Leading article: A conflict of interest in the police

It is hardly surprising that private companies hoping to win contracts with the police service are trying to sign up as many former officers as they can. Neither is there anything inherently wrong with them doing so: it is in all our interests, after all, that their expertise be put to use.

There are, however, two issues that must be resolved. One is the potential conflict of interest of an officer making decisions for their force in the knowledge that they are about to shift to a job in the private sector. With some police officers able to retire as early as 50, there must also be a question about the state paying a full pension to someone pursuing a lucrative second career in business by dint of their public sector experience.

At the very least, there should be a mandatory "cooling off" period for officers making the switch. And with the volume of private police work rapidly expanding, there is no time to waste.