Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Times publishes my letter on Hillsborough & need for police reform

Viewable at The Times online here (£).

‘The nettle must be grasped and police leadership improved, lest such a sorry state of affairs be repeated’

Sir, The conclusion of the Hillsborough Independent Panel that senior police officers engaged in a cover-up is evidence of the kind of inept and unaccountable leadership that risks undermining public confidence in the police (report, Sept 13). Uniquely among the key public services such as education and health, the police have remained largely immune to reform. Now the nettle must be grasped and police leadership improved, lest such a sorry state of affairs be repeated.

To do so will involve challenging powerful vested interests that have long prevented change, as witnessed by successive Home Secretaries. Therefore, a Royal Commission should be convened, independent of politicians, to investigate best practice from abroad and recommend how to improve this vital bastion of state power, upon which the public depends. One place to start might be bringing in an officer corps as per the Armed Forces, which might drive up leadership standards by attracting the very best into the force.

John Slinger


  1. Agree completely.

    Best police force in the World it is said. Well maybe so, but it is certainly not perfect, and for too long it has relied upon the trust the populace (and of course, the Establishment) has given it.

    They are not given God-like powers to resist the temptation to lie, to create bogus cases, to close ranks, to conspire, and to cover up their embarrassments when found out.

    The first port of call is the Magistrates Courts where a good dose of healthy skepticism by the Benches would help everyone, not least the police.

    On that, my support is for all police to have, at least, a cheap tape machine to switch on automatically when going into an arrest situation. It'll save so many court appearances, writing up statements and they would claw back the respect in the Council Estates which is lost where the few "stitch-ups" ruin the credibility and trust of the many.

  2. Dear James,

    Very interesting. I also wonder why it isn't possible, 45 years after we put a man on the moon, to have a secreted camera and microphone on every police officer's uniform which records ALL THE TIME so that criminals and violent/aggressive people are literally caught in the act. Is there any resistance to this in police ranks? I don't know.

    Best wishes, John


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