'It's not like running a supermarket': Kent Police Federation slams plans to allow foreigners to head police forces
by political editor Paul Francis
Government plans to allow foreigners to head police forces
and allow outsiders to be fast-tracked to inspectors have been
slammed by the Kent Police Federation.
Ian Pointon, of the Kent federation, said he was unconvinced by
the ideas and was concerned the government was undermining rank and
The policing minister and Ashford MP Damian Green said the
changes would allow forces to recruit "the brightest and the
Outsiders will be able to join forces as superintendents and
recruits could be fast-tracked to inspectors.
Mr Pointon, pictured right, said: "There is no organisation
in the world that cannot get better and it must be the case that if
you widen the pool of talent, then you will get even better
policing in this country."
However, Mr Pointon said he had reservations. On the idea of
foreign chief constables, he said: "I do not think we are so big
that we cannot learn anything from other places.
"But do we really want people to come from abroad to become
chief constables? What message does that send to police
He said allowing outsiders to join as superintendents and be
fast-tracked to become inspectors was flawed.
"I do not see that there is a dearth in talent at the top of
policing," said Mr Pointon. "I am not sure what the benefits are
and believe we have enough talented people to become chief
He added: "This is not about running a business or a
supermarket. It is a very different culture."
Kent police commissioner nn Barnes said she would be happy to
consider the ideas.
"It is a question of drawing from a bigger pool of talent which
at the top of the force is just too small. For some of the top jobs
in Kent, we might get five applicants.
"Policing is complex but other businesses actively recruit from
other disciplines and I am open-minded about that."
She would have no problem if Kent Police was to be led by a
chief constable from outside the UK.
"I am comfortable with that - we have had an arrangement with
from South Australia coming over here [on secondment] and
officers and being well respected."
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