Donkeys leading lions produces poor performance. Public relations puffs can only divert attention for a time. Tokenism can’t conceal poor judgement. West Midlands Police illustrates.

Recently released statistics show WMP was the worst performing force in the country for catching burglars in 2019. Roughly 9 out of 10 burglars in its police area can be reassured that they will avoid detection; an appalling statistic. For a number of years West Midlands has been at or near the bottom of this detection league table.

Rather than provide an explanation, Chief Constable “Dave” Thompson rushes into press to comment on the death of a man as a result of police brutality in a foreign country.

Every human life is precious and a death caused by the unnecessary and unlawful abuse of power deplorable. Every right thinking person must view such events with disgust. That disgust is not a bandwagon to be chased and jumped on by every public official keen to flash their liberal credentials.  It should be a given that Thompson shares that revulsion. There is no need for him to tell us.

More controversially, “Dave” goes on to contrast the Minnesota police force, whose officers were involved, with our own dear West Mids force. The reader may suspect in this he “doth protest too much” and is using the tragedy in the USA to bull up his own force and divert attention from its deficiencies.

A disproportionate amount of effort seems to be expended polishing the public image of the West Mids force to the neglect of its core responsibility to catch criminals and promote law and order. That misdirection can only come from the top.

Meanwhile in a parallel universe, the Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson is busy defending his lack of judgement in appointing Waheed Saleem his deputy in the face of opposition from his own Police and Crime Panel. The panel deemed Saleem unsuitable. As a Labour councillor in Walsall, Saleem leaked sensitive confidential information which led to his being banned from holding public office.

This is not the first time Jamieson has faced problems with a deputy. In March 2016 he suspended his then deputy Yvonne Mosquito, who later resigned. Having problems with one deputy might be a misfortune. Difficulties with two indicates managerial deficiencies.

Perhaps the root of the problem lies in the philosophy set out on the Commissioner’s web site; “Diversity within the office is of paramount importance” Should competence and probity not take precedence over the tokenism of achieving a diversity target?