Winsor Called to the HMIC!
News broke this evening that Tom Winsor was the Governments preferred choice of candidate to be the next HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary)
Since the news broke twitter has gone crazy with many Police Officers voicing their concerns at the news. However the public appeared more guarded at the prospect. Could this be due to a lack of knowledge or the fact the Police service is still seen as a Government organisation?
What we thought we would do to clarify our standing on the issue was to first explain to all what the HMIC was responsible for.
Taken directly from the HMIC website
“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.” More can be read here
Who will Tom Winsor replace? It will off course be the outgoing HMIC Sir Dennis O’Connor’s. So how do they compare in relation to qualifications for the job?
Sir Denis O’Connor
Is Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary. Before he joined HMIC, he was Chief Constable of Surrey between 2000 and 2004.
Sir Denis began his career with the Metropolitan Police, eventually becoming Assistant Chief Constable in Surrey in 1991. He was later appointed the role of Deputy Chief of Kent, and then in 1997 took on the position of Assistant Commissioner in London, where he led the Metropolitan Police Service development strategy following the Stephen Lawrence Enquiry.
In 1996, Sir Denis was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal and later received a CBE in 2002 for his service to policing. He received a knighthood in 2010 in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Prior to becoming Vice President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in 2003, he chaired the ACPO Performance Management Business Area and led the piloting of the National Reassurance Policing Programme; the pre-cursor to Neighbourhood Policing.
Over the years, Sir Denis has reviewed the fitness of the current police force structure, which resulted in the publishing of the 2005 report ‘Closing the Gap’. Other reviews undertaken during his tenure include ‘Intercepting Terrorism’; a review published in October 2006 on police capabilities for counter terrorism and the October 2008 Serious and Organised Crime Capability, ‘Getting Organised’.
Other significant analysis and reviews overseen by Sir Denis more recently include ‘The rules of engagement: A review of the August 2011 disorders’ and ‘A review of national police units which provide intelligence on criminality associated with protest’.
(Taken from the HMIC Website)
Tom Winsor on the other hand is a partner with city law firm White & Case, which he joined in July 2004 after five years as the UK’s rail regulator and international rail regulator. He was brought up in Broughty Ferry, Dundee and studied law at Edinburgh University. He qualified as a lawyer in 1981. (Taken from the Winsor Reports website)
It is fair to say that quite clearly Mr Winsor has demonstrably less experience in the Policing arena but should that prevent him being the next HMIC?
The next step is for the Home Affairs Select Committee to assess Mr Winsor’s suitability, if passed he then goes in front of the Queen for her assent.
However we are also reminded that he is due before Keith Vaz and the committee as he is still to answer questions on his 2nd Report. Is this relevent?
How would a member of the public fit into this role? Never before has a member of the public taken on such a role but as the Government keep repeating these are challenging times and as we know challenging times require superb leaders. The question then arises has Mr Winsor done enough to secure his leadership standing in this role?
This appointment will only be seen by many Police Officers as payback for the treatment of the Home Secretary at the Police Federation Conference last month and pay reward for his fronting of their ideology and likely to go onto receiving a knighthood.
Let us also remember Winsor’s employers White & Case act for the Government / G4S which the Home Secretary is now using to back fill the 16,000 Police Officer and thousands more Police Staff jobs left behind from her imposed 20% cuts. This and the Governments involvement in privatising the Police Service can be read and explained in greater detail here (Our thanks to Ian Godfrey for this link)
All this with little or no proper Police or Public Consultation.
It is then unlikely he has shown the leadership required for such a role.
Now we know not one Police Officer who is against Police Reform but for peat sake let’s have the proper consultation processes in place. Many rank & file Officers have good award winning ideas based on real people in real communities which haven’t been tapped into with the writing of David Cameron’s proposals. Oh yes I haven’t mentioned he wrote them in 2006 for a speech he gave. Many members of the Public also have ideas on how Policing should look in the future.
This situation of forced change without consultation cannot be allowed to continue. Police Officers have spent decades working to break down community barriers for Government now in 2012 to build them up.
It’s a total disgrace.
Regarding Winsor as HMIC we feel his appointment is purely to drive through Government proposals. Taking into account he has given little or no time to Public Consultation to date and the fact his ‘independent’ reports are still to be questioned within the Home Affairs Select Committee he has no grounding or leadership to become head of the HMIC.
He is most deffinately not the right person for the job.
We do believe a non-police person could take on the role but let’s see a good track record of public sector working as a minimum, one where there is a history of Public Consultation for starters.
We keep saying it but really, Public Consultation is key to Police Reform! Of course so is Consultation with Police Offers and Staff and other interested organisations.
It’s a rather arrogant deceitful Government that ignores this very simple fact!
“Protect Our Police wish to call on the Home Secretary Theresa May to immediately withdraw Mr Winsor from this process and elect a new candidate to replace him to restore any Public faith in the process.
Mr Winsor is not an independent transparent candidate and indeed he is proven to have associations with Government proposals to use G4S to back fill the 16,000 Police Officer and thousands more Police Staff jobs lost at the expense of Government 20% Cuts.
The Home Secretary has failed to acknowledge that the Police Service is a Public Service implemented with Public Consent. Government frequently remind Police Officers that they are “The best Police Service in the world” so we are at odds to question why you choose to reform in the ways you are.
Faith has to be restored in the Service for this Public Consent to remain and any new HMIC has to have a proven track record in Public Services. We fail to see how a Solicitor who has worked within a privatised Rail network provides this experience given his CV.
It is simply irresponsible and astonishingly arrogant to declare Mr Winsor as a preferred choice as HMIC to the point of provocation.
We again demand the Home Secretary instigates a proper Public and Police Consultation on Police Reform.
We will and have no issues in our next correspondence reminding the Queen for who we serve of these matters should there be no movement in this Political interference.”
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