We stood by in slack-jawed admiration as Home Secretary Theresa May kicked in the door of the Police Federation Conference in Bournemouth last month and gave them both barrels.
You might think that it ill behoves journalists – of all people – to carp about the public standing of other professions, but the words ‘incompetent’ and ‘corrupt’ have weighed heavily on perceptions of the police recently.
Despite the string of controversies surrounding the Stephen Lawrence, Hillsborough and Plebgate cases, as well as complaints about stop and search and a chauvinist attitude to domestic violence, no government has dared to confront the entrenched interests of the police for decades.
So it was truly astonishing to witness May stand up and give them some long-deserved home truths. "‘If there is anybody who doubts that our model of policing is at risk, I am here to tell you that it’s time to face up to reality," May said. And in so doing she enhanced the Tories’ reputation for strong government, while perfectly positioning herself as The Iron Maiden 2.0, a prime minister in waiting.