'Rambo' takes over jail role from Tumim

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The Independent Online

Home Affairs Correspondent

General Sir David Ramsbotham - nicknamed "Rambo" - has been appointed to replace Judge Stephen Tumim as Chief Inspector of Prisons.

The former army adjutant general (the army equivalent of the head of personnel but one of its top jobs), he is the second military man to be appointed to a key prison post and reflects the enthusiasm of Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, for employing those from the armed forces. Yesterday news of the appointment was met with scepticism by the penal- reform lobby. Nick Flynn, deputy director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: "Yet again an important position has been filled by someone with little or no experience of prisons." There were fears Mr Howard was anxious to appoint a less outspoken and independent inspector to replace Judge Tumim, who, one insider said, "had become a thorn in his side". But army sources suggested that if that was the case, Sir David was the wrong man. He is described as a no-nonsense individual who will report things as he sees them. He does not look like a Rambo figure, but his strength is in his incisive thinking and strategic planning, they said.