ACAB? Defund The Police? How should we respond to Black Lives Matter?

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The Black Lives Matter movement has been making headlines since the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police. Protests started in America but have made there way over here and are happening up and down the UK. But, despite promoting equality, Black Lives Matter hasn’t been universally praised.

Along with a desire to expose injustice and systemic racism, Black Lives Matter organisations have laid out a policy platform aimed at defunding, and potentially abolishing, the police force and dismantling capitalism. These are bold and controversial ideas which have led to some people arguing against the movement as a whole. Should liberally minded people write off the hashtags of #ACAB and #Defund? Or are there policy ideas we can work with to reach the free fair and open society we’re fighting for?

Keir Starmer told BBC Breakfast that the idea of defunding the police is nonsense and he doesn’t support it. This was met with a wave of criticism from Labour supporters and Black Lives Matter protestors. I agree with their criticism of his response and think Starmer, like many others, has misinterpreted the phrase and not looked past the hyperbole. The Lib Dems and others should learn from this when they’re asked about the idea. Abolitionist policies clearly won’t carry much support right now, the police do amazing jobs in many areas, but the concept behind “defund” isn’t discrediting the police and needs a more nuanced look.

The money we currently provide to the police force is going to the wrong places. Austerity basically removed local community police officer, proven to reduce and prevent crime, in favour of a centralised reactionary system. Other areas with inadequate funding and failed Tory policies, mental health, social mobility, poverty and inequality, when well-funded are all proven to reduce crime rates. It’s not naïve, or calling for anarchy, to suggest we divert funds currently used for things like fuelling the failing “war on drugs” to send a few officers who live miles away to impoverished communities to constantly patrol and perform stop and search, and paying for police officers to only mobilise when a crime is committed, towards these necessary services.

If we abolished the police tomorrow lawlessness would ensue. If we slowly and gradually diverted funds from the police and prisons towards social services and mental health, we could reduce crime rates at a much higher rate than strengthening the police force and the “deterrent” of prison. It costs £37,543 a year to keep someone in prison. Couldn’t that money in many cases be better spent on rehabilitation or injected into the community to help reach people before they’re in a position to commit crimes? Crime isn’t random after all; it most often occurs when people feel they have no alternative to see themselves through the week.

I’m not denying the police in this country do an amazing job keeping us safe in so many cases. However, I can’t deny that the police force and other systems in this country are systemically racist and a few top down reforms here and there can only go so far to tackle that. If we do want a free, fair and open society with opportunity for everyone, fundamental change needs to take place. A gradual diversion of police funds into the community, social and health sectors is a viable option to bring about that change and gain the trust of marginalised communities. We mustn’t write it off and there’s a lot to talk about as we decided where money is spent in a post-Covid, post-Black Lives Matter world.

* Dom Martin is a Lib Dem member

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  • Keir Starmer is correct. I’m afraid Dom Martin seems to have very little knowledge of how the funding system actually works with regard to hypothecation ……. or of the political implications of his suggestion.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 2nd Jul '20 - 12:36pm

    I think that Dom contributes an understanding attitude here, but, in agreeing with both Keir Starmer and David Raw, I must say that Dom, your attitude is one I might like to explore.

    To be understanding is good in most situations. Here you reveal a lack of understanding of starmer. And other things too.

    Starmer referred to nonsense, because, in the ham fisted way common amongst the farther left, something even David here doesn’t often get either, BLM, have pursued an agenda in the UK that itself does not understand the self same agenda in the US.

    married to an American wife for twenty five years, since my twenties, I get that. Defunding the police in some areas of the US refers to rebuild from the bottom up. Not to cease having a police force. The very far left of the Democrats, being infiltrated openly by the democratic Socialists of America, have punched above their weight, in promoting such, yes, nonsense.

    As a liberal Democratic party, if we move to that left, we are not worth anything. The green party and others are home to this type of politics. Liberalism and social democracy are not anarchy or libertarianism any more than they are far left socialism or communism.

    BLM, are not universally good or bad, they, as Liberals, should be regarded as should any group, as full of individuals, some terrific, some, spouting, nonsense!

  • So the point of the phrase “defund the police” is to be controversial and thereby attract attention. Try to make a slogan out of “reform the police” and people will nod in agreement, shrug and move on.

    You may be right in your criticism of Starmer, but to show that I think you need to explain what “defund” really means if it doesn’t mean what it straightforwardly appears to mean.

    We have candidates standing for police commissioner in 2021 all over the country. Police commissioners have the power to levy a precept on Council Tax to fund the local police force. Should our candidates have a policy to set that precept to zero? And if not, what should be the policy?

  • Perhaps I have done you a slight injustice in saying you haven’t defined “defund” when you talk at the end about a ‘gradual diversion of police funds into the community, social and health sectors’.

    In a small way the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners was an enabling step for this sort of policy, because they are commissioners, and because they can, and do, spend some of their funds on crime reduction other than through the police.

    If this is successful, we will be heading in the direction you want, and if it isn’t, well then we don’t want to head there until we find a way to spend that money in a way that does reduce crime. But a dogmatic commitment to divert funds away from the police whether or not it is effective would IMO be a mistake, and nor would it address any remaining issues with the rump of the force.

    Now if officers in some places are just driving round harrassing black people – as many reports from the US indicate – then I agree that the money being spent employing those officers is better off not being spent. But if that is happening in the UK, I want to know about it, and if it is happening in South Yorkshire I will raise it with our Police and Crime Commissioner directly.

  • Michael Bukola 2nd Jul '20 - 1:10pm

    Although well thought through, I fear Dom’s analysis does not go far enough as minority communities live in a different reality to the mainstream. Our role as Liberals is to challenge the status-quo and shine a light on the issues which will become mainstream opinion in the coming years like we have achieved with abortion, gay rights and soon cannabis. It is in that spirit that I say very seriously, we do not need 43 different police constabularies across England and Wales and the Metropolitan Police Service in particular is not fit for purpose.

    Lord Patten in his review of policing in Northern Ireland said of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the immediate rebranding of policing to the “PSNI” (Police Service of Northern Ireland) sought to overcome the backdrop of discrimination that had become synonymous with the former institution.

    Next year marks 40 years since the Scarman Review and eluded to racial disadvantage amongst ethnic minorities over 20 years since the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry which uncovered institutional racism. How much evidence do we need. It is time to wake up and do what is necessary to see progression in our society.

  • Starmer is completely right – defund the police is far left nonsense. I’ve been impressed with him so far.

  • If Mr Martin had said scrap the Police Commissioner role and all the superficial bureaucracy that goes with that and then to divert more funding to local government for social care…… then I might agree.

  • James Baillie 2nd Jul '20 - 1:39pm

    Dom, you may be interested in the proposal document that I and a number of other members have produced on this issue to try and frame a way forward here.

  • John Marriott 2nd Jul '20 - 2:21pm

    I agree with David Raw. Stop knocking the police, scrap the PCCs firsT and then bring back democratically accountable Police Authorities. Granted, our police are not perfect; but they are nothing like the police in the USA, thank goodness. Mr Martin is spouting dangerous nonsense.

  • Defund , as people understand it, is an extreme reaction of the left. It would put off soft Tory voters that the party needs. Witness the disinterest in voting for Corbyn in the election. We must REFUND the money that has been lost from Community Policing. The idea of ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ type policing should return. From my days in youth working the utilisation of them to teach and educate the young and to create a positive identity pays off for allowing them to stay out of trouble and off the street and learn to become both successful people in all ways. Teaching the police about different cultures can help them identify whether their behavour is appropriate to the system they face. That could be helped by having ,say, a white officer being accompanied with a Sikh officer if patrolling a relevant area. If the political will is there crime can be reduced and the need for Tory vote catching building prisons and left wing ‘bash the police’ that turns off soft Tory voters could rebuild trust in the police.

  • Sue Sutherland 2nd Jul '20 - 3:04pm

    I think nhunter’s idea of using the word refund instead of defund is a good idea and seems to express what you actually want to achieve Dom. As you say, abolishing the police would lead to chaos, which we, as Lib Dems, never want to see, but some Momentum supporters might. We are not trying to create a revolution.
    The police have obviously lost the support of many members of the BAME communities and aren’t trusted to deliver the protection and just treatment which we should expect from them. If I were a Police Commissioner I would want to organise meetings between the community and police officers at all levels to start a dialogue as to how the situation can be retrieved. Then we could put extra funding in the right places.
    Unfortunately this isn’t going to happen while the Tories, with their predilection for strength and authoritarianism, are in power but we as a party might be able to influence the situation locally as Joe Otten suggests.
    During the last nation wide riots my daughters were living in Salford and people there were giving sweets and cakes to the men on duty to thank them for their protection. This is the relationship we need to aim for.

  • “Defund the police” is a terrible slogan for what is, in America at least, a decent idea, which confuses people, and it’s a waste of time trying to defend the slogan, and counter-productive to blame people for ‘not understanding’ it.

    As a slogan, they just about get away with it in America because their police departments have large budgets spent on weapons, and they get involved with things that isn’t police business. The calls in the US to spend less money on patrolling the streets with tanks, and to invest in social workers who will take the lead when there is a phone call about someone with a mental health problem makes sense. It would have been better to say ‘reallocate funding’, but so many US police departments are rotten beyond repair that a whole new approach is required.

    Compare to the UK where our officers could do better, but don’t have routine access to battle-field weaponry, there is an independent body that investigates allegations of serious wrong-doing, and are better trained overall. What our police needs, along with allied professions, is better funding. Funding for better mental health or social work should not come from reducing the police budget, and slogans shouldn’t let anyone think it might.

    Starmer was absolutely right to say what he did, and anything else would have been a gift to the Tories come the next election.

  • To respond to comments made, Starmer’s brush aside response, to me, totally ignored the wishes of people who are out on the streets during a health crisis because they’re so motivated and angry, and that was foolish. The phrase defund should be a springboard into talking about underfunded services and mismanaged funds we do have. There’s a lot of anger and frustration at the system that is bubbling over. That needs to be heard.

    “Defund the police” isn’t a dangerous, nonsense idea, it isn’t even a policy. It’s a phrase. A phrase that could mean replace the police with a military force keeping people under complete control, right wing. Or to allow an anarchist lawless land with no institutions in place, left wing.

    There is a middle ground. Pragmatic, implementable policy hides behind the slogan. We should embrace that, talk about chronic underfunding of health and social services, the widening gap between rich and poor and inequality and poverty.

    I don’t have a comprehensive understanding of how tax funds are allocated but it’s worth asking why X% of GDP is spent on Y when it doesn’t work as well as Z could? Why is there so much money in centralised policing and bureaucratic systems when community policing and mental health services have been cut, poverty and inequality isn’t being addressed? We’re fighting the symptoms, not causes.

    Our problems aren’t as dangerous as in the USA, but if we want to prevent crime there are new strategies that we should at least discuss here as well. Lib Dems argue the war on drugs is a waste of time, resources and money. Put that into health, rehab and education, you’ll reduce drug addiction/crime better than the police do. That approach, *to an extent*, can be applied to other contexts.

    If you don’t like “Defund” or have interpreted it to mean lawlessness on the streets tomorrow, imo you’ve misunderstood the what the people saying it mean. Even organisations calling to abolish, which isn’t something I’d argue, aren’t suggesting no law enforcement now. If you can’t get past the phrase, call explicitly for police reforms and properly funded health, social and education services. But that is what the “Defunders” want too, they just think a hyperbolic phrase is a better way to get in the media to make way for these nuanced discussions. If politicians continue to brush it aside instead of engaging with the nuance, we won’t achieve anything. The Lib Dems can learn from that imo.

  • “Should liberally minded people write off the hashtags of #ACAB and #Defund?”

    Absolutely without a second of hesitation.

  • Innocent Bystander 2nd Jul '20 - 4:00pm

    Anything that needs that level of explanation is an electoral suicide note.
    BTW “nuanced” is regarded as a euphemism for “two- faced and dishonest”. Just say what you mean and plain!y.
    Starmer is where the people are. The ” wave of protest” was from those who lose elections.
    As I said elsewhere the LibDems are a party of the centre only because they try to occupy both ends of the spectrum simultaneously in the hope they cancel out. “Defund the police” is about as extreme and remote from the centre as it gets.

  • John Marriott 2nd Jul '20 - 4:45pm

    What you need to do is make the 43 police forces in England and Wales democratically accountable to the communities they serve. I dispute that this can be done by the election of PCCs. Most are nominees of political parties and are elected on turnouts of around 20% if you are lucky. They are technically scrutinised by so called Crime and Policing Panels, which are largely toothless.

    Now, when we had Police Authorities, these bodies were made up of councillors from first and second tier authorities, together with a sprinkling of independent appointees drawN from various professions, who, from my experience, usually provided most of the brains. It was these authorities that held the Chief Constable and his officers to account. As a member of a Police Authority for eight years I grant you that they weren’t perfect; but they rarely got the wool pulled over their eyes and their members were able to benefit from courses run by the Association of Police Authorities (the APA), which contained some very bright individuals.

    I am sure that most PCCs are well intentioned; but their influence has been muted to say the least. The rôle needs scrapping and a return to an updated version of Police Authorities together with more force amalgamations considered to improve efficiency and resilience.

  • Michael McDowall 2nd Jul '20 - 5:11pm

    I think that whereas Black Lives Matter captures a mood and a truth relevant to the UK as it is to the US, I think the importation of Defund the Police is deeply unhelpful and not relevant The principle of Defunding is that money should be transferred from the police forces to support social movements helping communities on the ground. The Californian police budget is I believe close to $2bn. An astonishing number. Looking at recent events on television the police seem to have fallen prey to the defence industries seeking to expand markets. Hence transferring funds can do some genuine good for people where they live. That model is not relevant to the UK where police have suffered under Austerity along with the rest of us

  • Some people talk as if Britain and America are the same country. Their policing and prison
    system is far more brutal than ours and many of the reforms demanded e.g. ending qualified immunity simply aren’t applicable here.

    What I would like to see in the UK is an end to suspicionless stop and search which is divisive and alienating.

    Otherwise I can’t think of any other police reforms that are needed.

  • While I can’t claim to know exactly what motivated everyone protesting, I’m going to say that most were against systemic racism and police violence.

    The idea/slogan of defunding the police was not a core part of what got people onto the streets, and as far as I could tell it was a tiny minority using the ACAB tag. Let’s not fall into the same trap as the right-wing media by assuming that everyone who protested was supportive of the less constructive actions, such as violence or trying to set fire to a flag on the Cenotaph.

    I support the general BlackLivesMatter movement, because I believe that Black Lives do matter and that is an area that needs attention. But that doesn’t mean that a minority who happened to register the domain name get to dictate the entire agenda or claim to speak for everyone who is challenging racism.

    It’s right we think about improving the accountability of the police, and how we can better spend public money to carry out functions that sometimes involve the police, but it’s not helped by pretending it’s helped by slogans that confuse and contradict that aspiration.

  • Cllr Mark Wright 2nd Jul '20 - 8:18pm

    Wake up: de-funding the police means de facto privatising the police.

    The people lapping this nonsense up right now are G4 and the other private security firms. They know full well that if the police budgets are cut (which we have *ALWAYS* rightly opposed) then rich neighbourhoods will simply hire in the own security, while poor neighbourhoods will go down the pan. The people who suffer the most will be the poor, as always when vital public services are cut.

    Now I know there’s a huge desire to jump on board with trendy phrases from America that are not applicable here, but if this is the way the party is looking to go for policy then we are aiming for a train-wreck.

    BTW, anyone who responds to #ACAB with anything other than a sigh and a shake of the head is almost certainly an ignorant fool. As a councillor for nearly 16 years I’ve worked with dozens of policemen in the community over the years, and almost without fail they have been fantastic, hardworking community champions – well liked by local residents. ACAB is a vile, bigoted slur that no decent liberal should give the time of day.

  • I don’t think we should go into an election on a platform of “Defund The Police” because it doesn’t mean a lot as a policy and clearly the phrase is controversial. We should go in on a platform of ending the war on drugs, reforming the role of police officers in the community and getting rid of unnecessary bureaucracy and centralisation.

    Defund the police in the sense protestors are calling for it will not privatise. A lot of the suggested policies are about strengthening the community’s role in policing, bringing local people into the frontline in their areas and creating a much warmer atmosphere. This could make local police authorities more accountable to their residents, they’d be more visible and known. It wouldn’t make rich areas hire private security services and would engage poorer communities more, not send them down the pan.

    Marginalised, poor and over policed communities – disproportionately black – feel alienated and vilified by the police because community policing is essentially gone in post-austerity’s more centralised system, because of stop and search and because they feel the police are working to protect others from them rather than to protect them.

    Defund in the sense promoted by BLM doesn’t mean underfunding or austerity because the money is to be moved, poured back into the community and preventative services. Perhaps “Refund” is a better phrase as n hunter suggested. Restructuring of the police force and an injection of money into the services the article mentions could make the police more efficient and decrease crime rates, making policing much cheaper, gradually freeing up even more cash to be spent in other effective areas.

    As for ACAB, most officers are fantastic people great at their jobs, absolutely!! BUT, all police are by default proponents of oppression due to the systemic racism within the police force and in this country. Like all men must own and recognise sexism, all white people racism, all police must own and recognise the oppression and alienation of marginalised communities. As a whole we must work to reform and restructure. Singling out individuals for good or ill isn’t enough.

    This is all controversial and radical, yes. But loony left? No, I don’t think any of my suggestions in practice are at odds with Liberal Democrat values, nor are they extreme or far from where we sit on other policies.

  • “all police are by default proponents of oppression”………

    What is it about people called Dom ? And before you start getting self righteous let me tell you I supported an inquiry into what went on at Orgeave, and I just wish Joe Otten would.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 2nd Jul '20 - 11:11pm

    Excellent from Mark Wright, replied to with uncharacteristic brief yet strong words from our David, Raw!

    The police are not involved in oppression, like this is the norm, as Liberals you cannot see groups and think it acceptable to label thus, and no, all men are not in any way sexist, nor all BAME victims and all LGBT lefties, these are the sorts of stereotypical nonsense, not just Starmer, but any sensible person must reject.

  • One fruitful exercise Lib Dems could do is go to their local town centres – particularly out of the posh Lib Dem areas and Just eavesdrop on conversations. Don’t talk – just LISTEN.

    Let’s just say the things said here are nothing like what you’ll here.

  • Elizabeth Whiting 3rd Jul '20 - 8:57am

    I think a lot of these comments are focussing on the phrase ‘defund the police’ rather than Doms argument here. The idea here isn’t that we should abolish the police rather just attempt to move funds around to try and fix a broken and systemically racist system. (Which Dom states in this article).
    As for ACAB, I think even if your intentions are truly good and honest, there is no way to be a ‘good cop’ in a system that is inherently flawed, the system needs to be changed before we can do anything. And part of changing the system is ‘defunding’ it, by moving funds around and putting funds into services which will lower the crime rate, rather than putting all our funds into simply looking at crimes after they’ve been committed.

  • Cllr Mark Wright 3rd Jul '20 - 9:10am

    What is it about modern progressives refusing to believe what people themselves say they mean when they say something?

    “Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police”

  • Nonconformistradical 3rd Jul '20 - 9:24am

    “I think a lot of these comments are focussing on the phrase ‘defund the police’ rather than Doms argument”

    Focussing on the use by a LibDem of the phrase ‘defund the police’ is exactly what tabloid press will do!!!

  • Julian Tisi 3rd Jul '20 - 9:35am

    Black Lives Matter is too important a subject to be hijacked by the extreme left, who put forward such nonsense as “defund the police” or, worse still “ACAB” (I must admit I had to look it up and I’m sickened. My brother and other family members are in the police and it’s this sort of attitude that results in police being attacked or worse). Keir Starmer was absolutely right to distance himself from these ideas.

    Nick Tyrone recently wrote a (IMO brave) article on this point here, which is worth a read:

  • Nonconformistradical 3rd Jul '20 - 10:28am

    ““ACAB” (I must admit I had to look it up and I’m sickened”


  • Milli Dalton 3rd Jul '20 - 11:44am

    this is a great analysis. a lot of people miss the point of #defund and #acab, but in reality police get away with things normal people would not – especially regarding their treatment to the BAME community. bravo dom!

  • The sentiment of this article has been lost on the commenters, I at no point argued we as a party should fight an election under a banner of “Defund The Police”. I at not point argued we should cut the police budget to zero. I at no point argued we should adopt and endorse all the policies of the organisation BLMUK. I merely said it’s disappointing that politicians are not engaging with the concept at all or its activist supporters, because the phrase alone is meaningless and there are liberal policies that could be created from a discussion around it, whether the phrase itself sits well with you or not.

    We should ask: Does the police force currently work for everyone? Can the police alone fight systemic racism and injustice in this country? Is the current structure of the police force the most efficient way to tackle crime? If the answer to any of that is no, we should discuss ways we could restructure or “Refund” (nice phrase from n hunter) the police and whether or not SOME of the money we put into stop and search, fighting drug crime, police presence in “dodgy” neighbourhoods etc. could be more effectively spent elsewhere to a) prevent crime, b) rehabilitate criminals and c) create a more positively judged police force.

    I’m not arguing our issues are as severe as America’s, that abolition is a practical idea or that I endorse far left policies. There is anger within the BLM movement and to not engage with that anger at all risks it getting worse. Commenters calling me out, comparing me to unfavourable politicians also called Dom, calling this nonsense, have all stuck on the phrase. The point I’m trying to make is look past the phrase to discuss practical policy ideas. Maybe if that debate happened I could conclude the police actually needs more money than any other service. Maybe I’d come to other conclusions regarding where money should be spent. I merely ask you don’t disregard a large section of a movement fuelled by anger at systemic injustices just because of the phrases they’ve adopted. Some people HATED “Bollocks To Brexit” but it caught the attention of the media so they, the public and politicians then engaged with us due to the sentiment and policy behind B2B.

  • @ Dominic “The sentiment of this article has been lost on the commenters”.

    Try expressing yourself more clearly in order that we lesser mortals might then be able to understand you.

  • David Garlick 3rd Jul '20 - 1:37pm

    Rapid evolution if that is possible, is always better than a catastrophic revolution which will set the force back on all fronts, many of which they operate well.

  • Sue Sutherland 3rd Jul '20 - 4:21pm

    I think a lot of us commentators have become hung up on the phrase ‘defund the police’ because here it has very negative connotations. It doesn’t transfer from the USA to the UK. However, most of us would support your policy aims to put money into strengthening the community’s role in policing without any quibbles at all.
    David Raw obviously didn’t read past your first phrase about oppression because the systemic racism within the police force is acknowledged to exist even by members of the force. That then allows the personal harassment of individuals which people recount and which can go on for years. In my view that is oppression and it’s up to all white members of this party to call it out and demand change. The first step has to be removing the powers to stop and search without a very good reason.

  • John Marriott 3rd Jul '20 - 5:49pm

    Not only does the phrase ‘defund the police’ not translate that well this side of the Atlantic. Neither does the concept of the ‘Police and Crime Commissioner’. Some of our examples remind me of Boss Hogg from the classic US TV show, ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ in their seeming ineffectiveness.

    I don’t know how many LDV contributors have ever had anything to do with scrutinising their local police force. Well, I have and I can tell you, in the famous words of W S Gilbert, that “a policeman’s lot is not a happy one“. I know that the Met can be a law unto itself; but the kind of police officers at all ranks we used to deal with were genuine people trying to do a bloody difficult job of policing by consent. Even some of the Chief Constables were relatively human as well! I spent some time on what used to be called the Police Authority’s ‘Police Complaints Committee’, which political correctness turned into ‘Police Standards’. I can always remember one case we reviewed, in which the complainant’s main charge went something like; “when I arrived at the police station, the duty sergeant looked at me in a funny way“. To compare our warranted officers to their US counterparts, some of whom have had barely 16 weeks training before being released onto the streets locked and loaded is grossly insulting.

  • Nonconformistradical 3rd Jul '20 - 5:57pm

    “the kind of police officers at all ranks we used to deal with were genuine people trying to do a bloody difficult job of policing by consent. Even some of the Chief Constables were relatively human as well!”

    Like this one:-

  • Peter Chambers 4th Jul '20 - 12:18pm

    I had thought that in the UK de-funding the police was what Theresa May and Nick Clegg were doing between 2010 and 2015, under the name of austerity. Community police officers were replaced by PCSOs, or by nothing. Stations were closed. Divisions amalgamated. Beat constables replaced by drive-by-policing. Councils asked to “top up” PCSO budgets.
    Some have campaigned against austerity by asking for more “bobbies on the beat”. This turns out to be popular, especially with victims of crime.
    Adopting a slogan from somewhere else, that is not relevant, is poor politics.
    When people explain that what they want is to re-build the probation service and pursue restorative justice, that makes sense. But the first slogan does not make sense in this parish.

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