Ex-Met chief Lord Stevens to lead Labour police review


Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper claimed Tony Blair was right on crime, hours after Ed Miliband distanced himself from the former PM

A "heavyweight" independent review of policing in England and Wales is to be set up by Labour and led by former Metropolitan Police chief Lord Stevens.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said ministers' reforms to the service were "piecemeal" and "cack-handed".

She also told the Labour conference David Cameron was taking a "reckless risk with the fight against crime" by cutting police budgets by 20%.

He "should be backing the police, not sacking them," she said.

The overall structure of the police service was last examined by a royal commission in 1962.

Successive governments have resisted requests by police leaders to set up a new one and Ms Cooper said Labour's review would be in place of it.

US expertise

She told the party's conference in Liverpool that ministers were introducing "chaos and confusion" to the police force.

"They promise less bureaucracy but they increase the forms officers have to fill," she said.

"They promise to professionalise the service, but then abolish the training to deliver it."

She argued that it was time "for a serious vision for the future of policing - building on the best of British and international policing. Including experts from here and abroad."

Start Quote

Never has it been more important to have a review”

End Quote Derek Barnett Police Superintendents Association

The review will be led by Lord Stevens, who retired as commissioner of the UK's largest police force in 2005. Since then he has led the Met's inquiry into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and the Football Association's investigation into alleged corruption within the sport.

Dr Tim Brain, a former chief constable of Gloucestershire Police, will also be on the panel, along with Kathleen O'Toole, a former police commissioner in the US city of Boston.

Ms Cooper said there was no fixed timetable for the review, but she wanted it to report back before the next general election in 2015.

She stressed that, while Labour would set it up, the review would be independent and her party would respond to its findings.

Derek Barnett, president of the Police Superintendents Association, said he "fully supported" the idea of a review.

"We've discussed and called for it for 10 years," he said. "Never has it been more important to have a review."

Paul McKeever, head of the Police Federation, said it was "a very good idea".

'Political context'

There are two reviews involving the police force currently under way - Tom Winsor's into pay and recruitment, and Lord Justice Leveson's judicial inquiry into phone hacking.

Former deputy chief constable of North Yorkshire police Peter Walker told BBC Radio 4's World at One he did not think Labour's move was the right one at the present time and said policing should "be kept non-political".

Lord Stevens Lord Stevens lead the Met Police's inquiry into the death or Diana, Princess of Wales

"This is really just placing the issue of policing in a political context by one political party," he said.

He said the timing was not right for a royal commission, because it would "cut across" the judicial inquiry and it would be better to wait until after the next election, when changes such as the new elected police commissioners would have been in place for three years.

Police forces in England and Wales are facing a 20% reduction in their funding over the next four years, with an estimated reduction in the number of offices of 16,000.

David Cameron has dismissed suggestions that following the recent riots the government should rethink the cuts and told a Commons committee they were "totally achievable without any reduction in visible policing".

But Ms Cooper accused the government of "getting it wrong" on crime and insisted "police numbers do matter".

She told the conference that the £100m earmarked for the introduction of police and crime commissioners in England and Wales should instead be spent on keeping on more than 2,000 extra constables, and suggested some could be spent on anti-gang initiatives.

"David Cameron's claim that the riots are the product of a broken society to me sounds like a form of surrender."

Ms Cooper said the Labour government had made some mistakes - efforts to introduce 90-day pre-trial detention for terror suspects was "never justified by the evidence".

But she said Labour should be proud of its successes, adding: "Tony Blair was right - tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime - because it worked."

Shadow justice minister Sadiq Khan, in his speech to conference, promised that a future Labour government would introduce a victims' law.

He said it would enshrine in statute the rights of bereaved families and ensure they were treated with "dignity and respect" at every stage of the criminal justice process.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Whatever all politicians say - surely they know, deep down, this is not the time to cut police numbers.

    In increasingly difficult times, the law-abiding majority will need them more than ever.

    We only hear about the 'bad' via media, so let's not forget about the majority of 'good' who deal with things we all hope never to encounter, or even imagine. Our police are there, so we don't have to.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Total Mass Retain
    They (La La Labour) had 13 years to implement policies but were too incompetent or busy on 'pie in the sky' ideas

    So you approve of Labour not honouring the manifesto commitments it made to the electorate, then? You approve of discrimination and animal cruelty?


    I would rather they spent their time on not bankrupting OUR country. Its about priority

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Independent review being led by an ex policeman from the Met.....Mmmm, oh and strange Ms. Cooper didnt get round to this essential work in 13 years when it would have meant something.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Police officers are very much like Politicians, in as much as, anybody who WANTS to be one should be denied the opportunity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    They (La La Labour) had 13 years to implement policies but were too incompetent or busy on 'pie in the sky' ideas (gay rights for 16 years olds, fox hunting, etc)"

    So you approve of Labour not honouring the manifesto commitments it made to the electorate, then? You approve of discrimination and animal cruelty?

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    I see the same number of police on the streets where I live now as I did when Labour were spending money they didn't have to increase their numbers. Just what were these extra police doing?

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Policing needs modernising. The present ConDem Govt just abitrarily administer cuts in a cavalier way, causing resentment within the Police and, more importantly, harming their positive achievements across the country. I want a strong, modern Police system, equipped to fight criminals on all fronts. Clearly, we are condemned, society is CONDEMned, to a weakened and less effective system. Review it

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    How long were you in government resisting all calls for a Royal Commision from the the rank and file officers?! We knew it was braking, why didn't you listen? So now you have nothing to do but dream you decide to do what was asked of you, lets hope you remember, with your American friends, that the Bristish Police Service is looked up too throughout the world. Glad to see Dr. Tim is there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    They (La La Labour) had 13 years to implement policies but were too incompetent or busy on 'pie in the sky' ideas (gay rights for 16 years olds, fox hunting, etc)
    Now, when they have no chance of any implementation, they in their deluded state that anyone will listen, apart from The Guardian, BBC and other lefties, get one of their boys to a review.
    A joke in 'government', a joke in opposition

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    The BNP may be a little too inclusive for my liking, what with claiming to stand for the Scotch and Welsh etc, but they alone seem to have the integrity needed to stand up for our country,

    This must be way the fantastically biased BBC constantly try and drag their names through the mud, congratulations you and your left wing minions should be sold off to Rupert Murdoch, you should be ashamed

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    What are they putting in the drinks at that conference?

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Criticism of Labour breaking promises - really! Do these comments mean that the other parties keep their promises. All parties break promises once elected. Labour have done their bit in bringing the country to its knees, but its easily forgotten that the previous Tory govnts did exactly the same. How have people subscribed to the coalition keeping promises? Such short term hypocritical memories!

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    10. Dancin Pagan The Mad Kiltie

    Great comment! How to turn a story about a Police Review into your favourite Jackanory on rich people in only one short paragraph!!!


  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    I would like to add a portfolio of 'evidence' toward this review, however my evidence of inefficient policing occurred during labour's term in office so what's the point? There needs to be a Royal Commission Review of the Police - party politics has too much to hide and cover up - no wonder we don't get anywhere. GSTQ. Royalty does have a purpose!

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Would this be the same Labour that, over the space of 13 years, gave more rights to the criminal than the victims, repeatedly ham strung the police by removal of authority (much like teachers by the way) and made prison's a holiday camp, in essence making effective detterants and policing even harder.

    Can't say i trust them when it comes to reviewing a film, let alone a nationwide police force.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Has she short-term memory loss? Was it not labour that spent 12 years dragging the country down! She can do & say what she likes, she has no power to enforce anything!

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    I don't like Labour for what they did over the Blair / Brown years. However I commend their Policing review. Tim Brain is a top man.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Yet another diversionary tactic to distract people from focussing on Labour's complete lack of honesty, integrity or common sense, while they fester, waiting for a new Leader to emerge.

    If Moribund and Balls want to focus on the Police, maybe they should explain exactly how they will police the "Fast Buck" culture.

    Exactly how do you differentiate Wealth Creators from Asset Strippers?

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    mmmmm an independent Police review lead by an ex-policeman. Not very independent ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Well Labour are nowhere near perfect but I think you've got a better chance of getting policies that are aimed at helping the "ordinary" person than the LibTories, who despite the spin are completely devoted to making the rich richer at every opportunity.


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