Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Britain has a new supercop. Now all he needs is his mission


In a snapshot of modern policing, the new DG of the NCA (which replaces the SOCA and the NPIA) was in front of the HASC describing how the SRC would operate with the PP to interact with the PCCs.

Alun Michael said that last one usually stood for Parochial Church Councils. You do have to wonder whether – at the end of some giant acronymic confusion – you want the vicar kicking your door in. "Fear and surprise are the two great weapons of the Swinnerton Church Council!"

Keith Vaz's home affairs select committee has banned acronyms.

Keith Bristow is the new fellow running Britain's new super national police force. He doesn't know what he's going to be asked to do, nor how much money he's going to have to do it with. We do know he's making around £200,000 a year. The salaries in the public sector!

Is he, the chairman asked, a civil servant or a crime fighter, "a Sir Humphrey or Eliot Ness?" The answer to that question kept going one way and then the other. On the one hand he said he was an operational crime fighter who was going to make communities safe for real people, protecting people day after day in our capital. But on the other, he kept repeating it as though it was a positioning statement.

On the one hand, he wanted to start cutting crime now, even before his agency is formally "vested". On the other, he was cleverly elusive when he needed to be. He wasn't going to commit to better SOCA's appalling record of spending £15 for every £1 they seized from serious organised criminals.

He sounds like a man expert in committees – but he has what looks like a three-inch scar running down from his left eye. Maybe he's a crime fighter who is clever in committee. He offers to be judged on his results well before two years is up. So let's see.

His permanent secretary – the old school blue stocking, Dame Helen Ghosh – is setting up a central procurement agency for the police, an Argos catalogue with everything the police could want from paperclips to body armour. But, Michael Ellis said, there are regional differences in helmets. It seems some regions have officers with more cone-like heads than others. Still, big savings have to be made.

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