Chief constable quits in protest at plans for elected commissioners

Plans for elected police commissioners suffered a setback yesterday when a chief constable resigned in protest over the scheme.

Tony Melville, who has headed Gloucestershire Police for two years, has also been a fierce critic of cuts to his budget, warning they have left his force on a "cliff-edge".

Elections for commissioners to oversee 41 forces in England and Wales will be held in November. Holders of the posts will set force budgets and be able to hire and fire chief constables.

Mr Melville, who will step down next month, said: "Policing does need to change and... we have transformed our approach in Gloucestershire. However, I have grave concerns about some elements of the current police reform agenda, especially the election of Police and Crime Commissioners."

His decision to quit comes three months after he protested over a squeeze that has required his force to slash its £103m budget by £24m, with further cuts to come. It has sold 13 police stations, replacing some with "police-points" in community buildings. He said then that Gloucestershire was "potentially in the middle of the perfect storm" as cuts have "combined to take us to a metaphorical cliff edge".

He added: "Never before in my 34 years of policing have I experienced an issue which has galvanised staff and officers in the way this has."

The Police Federation, the body which represents the rank-and-file officers, said yesterday that it was not surprised by the resignation.

Police Federation chairman Paul McKeever said: "It reflects the mood within the service and the views being expressed privately to us by many senior officers who are deeply concerned about the future of British policing."

A Home Office spokeswoman said the new commissioners would give the public "a stronger voice in the fight against crime while protecting the operational independence of chief constables".

She said that ministers had worked closely with police chiefs to address their concerns over the initiative.

But David Hanson, the shadow policing minister, said the plans were "wasteful and flawed". He said: "Holding policing elections in November is extremely unwise. Turnout will be lower, making it easier for extremists or minority candidates to get in."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £38,000

£22000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role is a mixture of office...

Recruitment Genius: Web Hosting Support Agent

£17100 - £20900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Health & Safety Support Tutor

£19000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Legal Assistant

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests