Letter: Letter: Reforming macho police culture

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Sir: It is apparent from your disturbing article that a police force which is guilty of so many acts of discrimination and sexual harassment against its female officers is in need of major reorganisation. It is essential that the police should set high standards of behaviour, both to maintain morale in the force and to win the respect of the public, especially as the last government greatly extended police powers in a way which seriously threatens our basic liberties.

Although it is essential if liberty is to be preserved in this country that a proper constitution and a Bill of Rights should be introduced, we clearly require, on the grounds of efficiency, a national police force to cope with serious crime and terrorism and to ensure high ethical and educational standards. Having 43 separate police forces prevents much- needed reforms.

A nationally organised police force would and should be responsible to a minister. Local quangos cannot exercise sufficient control over the "guardians of the law" who are not in practice accountable to any elected body or open to independent inquiry and who, it seems, are deeply infected by pseudo-macho yobbishness.

DAVID J POWELL

Whitstable, Kent

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