Chief constable calls for Priti Patel to ‘stand back’ from policing

A chief constable has called on Priti Patel and the Home Office to “stand back” from the policing agenda and allow officers to assert their independence.

Staffordshire Police Chief Constable Gareth Morgan told The Times he was concerned Home Secretary Priti Patel had interfered in operational matters, which could create the impression “policing is seen as the extension of Government”.

Mr Morgan commended Ms Patel for her support of and closer involvement with police than previous home secretaries.

Kevin Nunes murder investigation
Gareth Morgan is concerned Priti Patel has interfered in the operational matters of police (Staffordshire Police/PA)

“But I don’t think that gives the Home Office a reason to step into operational policing,” he told the newspaper.

“Being supportive and taking an interest is really good, but stepping into the policing arena is not.”

The veteran officer, who is retiring next month, said it was important his colleagues were allowed the independence to do their jobs.

“I think it is as incumbent on the service to assert itself and its independence and its role as it is for the Home Office to stand back,” Mr Morgan said.

It comes after after a long-awaited report into the unsolved murder of Daniel Morgan was delayed again due to an “unnecessary” Home Office review said to compromise the authors’ independence.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment regarding the interview in The Times.