Police chiefs warned by Condon to examine conscience on reforms: Metropolitan Commissioner expects compromise over Sheehy

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EACH chief constable should 'examine his conscience' before signing new contracts under the Sheehy proposals for the police, Paul Condon, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said yesterday.

At a press conference to launch the force's annual report for 1992-93, Mr Condon avoided responding to suggestions that he would consider his position rather than preside over the introduction of all the Sheehy recommendations, which include performance related pay and short-term contracts.

However, he made it clear that he expected some form of compromise.

In an interview on BBC Radio yesterday, Sir Patrick Sheehy said he suspected that his recommendations would be diluted, but he hoped they would not be.

Mr Condon said that while there were 'some very good recommendations' in the report, he was concerned that the cumulative effect of the package would undermine the status of constables and sergeants. But he said he was confident that after consultations with the Home Office, 'sensible measures of reform' would be achieved.

Pressed on whether he would resign rather than accept all of Sheehy, Mr Condon said: 'At some stage, each chief officer will have to examine his own conscience to see whether he can live with the package of reforms.' He said officers were 'desperately unsettled . . . they need to know that yes, there's going to be change, but that the changes will be fair.'

The report disclosed that crime in London in 1992-93 remained static at about 944,000 incidents, ending five years of increase.

Some of this was due to a drop of 3,000 in the number of reported burglaries between April 1992 and March 1993, down more than 1 per cent over the previous year.

Mr Condon said this was largely due to Operation Bumblebee, the force's intensive anti-burglary initiative which targets known offenders. Yesterday, in the second sweep in two months, 1,500 officers raided 440 addresses around London, arresting more than 300 people.

The crime figures also showed an 11 per cent increase in sex offences, but a fall of 23 per cent in the number of arrests. Mr Condon said this was compensated for by the 20 per cent increase in detections.

Mr Condon said he was concerned about the 15 per cent overall reduction in arrests, which he said could be due to the reduction in the crime rate increase as well as the deterrent effect on police of more paperwork.

The force's overall detection rate, the lowest in the country, also fell 3 per cent and the number of 'true' crimes solved - by charge, summons or caution - went down 15 per cent.

On terrorism, the report disclosed the number of incidents in England and Wales in 1992-93 was 121, the highest since 1974; 52 were in London. It also revealed that 21 tons of fertiliser explosives were seized during the year - a far higher figure than previously made public.

(Graphic omitted)