After a meeting with Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, John Burrow, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers and Chief Constable of Essex, said: 'I think we can work through with Home Office officials to come to an acceptable position regarding the Sheehy report.'
During the hour-long meeting, senior chief constables made it clear to Mr Howard that all Acpo's 250 members were opposed to many parts of the report, which recommends replacing the national index- linked pay award with a system of performance-related pay. It also proposes fixed- term contracts, the abolition of casual overtime and extending the retirement age.
Although afterwards Mr Burrows said Acpo felt parts of Sheehy's proposals for performance-related pay were 'unduly mechanistic' and would lead to a bureaucratic system of implementation, he made it clear that a compromise was possible.
Mr Burrow's stance will please Mr Howard, who will need the support of chief constables, who personally stand to benefit from 30 per cent bonuses, to introduce any measures. But lower-ranking officers, who are strongly opposed to the report, are likely to maintain a harder line, regarding most of its conclusions as untenable.