Police culture will change, says Home Office minister

Policing minister Damian Green says three Police Federation representatives should apologise to Andrew Mitchell for their role

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The "culture" of policing will improve, with independent overseers given "more powers" to investigate wrongdoing, a Home Office minister has pledged.

Damian Green said the "Plebgate" investigation was "one incident among many", citing the Hillsborough cover-up and the death of Ian Tomlinson.

But only a small minority of officers had acted inappropriately, he added.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission was working to ensure greater "openness", Mr Green said.

A Sunday Times poll by YouGov suggests 66% of the public trust the police, down from 71% in August.

'Apology'

The figures come after several controversies involving police over the last few years.

In August the Metropolitan Police apologised to the family of Ian Tomlinson over his death at the G20 protests in London in 2009, with one officer using "excessive" force.

Last year David Cameron apologised for a police cover-up over the Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 football fans died in 1989.

And, on Wednesday, the chief constables of West Mercia, Warwickshire and West Midlands Police are due to appear before the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee to explain the handling of a meeting between officers and former government Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell.

The MP resigned after he was accused of calling Downing Street police "plebs" when they prevented him from riding a bicycle through gates leading into Whitehall in September last year.

The meeting with officers, working as representatives of the Police Federation, was held during the weeks following the claims.

A transcript of a recording Mr Mitchell made shows that, while he admitted swearing, he denied using the word "pleb" or insulting the police. But, after the meeting, three senior police officers said he had refused to elaborate on what had happened and should quit, which he later did.

Mr Green said the officers' comments had been "palpably untrue", adding: "He deserves an apology."

Mr Green added: "Andrew Mitchell clearly can command the resources that other people might not be able to prove that what individual police officers said about him wasn't true. So that's the key underlying issue."

'Surprising'

Mr Green said: "If police officers behave badly then it's really serious for the police. But it's a very small minority who behave badly. By and large the police do their job well."

Citing the Sunday Times poll, he added: "Two-thirds of people still have confidence in the police, which is quite surprising given the spate of stories."

However, the government was increasing resources for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and was changing police recruitment to ensure people with a background from outside the service could enter at a senior level.

Mr Green said: "The fact that people will bring a new attitude and background will help the police service. It will open it up."

He added: "The IPCC needs more powers and resources, We are giving it both. It's not just a question of following rules. It's a question of having a culture of openness and transparency."

Former Metropolitan Police detective Peter Kirkham told the BBC's Sunday Politics there was not a "culture of deceit" among officers.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles told BBC One's Sunday Politics he had "always believed" Mr Mitchell's account of Plebgate.

"I'd be honoured to sit with Andrew Mitchell in the cabinet," he said.

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    12:18: In short supply Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Rehman Chisti says people who work hard should be able to aspire to owning their homes. He says the government is making "significant" progress, but admits more needs to be done to solve the problem. Labour's Lisa Nandy says house prices have gone up because of the lack of supply - her party wants to help builders construct new homes, too.

     
  78.  
    12:17: Security is key - PM

    David Cameron says his policies can be summed up in one word - security. He says that extends from the security of a good school place to security in old age. Key to that security, he adds, is owning your own home.

     
  79.  
    12:15: PM housing speech

    David Cameron has just started speaking on his housing plans in Colchester, Essex.

     
  80.  
    @Ed_Miliband Ed Miliband, Labour leader

    tweets: The next Labour government will deliver a better plan on housing:

    Labour housing plans
     
  81.  
    12:11: Emwazi case Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Mr Chishti says many radical preachers in the UK will tone their words so they are within the law. He says it is important to get such preachers off university campuses to avoid another case like Emwazi's. Labour's Lisa Nandy says a new support system for those vulnerable to radicalisation needs to be put in place.

     
  82.  
    12:10: Terror laws Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Daily Politics is discussing the issues surrounding Islamic State militant Mohammed Emwazi - known to many as Jihadi John. Tory MP Rehman Chishti says fewer people have absconded under TPIMs than under the old system of control orders - and says they are the right way forward. Earlier, former reviewer of terrorism legislation Lord Carlile raised questions about the scrapping of control orders in relation to Jihadi John.

     
  83.  
    12:06: Campaign countdown BBC News Channel
    New Statesman's Stephen Bush and Rosamund Urwin from the London Evening Standard

    The BBC News Channel's review of the political week is coming up at 12:30 GMT. Today Rosamund Urwin, from the London Evening Standard, and the New Statesman's Stephen Bush will be discussing possible splits in UKIP, the Green Party's relaunch after Natalie Bennett's disastrous interview last week and reports that the prime minister is bored with his own campaign. We'll bring you the latest here and desktop users can watch it on the live coverage tab above.

     
  84.  
    @BuzzFeedUKPol BuzzFeed UK Politics

    tweets: A UKIP candidate got stranded on the beach after writing 'We Love Nige'. Read more.

     
  85.  
    @BBCNormanS Norman Smith

    tweets: No 10 say it remains PMs "ambition" to get net migration down to tens of thousands

     
  86.  
    11:46: Shelter on housing plans BBC News Channel
    Toby Lloyd

    Shelter's Toby Lloyd has been speaking about cut-price housing plans for first-time buyers. He says the political prioritisation of housing is welcome, but adds: "You just don't solve an affordability crisis by getting rid of affordable housing, which is what this announcement proposes to do."

    He said the Conservatives' plans were "a small step in the right direction", but added that cutting the requirement for developers to provide affordable housing meant the policy effectively equated to "taking with one hand, but giving away with the other".

    He called for government to "step up to the plate" and provide a "bold" commitment to get the houses needed built.

     
  87.  
    11:44: Sun going down? The Guardian

    It used to be the Sun 'wot won it', but according to the BBC's Andrew Neil, the paper's political influence is seriously on the wane. Media commentator Roy Greenslade gives his thoughts on that in the Guardian.

     
  88.  
    @fperraudin Frances Perraudin, Guardian journalist

    tweets: "Call me Ed", Miliband tells an audience member

    Ed Miliband at People's Question Time
     
  89.  
    @HeartSussexNews Heart FM Sussex & Surrey News

    tweets: #HeartNews @Ed_Miliband asked about rail renationalisation. Says East Coast was better in public hands "gotta change the system and we will"

     
  90.  
    @Andrew_ComRes Andrew Hawkins, ComRes chairman

    tweets: Nick Clegg doing mental health phone-in on LBC tonight: will be interesting 2 hear how reconciles concerns w/desire to relax skunk laws

     
  91.  
    @Number10gov UK Prime Minister

    tweets: Find out how government has helped people get on the housing ladder #BuildingBritain

    UK Prime Minister tweetpic
     
  92.  
    @Jo_Coburn Jo Coburn, BBC Daily Politics presenter

    tweets: Should we send MPs and peers to East Yorkshire? Join me after 12 to hear more on #bbcdp

     
  93.  
    11:19: Gordon Brown on oil fields Douglas Fraser Business/economy editor, Scotland

    Gordon Brown is starting his final month as an MP with a thundering speech on the economy. It's the only type of speech he's ever done.

    He's chosen to do so as Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy also sounds off on economic policy, and just before Nicola Sturgeon re-styles the Scottish government's economic strategy, with a strong flavour of equality running through its 'refreshed' priorities.

    The first minister has, incidentally, made her predecessor's Council of Economic Advisers a bit more equal - of 10 members, four are women, seven professors, five non-economists, five based outside Scotland and as many people of Italian parentage as there are Nobel laureates - two of each.

    More from Douglas Fraser, our business editor for Scotland, here.

     
  94.  
    @JamesTapsfield James Tapsfield, Press Association political reporter

    tweets: Mili says there's "no bigger priority" for Labour than building more homes

     
  95.  
    @JamesTapsfield James Tapsfield, Press Association political reporter

    tweets: Another pretty packed house for Miliband in Brighton...

    Ed Mliband meeting crowd
     
  96.  
    @YouGov YouGov, polling firm
  97.  
    10:51: 'More power, more flexibility' BBC News Channel
    Shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds

    "It's young people who are most affected by this housing crisis," says Labour's shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds. She says her party would give local councils "more power, more flexibility to stop land banking - where developers sit on land - and to directly commission house building in their area". On the subject of Labour's 200,000 homes-a-year target, she adds: "We'd love to get there sooner than 2020 but we don't want to make promises we cant keep."

     
  98.  
    10:48: 'Barmy army cuts' BBC News Channel

    Conservative MP Col Bob Stewart says he agrees with fears raised by US Army Chief of Staff Gen Raymond Odierno on the impact of spending cuts on the UK's armed forces. Col Stewart says he thinks it is "barmy" to consider reducing defence spending when the UK faces the threats it does. He also alluded to "disturbing rumours" that the Army may see further cuts again soon.

    General Odierno told the Daily Telegraph further cuts could see British units operating within US ranks, rather than divisions working alongside each other. Col Stewart said the idea was "certainly workable" but would be mean "loss of influence" for the UK.

     
  99.  
    @fergalkeane47 Fergal Keane, BBC special correspondent

    tweets: Tonight on @BBCPanorama I'll be arguing that love is the biggest political idea of all

    Our correspondent has also written a piece about the politics of love. You can read it here.

     
  100.  
    10:38: Public-private North Sea deals

    Some more on Gordon Brown's speech in Glasgow on North Sea oil fields later. BBC Scotland writes that Mr Brown will back the idea of public-private ownership deals, saying they could be the solution for those fields that are under threat of being mothballed. More here.

     

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