Foreigners could be allowed to run British police forces

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Senior police officers could be hired from other countries to run forces in England and Wales under government plans revealed last night.

A consultation paper for the Home Office said there should be no bar on foreign nationals becoming chief constables in this country if they were the best people for the job.

David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, is known to admire the "zero tolerance"policy operated in parts of the United States and could want the approach transferred to cities.

But the proposal is certain to run into fierce opposition from police in this country, who will argue that chief constables from overseas may not be sensitive to local problems.

The document, "Getting The Best Leaders to Take On the Most Demanding Challenges", also proposes performance-related pay for chief constables. Those in charge of policing urban areas could receive higher salaries than those in predominantly rural constabularies. Financial rewards could go to chief constables whose forces record falls in crime levels. The Home Office also recommends that senior officers should take up secondments in organisations outside of the police force to broaden their experience.

A Home Office spokesman said: "This project did not arise out of dissatisfaction with the people currently running the police service. It is very important for new ideas to be aired and discussed."

He said that the Home Office wanted to create "cultures and structures at the top of the service to enable them to lead the whole service and rise to the demands of policing in the 21st century".