Police chief jobs open to overseas cops under new plans
Police service faces most radical shake-up of recruitment system in more than 180 years
THE GOVERNMENT has unveiled plans to allow foreign police chiefs to run forces in England and Wales, despite criticism from police officers across the country.
In a statement to MPs today, Policing Minister Damian Green announced plans to bring in chief constables from countries with a similar legal framework and policing model to the UK, such as the US or Canada.
He also revealed plans to recruit officers directly to the rank of superintendent and fast-track officers to the rank of inspector. Currently all police officers must start as a police constable and work their way up.
The BBC says the introduction of the scheme, which would see at least 20 police superintendents and 80 fast-track inspectors recruited next year, will bring to an end 180 years of tradition of bobbies starting their career on the beat.
It will also "bring to an end the policing version of the closed shop", according to Green.
"This will open up policing to bright and talented people from all walks of life who are seeking a new challenge," he wrote in yesterday's Sunday Times.
The plans to recruit chiefs from abroad would also open the way for senior foreign officers such as Bill Bratton, the former New York police chief, to take over British police forces. This particular proposal was opposed during the consultation period by the three main associations representing police officers of all ranks: the Police Federation of England and Wales, the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales, and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).
They argued that there is enough talent within UK police forces, that UK policing experience is crucial to running a force, and that the UK policing culture has a more restrained use of force than many other countries, such as the US.
ACPO today conceded that the police service has "nothing to fear" from direct entry. But the Police Federation, which represents officers to the rank of chief inspector, has strongly opposed the policy, and today reiterated its view. "To command a policing operation effectively, a senior officer needs first-hand experience of responding in an operational capacity to incidents they would not encounter in any other walk of life," said its vice chairman Steve White.
Chief Superintendent Irene Curtis, president of the Superintendents' Association, has said that direct entry creates "unnecessary risks". ·