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 269.

    No The Gambler. You are NOT "right".

    You have a right to believe you are correct, but it is an opinion you hold, and therefore cannot be factually correct.

    I happen to disagree with your opinion, but that neither makes me right or wrong, merely an individual who holds a different belief.

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    " The_Gambler
    So where did they come from, who decided what they are, and why exactly is their opinion worth more than mine?"

    They were drafted by British and other international lawyers after WW2 in response to the abuses of democratic mandate seen before and during it. As they are more qualified in jurisprudence than you or I, I will take more note of their opinion than yours.

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    260.Total Mass Retain

    Last I checked, the DoI is not a legal document, as I'm sure you know.

    Please don't do that. Don't use a glorified letter to answer a simple philosophical problem: WHERE do these entirely undemocratic rights come from?

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    235.stan howard
    "I am convinced that at least 3 contributers to the comment pages are the same person using a different email"

    I'm sure there are some contributors with multiple signs-on.

    Come on, Stan, name n shame em

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    250.David Horton
    May I again?
    Thank you
    Because they didn't cause it

    May I join in
    The Labour Party may have casued a deficit in the UK finances, but neither they nor the Tories caused the Global Financial Crisis. This was done by the Global Banking industry.
    Thank you

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    Jason Mead"No, if you listen to the (many) speeches in which he (Gordon B) said this, the phrase "boom and bust" was always qualified with the word "Tory". The boom and bust under his watch was not a "Tory boom and bust".

    Aha,, the wrong kind of snow et al !!

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    252.Total Mass Retain
    "And if she'd not been there you and others would have been lining up to criticise her."

    Err, no actually. Well, not I, anyway. I am quite happy that she makes a public comment, but why, for example, did she have to appear with a backdrop of the mine (as I understand it)?

    Again, will she (or her parliamentary chums) appear at the next industrial fatality? I suspect not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    Id be happier to see a better selection of people who could carry out this review. Mr's Stevens and Brain were people who are responsible for the way the Police have been sent in its recent history. I wonder what comments would be made by Geoffrey Dear, Im sure he would make a great deal more sense.

    Get rid of the grievance procedure and restore discipline might be a start, but alas not possible

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    246.Total Mass Retain

    "You call them privileges if it makes you feel better."

    And you call them rights if it makes you feel better. But I'm still right, and you're still wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    JULY 4, 1776:

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...."

  • rate this

    Comment number 259.

    246.Total Mass Retain

    No, we haven't established rights, for the very reason that there can be no legitimate basis for doing so.

    Who determines which rights exist? After all, a 'right' essentially limits democratic freedom; it is something you can't democratically vote against.

    So where did they come from, who decided what they are, and why exactly is their opinion worth more than mine?

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    If the ECHR didn't exist, and the law I proposed was democratically passed, then what would your argument be?"

    We know exactly what the consequences would be as Nazi Germany did precisely that. Which is why the ECHR was established in the first place to impose constraints of state tyranny, democratically mandated or otherwise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    Cameron wants to make at least 16,000 police officers redundant. A couple of months ago that number had to be drafted in to help quell riots that were the result of this Government's inability to govern correctly. What happens at the next riots? Special Counstables voluntarily putting their lives on the line for no pay? No way. I'm not a labour supporter but a proper review needs to take place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    Just my thoughts but GB did claim to solve the boom and bust cycle"

    No, if you listen to the (many) speeches in which he said this, the phrase "boom and bust" was always qualified with the word "Tory". The boom and bust under his watch was not a "Tory boom and bust".

  • rate this

    Comment number 255.

    192.Darren Shepperd
    funny how every time you try to mark down the selfish it stays the same yet try to mark up those who support common good and it also stays the same. seams the BBC are fixing everything today
    There are one or two other people reading this and maybe not everyone agrees that Labour is in any way for the 'common good'
    Try 'Labour' and 'pointless' if you want positive scores

  • rate this

    Comment number 254.


    Yes , I do with regret have to admit the list of politicians and indeed civil servants who have lied to us is endless. I think we can widen thagt a bit and at the same time return to the topic of policing. Many senior officers have become very political and rely on spin rather than substance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 253.

    240.Total Mass Retain

    Yes it will be struck down by that superceding document of law. Not because they really are rights, but because that document exists, and takes precedence.

    If the ECHR didn't exist, and the law I proposed was democratically passed, then what would your argument be?

    Again, it would reduce to, "but it's a right", and you'd be in the same position.

  • rate this

    Comment number 252.

    No, I still think her motive was more photo opportunity, than empathy."

    And if she'd not been there you and others would have been lining up to criticise her. As it stands, whatever her feelings as a human being are which none of us can guess, she is torn on such occasions between pandering to these competing sources of criticism. The right answer being doing what she just did.

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    210.stan howard
    42 Minutes ago
    Quite right Stan. Labour have never misrepresented or blamed anyone for anything.
    Time for your medicine mate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    210.stan howard
    "how come gordon brown and labour got and get the blame for a world finacial crises completely beyond their controol,"


    May I?
    They are blamed because they caused it.


    "yet the tories and george osborne get none for a similar world financial crisis that is completely beyond their control ?"


    May I again?
    Thank you
    Because they didn't cause it


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