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Tom Winsor for Chief Inspector of Constabularies – Yay!

Posted on the 08 June 2012 by Minimumcover @minimumcover

If the Winsor Report was the final nail in the coffin of modern Policing, then that nail has just been gold-plated in a further demonstration of the unashamed nepotism that exists within the Government. I refer to the announcement that Police Minister Nick Herbert has recommended your friend and mine, Tom Winsor, for the role of Chief Inspector of Constabularies replacing Sir Dennis O’Connor, previously the Chief Constable of Surrey Police.

Tom Winsor for Chief Inspector of Constabularies – Yay!

Not content with destroying the morale and financial security of tens of thousands of Police Officers, Winsor now appears to be in line for one of the most influential positions in Policing. His appointment would mean he headed up the agency responsible for reviewing the performance of the territorial Police Forces in England and Wales as well as others such as the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and HMRC and is now only conditional upon gaining the approval of the Home Affairs Select Committee. Success would mean the appointment of the first person to the role who has no direct Policing experience and would be a shining example of Winsor’s very own quest to allow recruitment of those with a non-Police background into key Police roles.

‘Plans for reform are rushed and lack detail’

The Chairman of the HO Select Committee, Keith Vaz, appeared to demonstrate a modicum of common sense when he called for a slow-down in the rate of reform being proposed for the Police Service in a statement last November. He stated that the plans were rushed and lacked detail and expressed concerns over the proposed dismantling of agencies such as the NPIA and SOCA which is also, very conveniently, under the control of HMIC. Whilst these agencies have combined budgets in the region of £950,000,000 and therefore present a very attractive target for the Government bean counters, Vaz stated that he was concerned about the fact that there appeared to be no clear plans for what would replace them. Let us hope that this common sense rolls on into the HMIC selection process…although I am not holding my breath

I would also hope that recent public displays of discontent by 35,000 Police Officers in the capital, would be in the back of Vaz’s mind when he and his colleagues consider Winsor’s appointment. Reform has clearly NOT slowed in pace or increased in detail and the appointment of Winsor into this role, in my opinion, raises the threat to Policing to a higher level than ever before. I refer him to the wording on the front page of the HMIC website which states:

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) independently assesses police forces and policing activity ranging from neighbourhood teams through serious crime to the fight against terrorism – in the public interest.

The two key phrases in this statement are ‘independently’ and ‘in the public interest’. Both of which appear to be completely at odds with the recent activities of Winsor. His two-part reforms are widely considered to be far from ‘in the public interest’ and his proposals for privatisation of many aspects of the Police service have also been shown to be questionable as far as his independence is concerned. It has been known for some time now that Winsor is a senior partner at White & Case – the very firm who advised G4S (expected to take on much of the private work created by Winsor) on their £200m deal with Lincolnshire Police. Perhaps G4S could take over SOCA….

Fereation Chairman, Paul McKeever, has responded to the announcement by saying:

When you look across the police service there are so many people with real experience and real understanding – a profound understanding – of policing, we don’t know why the government has chosen a commercial lawyer

Other candidates included a number of Chief Constables and others with experience of Policing. One former Chief Constable (Tim Brain who once headed the Gloucester Force) has referred to the announcement as ‘hugely provocative’ and demonstrated the Government’s contempt for Police leadership.  He continued by saying, as I am sure many of us were already thinking, that ‘we shouldn’t be surprised’.

In other news:

I see that many of you have now received the long-awaited Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal. Some from your respective ACPO representative and some from a box in the admin office. What I think speaks volumes is the number of them that are already cropping up on a well-known auction site. Some are fetching upwards of £300 in auction which, although it off-sets a few months of pension increases, shows a more worrying attitude.
A medal, to me, is something to be proud of. It is a demonstration of service to Queen and country and on another level, it is representative of the ultimate personal price paid by some in the line of duty. The fact that some are willing to sell these personally issued medals to the highest bidder demonstrates how far the value placed on Policing has been eroded in recent years. The constant attacks on the service by Winsor and others coupled with the breaking apart of the service for the purpose of privatisation will only accelerate this process.

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