The President of ACPO has attacked a former chief constable’s “ill-judged” comments that direct entry at superintending ranks and recruiting foreign chief constables could help diminish corruption in the Police Service by securing stronger leaders.
Writing in The Times, Lord Geoffrey Dear, who was West Midlands Police chief constable from 1985 to 1990, said misconduct by senior officers has become more common in recent years.
He listed scandals affecting policing such as the Hillsborough investigation, Plebgate, the revelations of the Leveson Inquiry and the “apparent politicisation” of the Fed, claiming: “The basic problem is leadership”.
He added that policing was still seen as a blue-collar profession and he said the Winsor reforms would make it a white-collar one.
He also said that Bramshill was training officers to be “managers not leaders” and says the Home Office reforms to recruitment could up the calibre of leadership.
“Diehards in the service will oppose this but they have no alternative other than more of the same, and look where that has led us.”
But ACPO President Sir Hugh Orde (pictured) was not impressed with this and wrote a letter to the paper that listed cases of alleged corruption or malpractice that occurred while Lord Dear was chief constable.
These were West Midlands Police’s original enquiry into South Yorkshire Police’s handling of the Hillsborough disaster and the disbandment of the West Midlands Crime Squad after discrepancies in the evidence it presented which led to the terrorism convictions of the Birmingham Six being quashed.
Sir Hugh wrote that Lord Dear was, like him, “subject to investigations” as a chief constable, adding: “He should be the last to join smoke and fire.”
Sir Hugh wrote of Lord Dear: “He above all should understand the complexities of leading a service that is charged with protecting citizens 24 hours a day, managing risks that span from local to the international.”
He categorised Lord Dear’s comments as an “attack on leadership in policing” and called them “surprising and ill-judged”.
Sir Hugh also wrote that the high-profile investigations into allegations police misconduct were evidence of “our strong culture of accountability rather than endemic failure”.
He said the service did not oppose direct entry and said forces already had senior staff members recruited from outside policing. The Home Office has argued a plus point of direct entry superintendents is that they would bring skills from other disciplines.
Sir Hugh also said the typical progression from PC to ACPO rank was 15 years, which he said was six years faster than when Lord Dear was in the service.
“We are lucky in this country to have at the top of our Police Service a group of men and women of outstanding ability, unquestioned integrity, a high level of professionalism and a deep commitment to public service,” he wrote.
From Police Oracle