Downing Street has launched a ‘review’ after Boris Johnson was accused of using Police officers as a backdrop for a political stunt, the Mirror understands.
It follows the PM’s speech in Wakefield last month which was delivered in front of dozens of Police cadets.
The speech was intended to launch Johnson’s Police recruitment pledge.
Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill said he hadn’t seen evidence that this was a deliberate bid to politicise the police.
But just this week the Conservative Party used footage from the event in an electioneering tweet, claiming: “From Peel to Patel, we are the party of law and order.”
After “last-minute” changes, Johnson made political comments about Brexit and took questions from the media on “other topical issues of the day.”
Sir Mark, the UK’s top civil servant, admitted the political aspects of Johnson’s remarks were “not considered properly.”
Shadow Policing Minister Louise Haigh said: “The Prime Minister’s desperate attempt to use the police as a party political stunt backfired wildly and the civil service’s unease at his behaviour is painfully apparent.
“This is a Prime Minister that cannot be trusted to behave properly, tell the truth or run the country.”
Following the visit, West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable John Robins said he was “disappointed” to see the PM’s speech in Wakefield – a target seat for the Conservatives – was political in nature.
And Met Police Chief Cressida Dick said: “To make a highly political speech in front of a group of police officers does seem to me to be problematic on all sides. How it happened, I don’t know. But I’m sure everybody wishes it hadn’t happened.”
In a letter to Ms Haigh, Sir Mark admitted the “overall setting was not considered” after plans were changed.
Sir Mark wrote: “There should have been a clearer delineation between the government policy aspects (concerning police recruitment) and political content.
“In addition, the media questions went beyond police recruitment to cover other topical issues of the day. Due to the last minute changes these aspects were not considered properly.
He added: “The Prime Minister’s Office are reviewing their visit planning process to learn any lessons and to improve planning and communications.”
Home Affairs Committee Chair Yvette Cooper also received a letter from Sir Mark addressing the speech, and has called on the Prime Minister to apologise.
She said: “The Cabinet Secretary has now accepted that there should have been a clearer delineation between police recruitment and political content, that the setting of the speech was not reconsidered and that the implications of making a political speech in front of police officers were not properly considered either.
“He also states that the Prime Minister’s Office are reviewing their visit planning process to learn any lessons.
“The Prime Minister should therefore apologise to West Yorkshire Police for putting them in such an invidious position when the police rightly guard their independence from politics and need to always be able to demonstrate their impartiality.”
But she said Sir Mark’s letter failed to answer serious questions put to him by the committee about who made the last minute changes and why.
She said: “We also still do not know how many police work and training hours were lost at a time when our police are overstretched and crime is rising.
“Ultimate responsibility for this event and for exploiting West Yorkshire Police rests with the Prime Minister. But the Cabinet Secretary also has a responsibility to safeguard the impartiality not just of the civil service but also other public institutions such as the police.
“Sir Mark Sedwill must ensure that his role is not used to excuse inappropriate ministerial decisions. I am very concerned that this letter took a month to produce and answers few of the questions raised.
“This is not the only area where questions have been raised about whether Ministers are using public resources for political purposes in the run up to an election. In these very unusual times, the Cabinet Secretary must be more vigilant than ever”.