Controversial police pay reviewer Tom Winsor applies to become chief inspector of British police


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The Independent Online

The controversial champion of radical police reforms has set the stage for further conflict with rank-and-file officers by throwing his hat into the ring to become the chief inspector of the country’s forces.

Tom Winsor, a lawyer and the former rail regulator, is understood to be one of at least 12 people who have applied for the £200,000-a-year job as Britain’s most powerful independent reviewer of police tactics and performance. Mr Winsor declined to comment today when contacted by The Independent.

Mr Winsor has carried out two reviews into police pay and conditions which recommended changes to generous pension provisions, called for financial penalties for unfit officers and said that chief constables should be given the power of compulsory redundancies.

His two reports – which comes amid 20 percent cuts to police forces – infuriated some police leaders who claimed that they represented an attack on the bedrock of policing. However, some chief constables welcomed elements of his reports and the government has insisted that it will press on with its programme of reform.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, was given a rough ride last week at a meeting of the biggest police union the Police Federation, in part because of the Winsor recommendations.

Chairman Paul McKeever said today: “His total experience of policing is 40 or 50 days when working on recommendations in his review which we think are greatly flawed. We would be very concerned if he becomes inspector.”

The Home Office said that it was looking for an “inspirational leader” when the current chief inspector, Sir Denis O’Connor vacates the job at the end of July. It is the first time that candidates can come from outside of the police hierarchy.

At least two other chief constables are rumoured to be in the running, including Chris Sims the head of the West Midlands force which is trying to push through a highly-controversial £1.5 billion private-sector deal, and Sara Thornton, the highly-respected head of Thames Valley,

Mr Winsor today declined to say whether he had applied for the job. But he criticised members of the Police Federation for its treatment of Mrs May last week and said that this was a “government set on a programme of police reform”.