Leading article: Why a civilian should police the police

 

Share
Related Topics

That the Police Federation regards the nomination of Tom Winsor to be the next Chief Inspector of Constabulary as a "declaration of war", or at very least a provocation, will have come as no surprise to the Home Secretary. But that does not mean that Theresa May made her choice in order to pick a fight – more accurately, another fight – with the police. It might be that Mr Winsor is the best person for the job.

The Police Federation appears to have two main objections. The first is that Mr Winsor has never served as a police officer. The second is that he compiled a report on policing that the Federation did not like. Both might be seen by those who depend on the police for their own safety and that of their property – which is most of us – as positive recommendations. Two of the five current inspectors do not have a police background, so not to have pounded the beat is already no bar to appointment. And while a tendency to introspection and resistance to change is hardly unique to the police, it does seem particularly ingrained here. An outside eye has merit. The fact that the Police Federation was so upset by his report suggests that it touched some nerves.

Assuming he is confirmed in the post, Mr Winsor would be wise to tread carefully at the start – but not so carefully that the desire to bring change that he shares with the Home Secretary is dulled. The relatively small proportion of police who are on the streets at any one time, poor standards of physical fitness, outmoded shift patterns and the piling up of expensive overtime are all issues that should have been addressed even before the economic climate made cost-cutting urgent.

A refrain heard from the Police Federation yesterday was that no government would dream of recruiting a non-military person to oversee the armed forces. In fact, the appointment of Bernard Gray, a former businessman and journalist, to be the civil servant in charge of weapons procurement was a move in that very direction. Given the Ministry of Defence's record of multibillion cost overruns, putting a civilian in charge of more aspects of the military might be no bad thing.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary Teachers needed in Ely

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teacher needed in the Ely ar...

Teaching Assistant to work with Autistic students

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education Leicester ...

KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: KS2 Teacher needed in Peterborough a...

SEN Learning Support Assistant

£70 - £75 per day: Randstad Education Group: SEN Learning Support Assistants n...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The appearance of Miguel Arias Canete at a Brussels hearing last Wednesday caused 100,000 people to sign a petition to prevent his appointment  

TTIP is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the EU's suspect relationships with corporations

Lee Williams
 

Being catcalled, groped and masturbated at is a common part of the female experience

Bryony Beynon
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain