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Anger Over ‘Police Reform Apocalypse’ Tweet

Policy Exchange’s Blair Gibbs says remark was a “tongue in cheek” reference to previous comments

The Research Director for Crime and Justice at the think-tank Policy Exchange has defended a tweet he posted describing his team as “the four horsemen of the police reform apocalypse”, claiming it was a meant as a tongue-in-cheek remark.

Writing on his Twitter account, Blair Gibbs said others had described his team in this way in the past. He added that he was “an unapologetic advocate of police reform” and would never describe change as an apocalypse.

Mr Gibbs, who has been an advocate of new law enforcement ideas – including the introduction of elected police and crime commissioners – originally made the remark as part of Twitter’s #ff – or Follow Friday – protocol, recommending others follow members of his team at Policy Exchange.

He declined to add any further comment outside of his tweets - he has been using Twitter to clarify the reasons for making the statement.

But his remarks have upset members of the Police Federation who released a statement questioning the “effect that unelected think-tanks are having on government policy”.

North Yorkshire Police Federation has gone further and has called for an apology.

Simon Reed, Vice-Chair of the Police Federation, said: “At such a sensitive time for the Police Service when they are undergoing a barrage of reforms and officers still have to provide a good service under increasingly tight budgets, the comment is at best ill-judged.

“At worst it calls into question how much influence some of these anonymously funded, unaccountable and unelected think-tanks influence government policy. Who is in charge here – the think-tanks or the government?”

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