Former Chancellor George Osborne is right to call out the police whilst Lord Sumption is spot on in suggesting we should not put up with a “police state” suggests Matthew Steeples
A former Chancellor and a former Supreme Court judge have both justifiably lambasted Derbyshire Police over their “hysterical” behaviour in relation to the coronavirus outbreak.
In a tweet, George Osborne sensibly pointed out that “so many police officers are doing an incredible job in this crisis,” but then rightly tempered it by adding: “Forces that are stopping shops selling Easter eggs, putting black dye into lakes, setting up check points and buzzing lone walkers with drones have lost all common, and are undermining public consent.”
Lord Sumption, going further, directly called out those policing the Peak District. On BBC Radio 4’s World at One, he remarked:
“The behaviour of the Derbyshire Police in trying to shame people in using their undoubted right to take exercise in the country and wrecking beauty spots in the fells so people don’t want to go there is frankly disgraceful.”
“This is what a police state is like, it is a state in which a government can issue orders or express preferences with no legal authority and the police will enforce ministers’ wishes.”
Lord Sumption concluded by suggesting that Derbyshire Police had “shamed our policing traditions” and turned themselves into “glorified school prefects.”
I join George Osborne and Lord Sumption in their sentiments and surprisingly even, for once (and probably for this one-time only), find myself saluting Peter Hitchens even for spreading the former Supreme Court judge’s comments as widely as possible via Twitter. They deserve to be heard.
Yes, of course, the public must be careful and yes, we should heed the sensible advice of scientists and other experts at this time, but equally we must not pay attention to the exaggerated threat and pure drivel that is spouted by the mainstream media currently on a daily basis. Headlines such as the one we featured Monday where The Mail on Sunday disgracefully accused Michel Barnier of “infecting” Boris Johnson with coronavirus (in spite of the pair not having met since the outbreak began) are prime examples of this false scaremongering. Now that such behaviour has been correctly called out, it is time we all woke up and returned to some sense of rationality. Such will stand us all in far better steed.
Pictured top: A former quarry, now a lake, at Harpur Hill, Buxton in Derbyshire that Derbyshire Police disgracefully dumped black dye into. Unsurprisingly, their irresponsible tactic is likely to backfire as Instagrammers now are supposedly finding it – not as the police intended – “more appealing” for their selfies.