• Downing Street is changing rules about running UK forces
  • Rule forcing recruits to join as a PC will be scrapped to attract high-fliers
  • The 20-25 years it takes to reach the top jobs would also be halved
  • Aimed at ‘Brightest and best’ with skills ‘distinctly above factory workers’
  • U.S. supercop Bill Bratton is vying to take over the Met after rule change
  • David Cameron wanted him for London in 2011 but was stopped

By
Martin Robinson

07:57, 30 January 2013


|

12:32, 30 January 2013

New police recruits will not have to serve as a bobby on the beat for the first time in Britain as the rule forcing them to be join as a PC was scrapped today.

The ‘brightest and best’ will instead enter at superintendent level as part of an overhaul of recruitment rules unveiled by policing minister Damian Green.

It has raised concerns Britain’s forces will produce a generation of senior officers ‘who haven’t felt the collar’ of a criminal and lead to ‘risks to the public’, the President of the Police Superintendents’ Association Derek Barnett has said. 

‘One of the benefits of having an operational grounding is that you have been able to deal with critical incidents, you have dealt with the very sad incidence of dead bodies,’ he added

Fast track: Rules restricting young stars flying up the ranks of British policing will be relaxed, meaning some could be chief constables at 30

Fast track: Rules restricting young stars flying up the ranks of British policing will be relaxed, meaning some could be chief constables at 30

This brat pack of talented police
officers could also become chief constables by the time they are 30
under the new Government plans.

Foreigners can also join the British
police for the first time while experienced individuals from other
industries like politics, business and the armed forces can be given
senior jobs.

‘The fast-track-to-inspector scheme will attract the brightest with the most potential to go on to become leaders,’ Mr Green said.

‘Direct entry at senior ranks will make sure that there is access to the best pool of talent, those who have proven leadership and business skills and who can bring with them fresh thinking from other sectors.’

Currently nobody under the age of 40 is in any of the 330-or-so top jobs in British policing, but the fast-track scheme could halve the 20 to 25 years it would take to get there.

Damian Green: 'Direct entry at senior ranks will make sure that there is access to the best pool of talent', the policing minister said

Damian Green: ‘Direct entry at senior ranks will make sure that there is access to the best pool of talent’, the policing minister said

Changes would also allow individuals like American supercop Bill Bratton, who tackled gang crime and reformed policing in New York and Los Angeles, to run the Metropolitan Police.

Mr Bratton was courted by David Cameron to run Scotland Yard in 2011, but was blocked from applying because of concerns about appointing a foreigner to a post with national security responsibilities.

The overhaul is part of a package of reforms that were drawn up by ex-rail regulator Tom Winsor in the most wide-ranging review of police pay and conditions in more than 30 years.

Changes: Supercop Bill Bratton, pictured running LA police, says he would love to run the Met as Downing Street is changing rules to allow foreigners to run British forces

Changes: Supercop Bill Bratton, pictured running LA police, says he would love to run the Met as Downing Street is changing rules to allow foreigners to run British forces

Under his proposals, ‘exceptional’ applicants would have the chance to rise from civilian to inspector in just three years.

Successful businessmen and women, along with members of the armed forces and the security services, should all be encouraged to apply to the fast-track scheme, Mr Winsor said.

Mr Winsor, who is now Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, previously said he wanted to end the notion of policing as an intellectually undemanding occupation.

He added that the ‘brightest and best’ applicants with skills ‘distinctly above those of factory workers’ were needed.

Sir Peter Fahy from the Association of Chief Police Officers said the changes could see existing officers frustrated in their bids for promotion.

‘All chief constables have served on the beat, experiencing the reality of day-to-day operational policing with the public. This is the model used by other countries who have followed the British system such as the USA. Bill Bratton, former chief of New York started this way. The direct entry officer class model tends to be followed by para-military police forces such as the French CRS or the Italian Carabinieri.

‘Acpo has no problem with bringing in expertise from outside and in many forces up to 50% of staff are non police officers. Every force has senior civilian staff in top leadership positions in such fields as human resources, finance and IT. On the other hand such matters as firearms operations, murder investigations and dealing with public disorder are commanded by those with proven expertise and records of achievement.’

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Damian Green predicted there would be a foreign Metropolitan
Police Commissioner in ‘years rather than decades’.

‘I have no idea [when], but, yeah, years rather than
decades. I think if five years ago you said “can you envisage the Governor of
the Bank of England talking to you in a Canadian accent?”, you would have
thought that was a bit odd.

‘But actually, Mark Carney is, I am told, the best
central banker in the world and it’s great that he’s going to apply those
talents in this country and the same will be true of senior policemen.’

He said the Government was committed to the reforms, and the
consultation which would be announced today was on the implementation of the
plan. 

‘It will happen and we’re consulting on how best to do it.
But I think bringing in new talent so that our very, very good police service
becomes even better in the future is absolutely essential to continue the
reform that has successfully led to a fall in crime in this country.’

Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe told a policing conference earlier this month that it was time to ‘consider and support’ direct entry. He added that he would like to see one in 10 senior officers recruited from outside the police force.

In addition, a proposal to allow candidates from the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, among others, to front up forces in England and Wales is expected.

That will pave the way for a renewed interest in Mr Bratton, 65, who said that leading the Met is ‘the only job’ that interests him in the UK.

The move will unsettle Bernard Hogan-Howe, Met commissioner since September 2011, who has faced criticism over his handling of the ‘plebgate’ affair involving former chief whip Andrew Mitchell.

Fear: The London riots, which spread across the UK, shocked the nation and Bill Bratton's track-record in LA and New York is seen an ideal way to prevent a repeat

Fear: The London riots, which spread across the UK, shocked the nation and Bill Bratton’s track-record in LA and New York is seen an ideal way to prevent a repeat

Mr Bratton, who was consulted by Mr Cameron over tackling gangs after the summer riots in 2011, was credited with halving the murder rate in New York  and cutting violent crime in Los Angeles.

He advocates a zero-tolerance approach to policing.

He said running the Met was a unique and internationally important post.

‘There are three Western police agencies that have great significance in international policing – London, New York and Los Angeles,’ he said.

‘I’ve had the privilege of leading the two police departments in the US that have that international impact and that is something that is part of my interest in the Met.’

At the heart of Bratton’s policing tactics are the use of injunctions, which restrict the movements of those accused
of being in gangs or involved in organised crime.

He
also uses the ‘broken windows’ theory – where he demands every crime
should be investigated, however small, as he believes it will also
reduce more serious crimes too.

The comments below have not been moderated.

WHAT A GOOD IDEA! In fact SO good, our workers in Westminister should lead the way!

Direct appointment of the unelected PM and cabinet. APPOINTED by the electorate. Applicants do not need to be first SELECTED by parties but may apply direct.

johninkermen
,

Lincoln, United Kingdom,
30/1/2013 13:18

The ideal opportunity for cameron to install his cronies. Does this nepatism never end?

davehants
,

hampshire,
30/1/2013 13:12

They did this in the fire service a few years ago. Our Brigade ended up with the former head of toilet roll procurement from Bexley Council as a non uniformed chief officer!

Mark
,

Minster, United Kingdom,
30/1/2013 13:11

With so many applying to join the police, the force can afford to be choosy; many of today’s policeman have been to university and they haven’t been fast tracked. With cuts, officers have been denied the opportunity of extra training to further their careers and transfers within the force are denied by superior officers if they deem hard working officers “too valuable” to lose. But they are losing them, ten experienced officers a week are leaving the met. If you want police officers on the cheap, pay peanuts and you know what you will get.

brit
,

brum, United Kingdom,
30/1/2013 13:09

This is one of the worst things that could happen to the police or fire service. By being on the beat and enduring the practical side of policing is the only way to gain experience in the job. Some smutty graduate from university with no ground work will make blunder after blunder and we are talking of decisions which could be life or death to people. If they are good enough to go up the promotion ladder two years is not along time to wait because they will not get the feel for the job any other way.

KenL
,

Andover, United Kingdom,
30/1/2013 13:00

Once again the conservatives showing they don’t like the working class. Want high fliers! This is going to cut off the work avenue for those that don’t get any GCSE’s but could have taken the test to get in just like my husband did. He is about to retire and can’t wait to leave which is a shame as it was a job he loved.

Lookingood52
,

Croydon,
30/1/2013 12:59

I don’t mind superintendents being recruited directly along as they aren’t placed in charge of large operations ie public order events but it scares me to death someone being able to be an inspector after 3 years.

Inspectors are the last rank at the sharp end before moving up to nearly full time desk jobs.

I’m Alright Jack
,

Ribble Valley,
30/1/2013 12:57

There is no sustitute for practical experience, which at some point in their careers Cjhief Constables have had.
Given that we have just had and election and appointments for Police Comissioners, what is the next step to move towards political control of our police forces? At what stage will a national police service be proposed?

Taxpayer
,

Rugby,
30/1/2013 12:51

Can someone explain to us the Tax Payer, how the pensions for these ‘Incomers’ will be calculated, because they are not going to have time to contribute much themselves, does this mean the Tax Payer will be forking out even more, for this Governments crazy idea.

Philbello
,

Medellin, Colombia,
30/1/2013 12:50

For God’s sake Cameron listen to those of us who have done the job. This will not work!

Egg race
,

London, United Kingdom,
30/1/2013 12:48

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