Running the police

August 02, 2011, 11:27 PM GMT+0

Two thirds of British people oppose the idea that it should be possible to recruit police chiefs from other countries, our poll has discovered.

  • 66% of British people oppose the proposal that it should be possible to recruit police chiefs from other countries
  • While just 20% support the suggestion
  • However, 58% of people would support a plan to open the senior ranks of the police force to recruits ‘from other walks of life’
  • While 24% would oppose such a reform

Following the still-ongoing phone hacking scandal, the Metropolitan Police’s head of counter-terrorism John Yates and the Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson both handed in their resignations, sparking a reshuffle at the top.

Prime Minister David Cameron told the House of Commons that rebuilding the leadership of Scotland Yard needed to involve a broader look at Britain’s policing.

Police system ‘too closed’

Late last month Cameron told the House of Commons: ‘At the moment the police system is too closed. There is only one point of entry into the force. There are too few – and arguably too similar – candidates for the top jobs… I want to see radical proposals for how we can open up our police force and bring in fresh leadership.

‘Why shouldn't someone with a different skill-set be able to join the police force in a senior role?’ he asked. ‘Why shouldn't someone, who has been a proven success overseas, be able to help turn around a force at home?’

Different legal system

Vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales Simon Reed questioned the Prime Minister’s suggestions. ‘We… have an entirely different legal system in this country to that used overseas and it is imperative that senior officers and leaders in policing have a real working knowledge of it.’

The suggested change to allow a foreign police chief would require a substantial change in legislation, as it is currently illegal for police officers to be overseas citizens.