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 289.

    I checked the election odds online earlier. Labour now have the exact same odds as the Conservatives to win the next election. It's absolutely dumbfounding.

    As the old adage goes, "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I must be a Labour sympathiser".

  • rate this

    Comment number 288.

    You are kidding, right? What, pray, is the difference between a Tory bust and a Labour bust"

    OK, read my lips. a Tory B&B happens under a T O R Y government. A Labour B&B happens under a L A B O U R one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 287.

    You don't seem to get the fact that they operate as if they were objective truths, yet you can't tell me the source of this truth"

    Thomas Payne argued that the rights of man were conferred by nature and that codification of them in cahrters reduced them to mere "privileges". You may (or may not) have common ground with Payne but the basis of the thinking is 18C Entlightenment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 286.

    210.stan howard
    how come brown & labour get the blame for a world finacial crises.. beyond their control,
    250.David Horton
    ’Labour may have caused a deficit in the UK finances, but the GFC was done by the Banks.’
    WRONG! The UK’s BIG problem is UK Govt deficit/debt which Gordon Brown DID cause. We could weather the GFC so much better without the biggest debt since WW2!

  • rate this

    Comment number 285.

    " Pete
    So would you say the ECHR is being abused, ignored or misinterpreted TMR"

    I would say that the 46 other signatories of the ECHR (and other nations which have very similar constitutional rights) do not appear to have the same issues on its interpretation and implementation as we do here. Is that our fault (and can change it) or some other reason?

  • rate this

    Comment number 284.

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

    Perhaps she was actually visiting the area to offer her condolences, perhaps her constituancy is nearby, just like Peter Hain at the Welsh mine disaster a few weeks ago. Why does everyone have to be so synical.

  • rate this

    Comment number 283.

    No, they didn't. Lack of ECHR did not allow the Nazis to do what they want; their faulty constitution did."

    Prior to the HRA, could you enlighten us which part of the British constitution would have prevented the sorts of abuse of power seen in Nazi Germany? After all, the British parliament is sovereign and can enact whatever laws it sees fit. In theory it still can.

  • rate this

    Comment number 282.

    I agree with a lot that is being done to get us out of this mess but there are some things that should not be cut. Cutting the level of the police force even in "normal" times is not a particularly good idea but cutting them now with all that may be on the horizon with unemployment and poverty on the increase is a step too far. They are going to be needed more than ever over the next few years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 281.

    256. Jason Mead
    "if you listen to the speeches, 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"."

    You are kidding, right? What, pray, is the difference between a Tory bust and a Labour bust (other than the latest Labour bust has taken us deeper into the mire than any before, of any shade)?

    Jay u r too soft!

  • rate this

    Comment number 280.

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

    Yes, but its content informed the Founding Fathers of the constitutional protections they needed to enshrine in their Bill of Rights to "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity". I'm sure the Supreme Court has referred to it from time to time to help them with their rulings.

  • rate this

    Comment number 279.

    I was of the opinion that there was no difference between the terrible two, Labour and Tory: Both always get booted out for failing; their polices are now identical; and they share the same values (lack of). But this conference has illustrated a clear difference.
    Miliband's Labour is the party that booed Bliar.
    Cameron's Tories is the party that gave Bliar a standing ovation for his "achievments".

  • rate this

    Comment number 278.

    265 mofro
    Technically what caused the global financial crisis were high street banks (in the US) lending to people who not only couldn't afford the mortgage but couldn't afford the interest. They (the US banks) even arranged 3 year mortgage holiday's so people took out mortgages on the assumption prices would rise and they could sell and make a profit b4 3 years were up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    "259.The_Gambler "

    Constitutions of a country set constraints on what those who exercise power in a country can do, with or without a mandate. The HRA is now part of our constitution in the same was the the US Bill of Rights is in theirs. The main criticism of the ECHR is that (unlike the US constitution) the mechanism to change it is not well codified and exerciseable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    I know a senior Policeman & a CPS employee.

    Both say the courts are often too lenient.

    Repeat offenders keep on using up Police resource. Apart from the injustice of lame sentencing, it waste's Police time, as they chase the same people time & time again.

    The phrase 'the usual suspects' has a basis in fact!

    There must be some criminals where it would be cheaper to throw away the key! DO IT!

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    Hopefully he will start by listing all the policies, initiatives, targets introduced during the 13 years of Labour mis-rule and question the need for them one by one. That should take him quite a while.

    No, wait. He's being paid by Labour so surely the answer is already obvious - to return to the perfection that existed in 2010! Plastic policemen, sorry PCSOs et al

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    256 Jason Mead

    Good cop out - you must be a politician :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    Total Mass Retain

    So would you say the ECHR is being abused, ignored or misinterpreted TMR , as it is often used to protect those who would happily destroy us?

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    258.Total Mass Retain

    No, they didn't. Lack of ECHR did not allow the Nazis to do what they want; their faulty constitution did. The ECHR is not a constitution.

    Until you can tell me where these objective rights come from, I cannot accept they exist. You don't seem to get the fact that they operate as if they were objective truths, yet you can't tell me the source of this truth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    260.Total Mass Retain

    Oh and while we're at it, the DoI states that the 'truths' are 'self-evident'.

    Which is exactly what I keep telling you; rights are regarded as something objectively true, and the law only *recognises* their existence. It cannot create them. They are above the law.

    That is why they are considered to take precedent - because they're above the law. With no source.

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    According to Inspector Gadget the police station car parks are remarkably full between 9 and 5 M-F, with many spaces taken up with German made SMT "company" cars which the drivers avoid paying tax on because they fit them with well hidden blue lights.

    He also says the "diversity" teams at H.Q. are still full.

    Check out some of the top paying job titles at the Met. they are unbelievable!


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