MPs back controversial appointment of Tom Winsor as next chief inspector of constabulary

 

Home Secretary Theresa May's controversial choice of a lawyer as the next chief inspector of constabulary has won the support of MPs.

The appointment of Tom Winsor, who carried out the most wide-ranging review of police pay and conditions in more than 30 years, to the £200,000-a-year role will now be sent to Prime Minister David Cameron and the Queen for approval.

But Labour MP David Winnick, who clashed with Mr Winsor during his pre-appointment hearing before the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday, voted against the appointment.

"He is going into the job of chief inspector, as the first non-police officer to hold the post in 156 years, against a background where there is so much hostility amongst the vast majority of police officers to what he has recommended," Mr Winnick said.

"The question is does Mr Winsor have the necessary conciliatory approach to meeting that opposition.

"I have considerable doubts as to whether he will be conciliatory enough to recognise the very strong feelings held by police officers about his recommendations, which will in their view adversely affect their pay and conditions."

Keith Vaz, the committee's chairman, said the MPs were "content for the Home Secretary to proceed with the appointment of Tom Winsor".

"We urge Mr Winsor to reach out to forces, police officers of all ranks and their representative bodies to build bridges," he said.

"He must create a strong relationship with forces and with police and crime commissioners."

But the committee said the appointment of a non-police officer raised "significant questions" about who will act as the principal adviser to the Home Secretary on policing matters.

Mr Winsor has been widely criticised over his two reports on police pay and conditions, and many critics have questioned his experience for the role.

But yesterday Policing Minister Nick Herbert said Mr Winsor was the victim of an unacceptably personal and disgraceful campaign.

He denied the selection was a deliberate move to antagonise rank-and-file officers and said the Anti-Winsor Network was "in essence a campaign against changes to pay and conditions".

But some sections of policing went too far, unfairly attacking Mr Winsor's integrity, using inappropriate language and questioning his independence.

Mr Winsor, 54, is expected to take over at Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in September.

PA

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