‘Praise in public, criticise in private,’ says new Home Secretary

Home secretary James Cleverly joined police leaders at their annual conference to give his first speech since taking on the role.

In the short address, he said, “We all recognise that these are very acute and challenging times. The challenge never gets easier and that is why we need to work effectively together.” He emphasised the need for a constructive working relationship between the police and politicians saying, “We won’t always agree.” But, he added, they each had a duty to the British people to do so.

In a speech aimed at re-setting the relationship between police and the government after large scale protests in London and the sacking of his predecessor, the Home Secretary sought to make his position clear.

“I want you to know that I will back you when you take the action you need to take; when you do the right thing.” He said he will be critical but will do so, “Professionally, calmly, directly so that we always maintain that professional working relationship. I think you can have a relationship that has challenge and demands excellence and professionalism and maintain that relationship without being in a relationship of conflict. They are not inextricably linked.”

He told chiefs that his way of working was to, “Praise in public, criticise in private.” He asked them to give him opportunities to champion success,” as it was, for him, an important part of building confidence in policing.


Photo credit: House of Commons official portrait under an  Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) licence.