Police welcome rethink on reforms

PUBLISHED: 21:00 12 May 2011 | UPDATED: 14:33 13 May 2011

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POLICE reforms which would have seen force heads elected by the public have been ditched – and Avon and Somerset chiefs are delighted.

The introduction of directly-elected police commissioners would have been one of the most radical reforms ever to hit the service.

But the idea was unpopular with the public, with fears raised that it would give too much power to a single person, and led to fears that police forces would effectively be run by politicians.

The House of Lords has instead ruled that force heads will be selected by specialist panels, insuring that commissioners would be selected on their expertise rather than public appeal.

Avon and Somerset Police Authority deputy chairman Claire Gordon said: “We have for a long time now raised our concerns about the potential politicisation of the police with directly elected commissioners.

“We were also concerned about the concentration of power in one person and could not see how the diverse communities of Avon and Somerset, from rural Exmoor to Bristol, could be properly represented.

“We also know from our own poll and national polls that there has been no public appetite for this expensive reform and I am glad that the Lords have listened to these issues.”

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