Theresa May: Ministers 'not picking fight' with police over Winsor appointment


Theresa May: "There has been a proper process"

Related Stories

Ministers are "not picking a fight" with police by appointing an outsider as Chief Inspector of Constabulary for England and Wales, Theresa May said.

The Police Federation has criticised the choice of lawyer Tom Winsor - the author of a controversial review on police pay - for the important role.

The home secretary said Mr Winsor had "not been plucked out of thin air" and had been chosen in a "proper process".

The constabulary should be independent of ministers and police, she added.

Mr Winsor, formerly the rail regulator, will appear before the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee before his appointment is finally approved.

'Shine a light'

The committee will meet when Parliament returns on Monday to decide on a day for the hearing.

While the committee does not have the power to veto the appointment, its chairman - Labour MP Keith Vaz - has written to the home secretary to express his concerns about the timing of the announcement and to say more time is needed to consider the matter.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary

 Police officers
  • Responsibility for police forces and organisations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Carries out inspections and publishes reviews and recommendations
  • Also inspects and regulates bodies such as the Serious Organised Crime Agency and HM Revenue and Custom

Source: HMIC

Mr Winsor, 54, would be the first person who has not served as a police officer to take up the role since Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) was first established in 1856, opponents claim. He would replace Sir Denis O'Connor, who retires at the end of next month.

It is understood that in the final shortlist of candidates Mr Winsor was the only one with a non-police background.

Official procedure

The appointment has been questioned by the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers and the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales, which said someone with "profound understanding" of policing was needed.

Mrs May would not be drawn on their comments and defended the appointment, which was made after she and policing minister Nick Herbert interviewed the main candidates.

"We are not picking a fight with anybody," she told the BBC's Andrew Marr show. "We did not just pluck Tom Winsor out of thin air. There has been a proper process under civil service rules."

She said HMIC had become more "independent" under Sir Denis O'Connor and its role would continue to change in future - including it reporting to Parliament rather than ministers.

"I think it is right that the body whose job it is to shine a light on policing and the police force should be independent of government and of the service," Mrs May added.

She acknowledged it was a difficult time for the police as there was "a lot going on at the moment" but she said ministers were determined to make it easier for them to do their job while increasing accountability through the election of the first crime commissioners later this year.

Controversial report

In his report into police pay and conditions last year, Mr Winsor called for the abolition of a series of allowances and special payments and for a pay system that recognised hard work and merit instead of long service.

He also recommended that officers on frontline duties should see their pay rise, and wanted a professional accreditation allowance of £1,200 to be introduced for most detectives, firearms, public order and neighbourhood policing teams.

The HMIC has increasingly been drawn into controversy as the political debate on cuts to police budgets has intensified.

In 2010, the HMIC suggested that a 12% funding cut was achievable, but going further risked damaging frontline policing in England and Wales.

Labour have accused the government of ignoring its advice and pushing ahead with 20% cuts over four years, saying it will result in thousands of fewer police officers.

But ministers insist changes to police practices and priorities will increase the number of hours officers spend fighting crime rather than on paperwork and administration.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 493.

    Do not know how much money the Government made in selling BT,British Gas,our Electricity and Water Authorities,our Railways and anything I have failed to mention.
    Our Police Service may well be next.
    Am sure there are some bad Public Servants.
    But there are far more very bad Politicians.They would sell their Granny.

  • rate this

    Comment number 492.

    Will Winsor wear Her Majesty's Uniform then?
    How very insulting if he does!. I suppose anything is possible these days, pin him a few medals on his uniform or else he will look out of place with other senior officers wearing their good conduct and long service medals with pride.

  • rate this

    Comment number 491.

    Quite clearly she is picking a fight.

    This appointment is nothing more than Politically motivated, she has this individual in here back pocket and appointing him she clearly has influence.

    This is a bad day for the Police, but a worse day for the Public.

  • rate this

    Comment number 490.

    Well beggar all this ranting about corporatization. I'm off to spend what bit of fiat currency I have left (since Osborne got his cut to pay for the bankers bonuses and duck houses) at Maccy D's on the way to get my copy of the Daily Mail and pay my TV license. Hopefully that will help me decide who to back as the next mouthpiece of the State/Corporate machine. Baahhh. Bahhhh :D

  • rate this

    Comment number 489.

    Even Pickles is starting to look good when compared to May - loved his tatty shop "policy" - top drawer comedy gold that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 488.

    Surely this is a good arguement for diversification of police forces. Each force should have their own leadership and control so if there is a bit of an egotistic and dictatorial nutter appointed to a position there are at least some controls and balances to get rid of them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 487.

    Der der der, G4S for all your security needs, whoop whoop whoop,G4S for all your security needs, der der, der, G4S for all your security needs,whaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiil
    Coming to a cop car near you soon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 486.

    Nomad: Have you got any idea what your going on about. We will see, and are seeing, that a decrease in front line police officers leads to an increase in crime. Makes me wonder why your happy to see less police on the steets!?

  • rate this

    Comment number 485.

    I am gratified to see that many people, Police included can see that there is a corporate agenda taking place. That public services will now bow down to profit. All hail profit and you proles best know your place :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 484.

    Net immigration up to 250,000 last year. Abu Qatada likely to be here for years. Votes for prisoners. 3 hour long queues at airports.
    Under May's leadership the Home Office is a shambles. She should be concentrating on getting her own house in order.
    This story is a convenient distraction from the the far more serious problems.

  • rate this

    Comment number 483.

    @371. AngelaMerkelsEvilTwin ... "The police may be the new miners ..."

    But who will the state get to crack their skulls? They are hardly going to beat themselves up on overtime.

    Good Question, presumably private security contractors or the privatised parts of the police force - won't be too long begore they're a majority

  • rate this

    Comment number 482.

    Nick Herbert was CEO at Reform think-tank, whilst G4S is a donor to Reform. Nick Herbert is now policing minister. Tom Winsor is a senior partner at White & Case solicitors the same firm advised G4S on their £200m 10-year deal with Lincolnshire Police. Tom Winsor will soon be top man at HMIC - Police Privatisation !

    Nick Herbert is now the policing minister and Tom Winsor will be HMIC.

  • rate this

    Comment number 481.

    472. Nomad: You're saying that front line UK cops exhibit an inordinate incidence of spousal and sexual abuse? You really must back that up with some sort of citation, even if you're certain you're correct. Otherwise it looks like ill founded ad hominem abuse.

    Or trolling.

  • rate this

    Comment number 480.

    Labour are quietly rubbing their hands in glee watching the Tories making the necessary cuts and taking the flak.
    When you say "taking the flak" do you mean ignoring the public and/or dubious/incompetent behaviours of Ministers?

    When did Milliband alert you to this nugget?

  • rate this

    Comment number 479.

    472. Nomad: You're saying that front line UK cops exhibit an inordinate incidence of spousal and sexual abuse? You really must back that up with some sort of citation, even if you're certain you're correct. Otherwise it looks like ill founded ad hominem abuse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 478.

    Someone, somewhere, has decided that we will have NHS via Circle, Policing via G4S, Armed Services via ( yet to be named) private contractors and volunteers.
    Ms May and her ilk are merely carrying out orders..

  • rate this

    Comment number 477.

    ... if Apple or Microsoft employed as many people with spousal abuse and sexual violence conviction would they still exist?"

    How do you know they don't? Where are your stats coming from? A link would be good.

  • rate this

    Comment number 476.

    Not again! This government seems to love crashing into stable organisations to pick a war with them. Get the economy right first please.

  • rate this

    Comment number 475.

    @455 GetitStraight.
    Police have the choice who to thwack at a protest. Why thwack innocents?
    I have personally seen Agent Provocateurs at protests, smash windows and then go behind police lines. There are even videos online of these people. The State puts these APs in marches to cause trouble. Then Innocents get thwacked and the march is discredited. It's an age old tactic of the State.

  • rate this

    Comment number 474.


    The Lib-dems by then will be dead so maybe they'll have to choose BNP to be in coalition with....


    I'm sure they'll find plenty of common ground.


Page 1 of 25


More Politics stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.