I urge you to read the disturbing words below, and if not weep, then think very carefully about them. They are a cry from the heart – and should be a wake-up call for all of us who want to live in a decent, harmonious society in which the law is upheld and we are safe to go about our business in peace.
As a former senior officer in the Metropolitan force and a former elected police and crime commissioner, I have heard similar words to this articulated a thousand times. It is still depressing for me to read them, and they may well shock you. It’s the story of why a very experienced, articulate, caring and sensitive officer is leaving the job after 20 years, when they’re in their prime as a public servant, with perhaps another 15 or more to give.
The writer’s sentiments are not unusual. I can tell you of gifted Oxford graduates, filled with hopelessness, who resign using such language. Of experienced, well-motivated detectives walking out the door to join the financial services industry. Of expensively trained firearms officers leaving to drive a train and enjoy a more relaxed life and better pay. I’ve seen former teachers, nurses, army officers and political advisers joining and then leaving the force because they were overwhelmed by the frustration, criticism and sense of futility they faced as police officers.
I’ve reproduced most of this resignation letter in full, because it reveals things about our society that all of us, not just the police or public servants, should be concerned about. Maybe, amid the pandemic, we might pause and think about what this lone copper is really saying to us. We would be wise to do so, because it’s nearly too late to address the vital issues they raise .
Remember, too, that this officer penned the following last week, before the avalanche of criticisms made of the police with regard to the Clapham vigil and the riots in Bristol:
“I’m a cop of 20 years. I’m leaving. I’m done.
“I’m done with duplicitous liars and twisters of the truth in Parliament, who destroyed policing to further their own careers. I’m done with those charlatans and snake-oil salesmen and women who spread their bile. Whose acid eats away at society, its values and future. I’m done with the utter lack of consequences of their corruption.
“I’m done with the duplicitous liars and twisters of truth in the media and ‘journalism’ with their spin, lies, misrepresentation and half-truths. I’m done with their 24-hours news, their Twitter echo chambers, their pile-on tactics and agendas, to invent the next big story or extend the life of the old one. I’m done with their sickening pretence that they are on some crusade to make the world a better place.
“I’m done with the socially corrosive special-interest groups who want to be top of the victimhood ladder and are prepared to burn the world and anyone different to them, to ensure they are heard above anyone else. Their constant screaming for attention and ever more fantastical claims that bear no scrutiny, but which they know they will never be challenged on, because, you know, ‘cancel culture’.
“I’m done with the public, their violence, their lying, their abuse, their spitting, their constant screaming for instant gratification and destruction of anything and everyone around them if they don’t get their own way, like a bunch of petulant adolescents. I’m done with their demand for every right, real or imagined, and their utter lack of personal or social responsibility to each other.
“I’m done with the senior officers who will jump on any bandwagon, throw any officer under a bus for doing their job, do anything at all to get that next rank and more power. I’m done with them pretending to be cops when they are just politicians in uniform. At least real politicians don’t seek to hide their stench and are there for all the world to see, in all their obnoxious, odious glory.
“I’m done with the far left and far right, two sides of the same violent, socially corrosive and destructive coin, trampling over anyone and everyone, destroying anything in their paths, if it doesn’t conform to the ‘right’ narrative or worldview. I’m done with their red and black flags, their balaclavas, their violence, bullying, and intimidation. I’m done with them calling themselves Nazis or Antifa and pretending they are any different to the opposition. I’m done with their antilocution and persecution of anyone that isn’t on their side. I’m done with their cheerleaders in the media who adopt their causes but absolve themselves of any responsibility for the harm they cause.
“I’m done with the Soviet-era scale of bureaucracy that stops me doing my job, the projects that strangely never fail, the nepotism in the promotion boards, and the boys’ and girls’ clubs in policing that look after each other, no matter how incompetent, and screw everyone else who isn’t in their gang. I’m done with their self-promoting cliques and the associations they hide behind when they’re professionally incompetent – but they’re always useful for a photo opportunity to make the force look good with whatever group is having their week or is fashionable that day.
“I’m done with the (few) corrupt cops who drag all our names through the mud, and the false narrative that the vast majority of frontline cops are tainted.
“I’m done seeing my brothers and sisters on the frontline battered, criticised, unsupported and demoralised. I’m done with their fortitude, inherent goodness and the sense of service that makes them run forward, knowing the armchair critics will crucify them after. I’m done with their false hope that things will improve, society will value them. I’m done with them being lied to by our leaders and then lying to themselves that, maybe, this time those leaders can be trusted. I’m done with seeing those youngsters suffer and age too fast as a decent life passes them by as they waste their lives on this.
“I’m done with grandstanding cops dancing for YouTube, wearing rainbows as self-promotion, kneeling for a Twitter photo, lecturing the public about things that shouldn’t concern us, forgetting we are the law police. I’m done with the false narrative that suggests this is the norm and that all cops are more interested in being woke social workers than doing their job – a false narrative we have facilitated by allowing this self-indulgent, shameless self-promotion for a few individuals to proliferate.
“I’m done with cops being told they are somehow lesser without a degree and their instincts are biased and bad, that experience and street knowledge is discriminatory. I’m done with the lies that the College of Policing is on our side. That the Courts value and support us. That the Independent Office for Police Conduct isn’t an insidiously untrustworthy organisation out to get us. That Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary understands policing.
‘I’ve had it with cleaning up all public faeces’
“I’m done with the anxiety, the anger, the constant state of heightened arousal in case of danger, even when I should be feeling safe in my own home. I’m done with the corrosive damage to my physical and mental health, sacrificed for a country and public, serving both in green and blue for a country that couldn’t give a toss.
“I’m done with the deaths, the suffering, the violence, the dishonesty, the predatory behaviour and all the other public faeces that you ask us to clean up
“I’m done with the indescribable levels of frustration, rage, hate and despair that all the above has filled my life with, when all I wanted to do was look after the good people and lock up the bad. I’m done with the cynicism and the distrust that’s left me with, and the times I’ve put my family last to ensure I was there for someone else’s. I’m done with the pain it causes them to see what this job does to us.
“I’m a cop of 20 years’ service and I’m done with it. Sort your own mess out,or don’t and let it all collapse around you.
“I’m done and I really don’t care anymore.”
Reading this I am sure about one thing; this is a good officer talking, and she or he is passionate and still cares, but has had enough. Their resignation, one more alongside the ever-growing thousands of experienced coppers, will be a loss to us all. Boris Johnson’s promise of 20,000 novice police officers in three years will go nowhere near making up for them.
I know the police in intimate detail, how most of them think and why they do what they do. The constables, inspectors, superintendents and chief officers. I doubt any one of them would disagree with most of the sentiments expressed here – unless they were after promotion, of course.
I don’t know about you, but what this officer is telling us is clear: we are in trouble as a society. The ‘woke’ and the special-interest groups are starting to wag the dog.
The bottom line is that this nation has been able to create the values, security, lifestyle, social support services and freedom of expression we all enjoy for one reason: lots of people have worked to build and protect it. We are now in danger of seeing what we cherish eroded and taken away by those who feel they have a right to do so.
Probably the last line in defence against the crashing waves of self-entitlement and the predatory is the police. From what this officer tells us, that crumbling wall is in grave danger of collapsing under the weight. We have been warned.