Police chiefs to confront Howard on pay issue: 'United' opposition by senior officers to Sheehy report proposals

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The Independent Online
A DELEGATION of senior chief constables is to meet Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, today to express the mounting opposition of the police service to the Sheehy report on police pay and responsibilities.

All 250 members of the Association of Chief Police Officers are said to be opposed to key elements of the proposals on performance-related pay, fixed-term contracts and the abolition of casual overtime, despite personally benefiting from potential bonuses of 30 per cent. An ACPO source said: 'I do not believe you will find any of our members willing to support Sheehy.'

At the weekend, Paul Condon, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, who was believed to be privately in favour of parts of Sheehy, warned Mr Howard that the 'draconian' recommendations would undermine the office of constable and could make his own position untenable.

Sources suggest anger among chief constables has mounted as the implications of its 270 recommendations have been digested; they are particularly concerned that low pay levels for probationers will hit recruitment. Senior officers were also said to have been annoyed by the dismissive attitude of Sir Patrick Sheehy, the inquiry head and chairman of BAT Industries, when he addressed them in Birmingham this month.

Leading the delegation to the Home Office will be John Burrow, president of the association and Chief Constable of Essex, and John Hoddinott, the Chief Constable of Hampshire. The Home Office said Mr Howard expected to do 'more listening than talking' and emphasised more discussions would be needed before it was made clear which elements of Sheehy were going to be incorporated into the autumn's Police Bill.

Sir Patrick yesterday defended his position in two national newspapers. He said criticism that performance-related pay proposals could be based on simple factors like arrests was misguided; he said it would require 'skill' to develop proper assessment systems.