The man the Government has chosen to be the new Chief Inspector of Constabulary inflamed the row over his selection yesterday by attacking the outdated "mindset" of some officers.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has named Tom Winsor as her candidate for the post – a decision that has provoked protests among rank-and-file officers.
Mr Winsor has produced two reports for Ms May in which he advocated wide-ranging reforms to police pay and conditions, including raising the retirement age and sweeping away their complex system of allowances. He said his proposals were designed to attract more high-flying recruits to the service.
"For too long policing has been unfairly regarded by many as an occupation of an intellectually largely undemanding nature, with more in common with blue-collar workers who clock-in and clock-out," Mr Winsor told a conference in London.
"Policing today is entirely different. The attitudes of some police officers remain fastened in that mindset and I believe that is holding them back. If policing is to become the profession it deservedly should be, police officers must come to think of themselves not as the blue-coated workers of the past but practitioners of a profession which requires skills and attitudes which are distinctly above those of factory workers."
He said policing had to be reformed so "all men and women of intelligence and good character consider a policing career on a par with law, medicine, the clergy, the armed and security services, finance and industry". Mr Winsor said the service had not been substantially reformed since 1978 and was still based around a 1920s structure.
Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said he was concerned that a chief inspector without direct police experience could not provide advice on sensitive operational decisions, such as terrorism.