Who is Sir Tom Winsor? Well, most people know by now that he was the lead author of the infamous Independent Review of Police Officersâ€™ & Staff Remuneration and Conditions, first published in 2011.
The â€˜highlightsâ€™ include
Iâ€™m sure there are others, but the above seem to be the main features coming out of the Independent Reviews. Controversial, many of them, unsympathetic some would day, and others would claim that they very closely resembled David Cameronâ€™s speech on Police Reform in 2006. I donâ€™t know if Sir Tom even read that article, but he might have done..
The bizarre thing to me is that Sir Tom did not claim his fee (Â£300 per day) for the Reviews from the Home Office. I know thatâ€™s true because the Home Office told me.
Sir Tom has been a controversial character ever since. In no particular order, as they say,
Apart from his outspoken views on unfit cops, he has not been shy about upsetting the fine men and women of our Police Service.
He stated that the Police Service was currently â€œunfairly perceivedâ€ as a blue-collar occupation with a â€œclock-in and clock-outâ€ mentality, whereas it should be regarded as one of the professions. I know many former and serving officers, and not one of them has ever displayed a â€œclock in, clock out mentalityâ€™ so I have no idea where he got that one from. I have never even heard or read that description from anybody other than Sir Tom Winsor, so I have no idea where it originated.
He was appointed as Her Majestyâ€™s Chief Inspector of Constabulary despite never having served a single day as a Police Officer, totally unprecedented. If that wasnâ€™t bad enough he pitched up at a National Police Memorial Day service in what purported to be a Police Uniform, many took that as a sleight on their profession.
Last year he upset and offended serving and former officers alike by claiming that Response Officers â€œtake nothing home with themâ€ implying that Response Officers left the stresses and experiences in their locker at the end of the day, and that tecs took their work home with them and worried about it at home. This was blatantly wrong, in my opinion, and showed Response Officers no respect or understanding at all.
Sir Tom apologised the very next day. Sir Tom said: â€œYesterday, on Sky News, I made a mistake, for which I apologise.
I said that, in contrast to detectives, response officers â€œtake nothing homeâ€ at the end of their shifts. That is plainly wrong, it is not what I meant, and I realise it has caused anger and offence. I am sorry about this.â€
He added: â€œResponse and neighbourhood policing are undoubtedly stressful.
â€œPolice officers and staff who deal with the many dreadful things which people do to others, or which happen to them, most certainly do not leave them behind; they take them home, and in many cases they stay with them forever. This was illustrated by some of the harrowing examples on Twitter yesterday.â€
Most recently he has displayed, again, in my opinion, a total lack of understanding how the Police Service works. He said the â€œshortcomingsâ€ of police chiefs who did not plan or use resources effectively were masked by the â€œget the job doneâ€ attitude of front-line officers. If he had ever been a Police Officer he would know full well that the default attitude of Police Officers is exactly that, get the job done. It is not done that way out of loyalty to the bosses, nor to cover up for the shortcomings of the bosses, but because your average Police Officer just wants to get the job done and achieve the desired outcome, frequently in unorthodox ways.
I am firmly of the opinion that Sir Tom Winsor is being a bit naughty in his criticisms of certain aspects of Policing. The way I understand it, he was the lead author of the â€˜Winsor Reviewsâ€™ that directly led to Theresa Mayâ€™s Police Reforms. He knows full well the troubles and problems that have been forced upon the Police Service of England and Wales. He absolutely understands the consequences of losing 21,000 officers and the budgetary restraints imposed upon them. He has been at the very core of the cuts prior to his appointment to HMIC (as was). Now he is the Chief Inspector he really should understand what the problems are before criticising how the modern Police Service is operating. Iâ€™m pretty certain that most Forces could operate better at 2010 staffing levels, PLUS, some features of Policing, like serious Public Disorder, most definitely requires numbers. Maybe he should be making that argument back up the chain. There are only so many â€˜Efficiency Savingsâ€™ that can be made. Increased use of technology is not always the answer. As somebody said a few years ago you canâ€™t solve all those problems by chucking a few iPads at them.
So, there you have it, a potted history of Sir Tom Winsor for the benefit of anyone who may have missed him.