POLICE officers expressed “derision” yesterday towards government plans to open up senior roles to civilians.
The Police Federation said that the Home Office launched a consultation last week “which could see business leaders, army veterans and senior civil servants ultimately occupy the top jobs across all 43 forces in England and Wales.”
It follows Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s calls for “workforce reform” in the police in November.
Police Federation chair Steve White said that first-hand experience of policing was vital for the top jobs.
“There are already very talented senior officers in the service whose skills and experience fit the brief, or whose talents could be cultivated,” he said.
A recent survey by the College of Policing found barriers to recruitment, including the ability to adapt and the transparency and fairness of selection processes, which Mr White said needed to be overcome before any other changes.
And shadow home secretary Diane Abbott also called for caution.
She said: “There is a continuous need to modernise the police, making it more diverse and representative of society as a whole, but many able officers will now wonder whether their own career paths could be blocked.”
And Ms Abbott slated Tory cuts to policing, saying the party had broken its pledge to protect police funding in real terms.
“Neither the police nor the public will want to see people recruited from outside the service simply because of their willingness to implement further swingeing cuts.”