Saturday, 9 June 2012

Outsider as Chief Inspector of Constabulary

Mark Pack has drawn the analogy of newspaper people sitting in judgment on newspapers in the form of the press complaints council. The Independent today also supports the appointment of a "civilian". Moreover, it may be factually correct to say that all previous Chief Inspectors have had policing experience, but a look back will show that within living memory it was not uncommon for chief constables of county police forces to have been former army officers rather than policemen. It would be interesting to know whether any of them made it to CIC.

However, the appointment of Tom Winsor is troubling on two grounds. First, he was the author of a report which, while receiving a cautious welcome by politicians, has been largely condemned by the Police Federation. This is not going to make relations between politicians and police easy, as we move in to an era of elected police commissioners. Secondly, the Home Secretary had not thought fit to inform the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee of her decision in advance of the media release. Considering that the committee had been due to interview the preferred candidate next Tuesday (Independent report), this is disrespectful at best.

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