Tom Winsor, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary
Well, inevitably, Tom Winsor will be the next Chief HMIC. I think the only surprise was that the Home Affairs Select Committee, chaired by the labour, expense fiddling, MP, Keith Vaz supported the nomination. Watch out for Mr Vaz in the Honours list before too long.
The incumbent Chief HMIC, Sir Denis O'Connor, was to have retired on the 31st July but has been persuaded to stay on until October, after the Olympics. The Policing Minister, Nick Herbert, felt Mr Winsor was 'head and shoulders' above the competition and that he saw no reason why the Chief HMIC need have been a senior police officer. It seems that confidence in Mr Winsor doesn't quite extend as far as all that.
Retiring senior officers are sometime a little more candid than usual. Sir Denis has told his successor that police morale is low and he needs to use the goodwill of officers. Unfortunately, I don't think that Mr Winsor will understand or even care about that. I have said before that this is very important. The police are the only effective part of the criminal justice system and the only part that gives a damn about justice. Lose this and you will see crime going through the roof.
The Policing Minister, Nick Herbert, has also stated that Winsor is not about privatisation. I have already suggested this is rot. Winsor changes the role of constable from that of crown servant to that of any other employee, who can be made redundant. The building blocks that Winsor 2 puts in place will allow Chief Constables to shed thousands of police officer roles and hand over those roles to private security. This is exactly how the CEO of G4S sees it.
The Government have played a blinder on the communications front. Years of undermining the police and portraying them as lazy, thick, overpaid thugs with huge gold plated pensions has been soaked up by the stupid reporters and editors of the Daily Mail Etc. When are the press going to wake up and realise that G4S security guards will be patrolling the streets in a couple of years? G4S will be investigating your crimes.
G4S will be answering your 999 calls and G4S security will be responding to most of those calls.
The IPCC understand this. They are worried that privatisation of the police will leave them with almost nothing to investigate. The newish chair of the IPCC, Dame Anne Owers, wants her organisations powers extended to include all private companies carrying out the functions of the police.
After the riots last August we read that troops were being trained to help deal with future disorder. Now we hear that troop numbers are being cut by 20% and there may not be enough soldiers left to cover our strategic military commitments, never mind assisting the police with rioters.
In a few years time, police officers will comprise a small paramilitary force used to tackle violent offenders and public order incidents. Whether those numbers will be sufficient to tackle disorder on the scale we saw last year and whether troops will be available to support those police is not very likely. One thing I do know is that if it all goes wrong, it won't be Tom Winsor's fault. It won't be Nick Herbert's fault and it won't be Theresa May's fault.