By Gerald Heneghan
Police in England and Wales are facing the possibility of a radical shake-up that would allow forces to recruit senior officers from outside the service.
Home secretary Theresa May is set to outline proposals today (January 30th), and the move could see business leaders and military officers recruited directly into senior positions.
Commenting on the plans, police minister Damian Green acknowledged the recent success of forces in the UK, but claimed things could be done better.
“There is no organisation in the world that cannot get better and it must be the case that if you widen the pool of talent, then you will get even better policing in this country,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
A proposal to enable senior police officers from abroad to transfer into high-level posts is also expected to be included in a consultation document.
However, many in the service have criticised the proposals. Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, responded to a Daily Mail article on the issue of employing US ‘supercops’, stating:
“The point I make in respect of applying the US experience of gangs to Britain is that it is overly simplistic not to recognise the two situations are very different.”
Under current recruitment practices, it tends to take more than two decades for new constables to work their way into senior positions and this is thought to put off people from other sectors from joining.
The recommendations expected to be unveiled by the home secretary are based on a review by former rail regulator Tom Winsor.
In a report published last year, he detailed the possibility of compulsory annual fitness tests and pay rises for linked to performance.
Image used courtesy of dutourdumonde / Shutterstock.com.