Police reform will put public interest first
Sir, Paul McKeever of the Police Federation attacks the government's policy on police reform ("Muddled reforms show that Cameron has lost his way on crime", September 29).
It is unsurprising that trade unions are resisting pay restraint, pension reform and changes to outdated conditions. But the coalition is dealing with the budget deficit in the national interest. For a profession that relies on impartiality, to turn the debate into an overblown party political attack is as unwise as it is misplaced.
Our agenda for police reform is strong and coherent, creating accountable structures at both force and national levels. Elected police and crime commissioners, crime mapping and a powerful new National Crime Agency reflect our determination to boost the fight against crime.
None of this would have happened if, instead of driving reform, we had set up a royal commission or a committee of inquiry. As the independent Inspectorate of Constabulary has made clear, the fiscal challenge is urgent: there is no time for delay. And it is little use setting up committees of wise men if you don't even acknowledge that there is a problem to be solved.
Public service reform must be driven first of all by the interests of the public. The changes we are making to reduce bureaucracy and enhance professional discretion will help the police. This is a positive agenda for them, and I am committed to it. We will consult the professionals and we will listen.
But where tough decisions are needed, including changes to ensure a fair deal to the taxpayer and a voice for the consumer, we will take them. The public interest will come first.