Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been caught up in a scandal after leaked texts revealed that he had mocked people in quarantine during the lockdown and suggested getting “heavy with the police”.
The messages, which ESN has not independently verified, were part of over 100,000 sent between ministers and officials during the pandemic and were handed to The Telegraph by journalist Isabel Oakeshott.
In one message sent in August 2020, Hancock suggests that the police need to get tough on enforcing lockdown rules, saying, “I think we are going to have to get heavy with the police.”
In another message, sent in January 2021, Hancock appears to describe what was discussed at a meeting of senior figures, including the Prime Minister, stating, “The plod got their marching orders.”
The term “plod” is a slang term used in the UK to refer to the police. It is a derogatory term that is often used to suggest that the police are slow, unthinking, or unimaginative in their approach to law enforcement.
During the pandemic, the police were criticized for enforcing lockdown rules in what many considered an over-zealous manner, with fines issued to dog walkers and protesters.
The pandemic brought about unprecedented challenges for the police force, with over 30,000 officers reportedly assaulted while enforcing the government’s lockdown rules.
Yet, many find it shameful that while police officers were risking their lives to uphold the law, some senior officials and Tory politicians were blatantly disregarding it by attending illegal parties.
This revelation only adds to the public’s and first responder’s anger and distrust towards those in power, who appear to have been operating under a different set of rules than the rest of us.
The leaked texts have caused outrage among the public, with many rebuking the government’s handling of the pandemic and their lack of respect for the police.
Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper stated that the texts reveal ministers’ “arrogance and shameful lack of respect” towards the police.
These disclosures come at a time when the public’s trust in the government’s handling of the pandemic is already at an all-time low, further highlighting the need for transparency and accountability in our leaders.