This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Frankly, I am amazed

News has been breaking in the last 24 hours that Tom Winsor, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary wore a uniform that looked remarkably like a ceremonal police uniform to the National Police Memorial Day service at St David’s Hall in the Welsh capital to remember police officers killed on duty. You can see a picture of the uniform here on the Not The Daily Mail blog. But here it is also:

Only a few days ago, I wrote a blog that praised Mr Winsor's insight and then he goes and does this. According to Ian Chisnall, citing the HMIC website (though I cannot find the link), he is certainly entitled to wear such a uniform... However, the reaction from police twitterati & bloggerdom has been swift and scathing. Here is one example of a collection of comments.

What was he thinking?

When his appointment was being mooted and the Home Affairs Select Committee was examining his appointment, this Telegraph Blog said:
The [Home Affairs Select] Committee proceeded today anyway, interviewing Mr Herbert and Mr Winsor himself on the suitability of the appointment. Mr Winsor's lack of policing experience troubled the Committee. How could he run an organisation without understanding the day-to-day life of an officer? How could the Government turn to him for operational advice? Mr Herbert put up a strong case, arguing that the job has evolved. It requires someone staunchly independent who "could speak truth to power", telling the Government and the police "things they didn't want to hear". And on the operational side, Mr Herbert argued that the Government could seek advice from a new professional policing body that it is being established – one that will be run by an ex-police officer. Speaking for himself, Mr Winsor argued that the 349 days he had spent working on the policing report had given him a strong understanding of the organisation. Particularly as much of that time was spent interviewing and accompanying police officers in their work. He also said his experience of the private sector could help improve management of the police – particularly in the use of outdated technology and the deployment of front-line staff. He was shocked that an experienced officer could waste half a shift waiting for documentation to be processed through outdated systems
So it would appear that Mr Winsor made much of his non police officer status.

And then he attends the service sepcifically designed to remember officers who have fallen in the line of duty, who had been proud to wear their uniform, and proud to serve the public. And Mr Winsor elects to wear something that looks like a Ruritanian Field Marshall?


Did he think he would be showing more respect this way? If so, how come Prince Charles attended in an ordinary suit, with no medals or scrambled egg on his shoulders. (See here for the pic of Prince Charles)

Why did HMCIC dress like this?

As far as I can see, there is as yet no statement from HMIC concerning this (1140 on 30/9/13) I await developments...

UPDATE: BBC News are now running this story which includes an explanation from Mr Winsor and comments from others including the Police Federation. I will be interested to see what happens next year.

Also, I am curious as to whether any other HMI (from a non police background) has ever worn the official HMIC uniform to any ceremonial events before? Did Kate Flannery for example ever get to wear this uniform?

No comments:

Post a Comment