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."
- 1 Kermit the Frog has a new girlfriend named Denise
- 2 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 3 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The one chart that shows how George Osborne is almost certainly going to be our next Prime Minister
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
£22000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role is a mixture of office...
£17100 - £20900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...
£19000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...