This snippet is from yesterday’s Hansard:
Damian Green (Ashford) (Con): The Minister seems to ignore the reality of what happens with our police. A few weeks ago I was doing what Members in all parts of the House do—accompanying a police patrol on a Friday night. The police were confronted by an abusive and potentially violent young man. After they had settled the incident, I asked them why they had not arrested the young man, as they certainly could have done. They said that if they had arrested him, it would have taken the whole three-person patrol out of action for three hours—the crucial period for patrolling the town centre. Is the Minister not worried that about the fact that after nine years of government by his party, the police are afraid to use their arresting powers because if they do they will be prevented from doing their real job of protecting the public?
Mr. McNulty: With respect, they are prevented in part from implementing legislation passed by this Government in the teeth of opposition from the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends. Of course we need the balance between paperwork and bureaucracy, and proper policing. Along with ACPO and the Police Federation, we are trying to ensure that that balance is maintained and to enhance the modernization that has already taken place. However, the hon. Gentleman is living in cloud-cuckoo-land if he thinks that that is all that happens in policing—and I would not believe “PC David Copperfield” either, because that is more of a fiction than Dickens.