chief inspector of constabulary, with responsibility for overseeing the operational procedure of all police forces in England and Wales and making recommendations for improvement. Cooke clearly wants to send a message, telling the Times in an interview, “We’re not the thought police.”

This should come as a welcome relief to Britons, who, for the best part of two years, have endured state interference in their liberty. During Covid, the police were out in force, harassing citizens and quizzing them over their daily routines. When they weren’t in LGBT rainbow-adorned police vans yelling at passersby with megaphones to go home, they were patrolling the streets, breaking up gatherings of six or more people, or fining people upward of £10,000 for violations of lockdown protocols. Now it seems almost quaint to hear a police official talking about serious policing. The very fact that Cooke felt the need to make this statement—in his first interview since getting the job—shines a light on how bad English policing has become in recent years.

(Snip)

I hope that Cooke is serious. It should go without saying that in a liberal and democratic country such as Great Britain, the state should not be policing thoughts. But in a Britain increasingly captured by identity politics, what better way to signal that you are au courant with the latest cause than by demanding a clampdown on free expression? Progressive ideology turns everything upside down: by enforcing censorship, you can appear liberal and progressive.

Time will tell if Cooke stands by his pledge. We should judge him by his actions, not his words. It’s time for Britain to police the streets, not the tweets.

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