Tories unveil plan to kick out bad police officers

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Indy Politics

Underperforming police officers could be sacked more easily under plans set out by Tory leader David Cameron today.

Mr Cameron called for modern employment contracts so bad officers could be kicked out of the force.

He said the performance of the police had not improved in line with the money poured into the service.

He said you could not be tough on crime unless you were also tough on police reform.

Mr Cameron said that meant police pay and conditions must be modernised to ensure better performance. He also promised that a Tory government would make police forces more accountable to local communities.

In a speech at Dalston Youth Project in Hackney, east London, Mr Cameron said it was vital to ensure local flexibility for police pay and conditions.

He said officers tended to be paid according to their length of service or seniority rather than in relation to their skills and performance.

He also called for a reform of police pensions so people could join and leave the force at the right time and the right level.

He said it was wrong that police who had given good service, and for whom it would be better if they moved on, had a huge incentive to wait around until 30 years' service was up.

He also said the issue of the large number of officers kept on restricted duties but on full pay through sickness must be tackled.

Mr Cameron said pay and conditions must be reformed to insist that policing was a full-time occupation and officers should not have second jobs.

Mr Cameron said the public currently has very little real say over how policing is conducted.

He said that rather than police chiefs answering to central government, he wanted them to be formally accountable to local communities.

He pledged to scrap the national policing plan and all associated apparatus of central control. He said the Tories would ensure the police maintain operational independence but local politicians would be able to set strategic objectives for the police and ensure they were met, with the ultimate sanction of being able to hire and fire the chief constable.

He said there were various options for achieving such local accountability - police authorities could be directly elected, they could be replaced by a directly-elected police commissioner, or elected mayors could fulfil the role.

Mr Cameron said: "The essential principle is that voters should have a direct relationship with the person or body who appoints the chief constable matched by a direct and transparent funding arrangement, so that people can judge the effectiveness of the policing they are paying for."