Clarke plan 'threatens traditional policing': Reform of the police service
Although concrete proposals have not yet been tabled, chief constables believe that Kenneth Clarke, the Home Secretary, is considering a radical package of reforms which could have a wide-ranging effect on policing. They say such changes would also affect changes to the criminal justice system likely to follow the report of the Royal Commission in June.
Among the ideas said to be favoured by Mr Clarke include replacing police authorities - currrently comprising two-thirds councillors and one-third magistrates - with centrally appointed boards, making the police wholly Home Office-funded instead of the current 50-50 local/national split, and merging some smaller forces.
John Burrow, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) and Chief Constable of Essex, told a press conference yesterday that Mr Clarke was 'a man in a hurry' and it was feared his plans could be announced within weeks. Acpo has now written to Mr Clarke seeking more consultation.
He said: 'These plans have been drawn up in the corridors of Queen Anne's Gate (the Home Office). We have not been involved.' Although Mr Clarke had announced an inquiry into police pay, nothing similar had been launched over structure.
The Home Office is committed to legislation in 1993-4 to incorporate both the work of the present Royal Commission on Criminal Justice and the Sheehy inquiry into pay. The changes under consideration by the Home Office must now be at an advanced stage.
'We are making this stand to get our proposals on to the agenda,' Mr Burrow said. 'We are not opposed to certain changes, but we are concerned about the extent and timing.'
Centrally appointed boards and 100 per cent central funding would alter the public perception of locally accountable policing: 'It will be a question of who pays the piper, calls the tune.'
The appointment of businessmen to the boards could have wider implications; such people were more likely to be concerned about value for money rather than the quality of policing. The amalgamation of forces should also be carried out on a more logical basis than simple force strengths or population areas.
David Shattock, Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset, said after the press conference: 'At the moment, we are implementing many internal reforms such as devolving power to local commanders. When the Royal Commission reports, there will be changes as a consequence of that which will be in response to genuine public concern. Are we to prejudice that by devoting all our resources to managing structural change at the same time?'
Amid reports of divisions in the Cabinet on the changes, Mr Clarke is due to meet John Major tomorrow, when it is believed the possible changes will be discussed. The Home Office emphasised yesterday that all proposals were still at an early stage and no firm decisions had yet been taken.
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 4 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...