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Wycombe's top cop blasts Home Secretary's decision: "Policing deserves better than this"
5:36pm Friday 8th June 2012 in News
THE news that Tom Winsor, former lawyer and rail regulator, is the Home Office’s preferred candidate for the role of next Chief Inspector of Her Majesty Inspectorate of Constabulary has been greeted with anger by the Police Federation.
Home Secretary Theresa May, who made the controversial decision, also serves as MP for Maidenhead.
Here Wycombe’s Local Policing Area commander, Superintendant Gilbert Houalla, gives his own views on why he thinks the Home Office has made a mistake in its selection.
“There are those who would argue that policing in the UK should be left alone and spared the pains the public sector has experienced over the years, but I disagree. For many years I have been critical of our own police associations in part responsible for practices which are best left in the 70s. I am an experienced police commander in charge of a demanding local policing area and this government should be able to rely on me for support, unfortunately this is no longer the case.
“The appointment of Tom Winsor as Chief HMI is the straw that broke the camel’s back and this is why: “Policing is a serious business which relies on what I refer to as “non-negotiable” requirements. One is integrity, the other is operational competency. A selection process that compromises any of those in my opinion is at best reckless.
“I invite the Home Secretary to publish the competencies required for the post of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of policing, a post more than any other in policing critical in advising the Home Secretary on policing matters. Mr Winsor must have been able to demonstrate his competency in operational policing, over and above two other serving Chief Constables of very large, demanding and successful constabularies . What I am not sure about is how he managed to do that; he is a lawyer for a rail company. If the Home Secretary chose political expedience above the security and safety of her own citizens, then it is unforgivable.
“Many would argue that it is unwise if not career ending for me as a serving police officer to be so critical of the Home Secretary and they would normally be right, but what is happening here is far from normal. Policing deserves better than this.
“At the end of the day those who will ultimately suffer from any bad decision is the public, the same public that we have sworn to serve without fear or favour.”
A statement from the Home Office this week said: "Tom Winsor has been named as the preferred candidate for the role of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary. He will appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee before the appointment goes to the Prime Minister and the Queen for approval.”
The Home Office declined to comment further at this time.