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UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE
To be published as HC 183-i
House of commons
TAKEN BEFORE THE
Home Affairs Committee
Pre-Appointment Hearing for HM Chief Inspector of constabulary
Tuesday 26 June 2012
RIGHT HON NICK HERBERT MP
Evidence heard in Public Questions 1- 144
USE OF THE TRANSCRIPT
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Taken before the Home Affairs Committee
on Tuesday 26 June 2012
Keith Vaz (Chair)
Mr James Clappison
Dr Julian Huppert
Mr David Winnick
Examination of Witness
Witness: Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP, Minister of State for Police and Criminal Justice, gave evidence.
Q1 Chair: Minister, good morning; my apologies for keeping you waiting for this hearing, but thank you very much for coming in.
Nick Herbert: Not at all.
Chair: Could I refer all those present to the Register of Members Interests where the interests of the Members of this Committee are noted and in particular is there anyone else who wishes to make a declaration?
Alun Michael: Chairman, can I declare the fact that I am a candidate for election as Police and Crime Commissioner in South Wales.
Chair: Thank you, Mr Michael. Minister, if I could start by asking you about the post and the advertisement that went out. Is this a different post that you are trying to fill in respect of the job description to that that was occupied by Sir Denis O’Connor? Is there a step change in the way in which the Government wishes to look at the Inspectorate?
Nick Herbert: No, I don’t think step change would be the right way to describe it. I think the role of the Inspectorate has been evolving over recent years and indeed the previous Government took steps to change the role of the Inspectorate to make it more independent of the police service. I think we have continued that evolution in the Coalition Government and indeed legislated in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act to change the Inspectorate for instance that it would now report to Parliament not to the Government, which I think is right. Increasingly the Inspectorate is rightly seen as being the guardian of the public interest in policing and has been one of the mechanisms of ensuring that police forces can properly be held to account as a monopoly service for revealing what is happening in the police service. Whereas I think previously, before Sir Denis, the Inspectorate was a body that was closer to the police service, operated in a way that was rather more quietly about trying to fix problems in association with the police service and was not the kind of independent body that I think is now needed for what is, in the end, a monopoly public service.
Q2 Chair: We have noticed that the salary has changed. Certainly when Sir Denis was doing the job it was between £220,000 and £224,000, but you have advertised this post at a lower salary?
Nick Herbert: Yes, I don’t think you can read anything into that in relation to the job description; I think that is more a reflection of the age of austerity and it is already, and will be in many people’s eyes, a very good salary indeed, but was a reflection of the necessity we felt to recruit somebody of the highest possible calibre, either from the ranks of senior policing where such salaries would not be uncommon or, indeed, from another sector.
Q3 Chair: When you set out to fill Sir Denis’ post, you and the Home Secretary, did you all decide at that stage that it was possible to have someone who was not a police officer in this job?
Nick Herbert: Yes.
Chair: Was it a conscious decision for you to look outside?
Nick Herbert: Yes, and in the brief that we gave Saxton Bampfylde, the recruitment consultants who we employed to go and search for candidates and help manage the initial process, we specified that we wanted them to include independent candidates as well as those from the police service. So we were quite clear that that was part of their terms of reference.
Q4 Chair: As far as the process is concerned, is there anything that you have seen in the process that you are concerned about, or are you happy with the way in which the process operated?
Nick Herbert: The process was a very proper one and I am very happy to take the Committee through it if it would be helpful, on how the approach was taken.
Chair: I think we have the actual process but we are interested in the vision behind it.
Nick Herbert: I think that what was helpful about the process from the point of view of Ministers is we had the engagement of a recruitment consultant who was helping to try to approach people and identify candidates. We then had a selection panel that included independent people, including for instance Lord Dear, who was the former Chief Constable of West Midlands and HMI, who was a member of that selection panel as well as the Permanent Secretary of the Home Office, the number two on crime and policing in the Home Office, and the non-executive director in the Cabinet Office.
Q5 Chair: How many were on that panel?
Nick Herbert: There were five people on that panel and they-
Q6 Chair: How many were police officers?
Nick Herbert: There weren’t any current police officers. Lord Dear had been Chief Constable of the West Midlands and he had been an HMI, so he was a good person to be on that panel. They then produced the short list for us for what they called appointable candidates, of which Tom Winsor was identified as the strongest appointable candidate by that panel. The Home Secretary and I then completed the final round of interviews.
Q7 Chair: Going on to your preferred candidate, you made it very clear to The Times on Saturday, in that double spread interview with you, that you regarded Mr Winsor as, "obviously the best candidate", and you were quoted, I think, on the Today programme as saying he was head and shoulders above all the other candidates.
Nick Herbert: I didn’t use the words "head and shoulders" but clearly we regarded him as the strongest candidate, that is why we put him forward for appointment and that was the view of the selection panel as well.
Q8 Chair: So they had come to that view?
Nick Herbert: They had come to the view that there were three-what they call in the jargon-appointable candidates who they put forward to us. They identified Tom Winsor as the strongest of the three. So that was their view. We reached the same conclusion. I think by definition the candidate that is our preferred candidate we regard as the strongest candidate. I also said that I thought it was a very strong field and identifying that someone is the strongest candidate for a particular job is not to denigrate other people who might have been applicants, as has been taken by others. Not at all, it is simply to state the obvious, which is that we thought he was, and think he is, the best person for the job.
Q9 Chair: The other two were police officers?
Nick Herbert: The other two were police officers, but that is all I am going to say about the individuals because I think it is improper for me to do anything that might identify particular candidates. They have not chosen to be identified, they have not authorised me to identify them, and I think it is a confidential process where people are entitled to make an application without being publicly identified and I think it would be wrong for me to do so.
Q10 Chair: The names have already been in the press. Of course you do not want to tell us, but the Home Secretary-
Nick Herbert: Yes, but I will not confirm any names, and you will understand why. That is not because I don’t want to; it is because I think it is only fair to those individuals.
Q11 Chair: Indeed, and you probably have not seen the reply from the Government to the Liaison Committee in which they have suggested that Ministers in future should give a briefing on those who are shortlisted?
Nick Herbert: I personally wouldn’t have a problem with that. We have complete confidence in the integrity of the process, in how this was gone about. It was a formal and proper process; there was an independent civil service scrutineer on the selection panel and in the interview that the Home Secretary and I conducted in the final interview. So that would not be a problem as far as I personally am concerned.
Q12 Chair: Finally from me, before I ask other Members of the Committee to come in on this, the appointment of Mr Winsor, as you know, would have caused a huge amount of interest from rank and file officers, because I am sure you have seen the emails and you have seen the public comments. Indeed, we received some of those in replies to the letters you have sent out. Were you aware of that? Were you aware that his appointment would cause such controversy?
Nick Herbert: Of course, and the-
Q13 Chair: Is this why you did it?
Nick Herbert: No, and I think that is really important to say that. We appointed or indicated that we wished Tom Winsor to be appointed, the person who we regarded as the strongest candidate for the job and the challenges that the modern Inspectorate will face. In doing so of course we were aware that there was something of a campaign being run against Tom Winsor, one that had become, in my view, completely unacceptably personal against him. Indeed, the Police Federation had chosen to name Tom Winsor as being a shortlisted candidate. They were the ones who first revealed that publicly in a letter to MPs. I didn’t think that was a proper thing to do; they did it without asking him. So there was a campaign running. In essence that is a campaign that is about objecting to proposed reforms of pay and conditions; reforms that, by the way, are broadly supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers. The question for us is do we not appoint the person we regard in this process as the strongest candidate simply because a campaign is being run against him, because we are aware of that and therefore effectively reward that campaign that has in part, in my view, been quite disgraceful. We took the view that it was proper to appoint the strongest candidate, the person we believed would do the best possible job for British policing, but it was in no way intended to be any kind of reproach or an appointment made for the sake of it, for the sake of being antagonistic; rather the reverse.
Q14 Chair: So even if the panel had come back to you and said, "We don’t think he’s the strongest candidate", you would still have appointed him?
Nick Herbert: That is a hypothetical question, but it was always open to us to disagree with their selection of the strongest candidate. They said three were appointable, but it would have been perfectly proper for us to have reached a different conclusion of those three, or indeed rejected all of them. In the past, as you know, that position has happened. But in this case we did agree with the view of the selection panel, and I thought it was important to report that.
Q15 Alun Michael: Given that it seems to be generally known that at least two of the shortlisted candidates are highly respected Chief Constables-and I stress highly respected, so it is not just that they are Chief Constables-why did you go for a non policeman? Would you agree that that might be appropriate once the head of the new professional body is in place and therefore able to provide that professional advice? But is the timing not rather odd when the head, and even the existence, of the professional body has not been established and had a time to bed in?
Nick Herbert: I don’t accept that because the professional body will be up and running by the end of this year and the new Chief Inspector of Constabulary, if appointed as we expect and hope, will be in place shortly before that. So there will be relatively little time in the interim.
Q16 Alun Michael: But it will take time to bed in, will it not?
Nick Herbert: Well, it will take time for the new Chief Inspector of Constabulary to find his feet and of course it is a new professional body. But I think that it was right to make the strongest possible appointment, to bear in mind that, as I said publicly about this appointment, it is important that the Inspectorate is completely independent of Government and the police service. It has an evolving role where it has demonstrated its independence. I would like to pay as strong as possible tribute to Sir Denis O’Connor for the leadership that he has shown as Chief Inspector of Constabulary, a highly respected individual. There was an opportunity to build on that, and it seemed to me it was important that we appointed somebody as Chief Inspector of Constabulary who would also be able to operate in the new landscape with Police and Crime Commissioners, who themselves will have a mandate following their election on 15 November and who will be big figures in their local area. They need to know that if either they call the Inspectorate in or if the Inspectorate comes in and maybe say unpalatable things about their force and effectively therefore about their record, that Inspectorate is fearless and independent. I think ensuring that the Inspectorate continues to be, as it has evolved to become under Sir Denis O’Connor, the fearless champion of the public interest in securing efficient and effective policing is very important. The professional body will be set up and will be able to offer professional advice to the Home Secretary and to others as a service-led body-
Q17 Chair: Since Mr Michael has raised this, it is now June and you want this body up and running by December, when will you be appointing the new head of the professional body?
Nick Herbert: I will shortly be updating Parliament on this matter, but we will shortly be going out to recruit-
Q18 Chair: Shortly meaning? Could we have a more-
Nick Herbert: Really quite soon we will be going out-
Q19 Chair: Like tomorrow?
Nick Herbert: We will be going out publicly to recruit the new proposed chair of the professional body, who will be an independent figure.
Q20 Chair: So not a police officer?
Nick Herbert: No, but then the chief executive, we have already stated publicly, of the new professional body will be a senior officer.
Q21 Chair: So the chair will not, but the chief executive will?
Nick Herbert: The chairman will not be; the chief executive will be. Half of the membership of the professional body will be from the profession of policing, the other half will not be, they will be independents or Police and Crime Commissioners. So there will be a balance in the governance board of the new professional body. But the professional body will be there to offer advice about policing to the Home Secretary and to others.
Chair: I think this Committee would very much like to see those plans-obviously you are going to tell them to Parliament-we are the relevant Committee, as soon as possible.
Nick Herbert: Yes, we will update Parliament in the normal way as soon as possible, and then I am very happy to come and answer further questions about that professional body to you at the appropriate moment should you ask.
Q22 Mr Winnick: You referred earlier on, Minister, to what you described as a disgraceful campaign against Mr Winsor. Why do you say a disgraceful campaign?
Nick Herbert: I understand police officers that are concerned about proposed reforms of pay and conditions are absolutely entitled to make their views known about the proposals of Mr Winsor’s independent review, and there is a formal negotiation process about that. The Government will pay attention to those legitimately expressed views as we should. But there was a campaign being run that calls itself the anti-Winsor network, which went far further in vilifying Mr Winsor, in calling into question his independence and therefore his integrity as the independent reviewer in a way that I regard as being completely improper. His review, after all, was advised by a former senior Chief Constable in questioning the business links that it was alleged he had, which would have compromised his independent report, which in my view was a nonsensical suggestion. So I was just making the point that I think everybody knows that there was a very aggressive campaign being run by what I regard, I think, as a minority of police officers that was neither fair nor sensible. I don’t think it was appropriate for them to have sought to have named his candidacy ahead of the final selection, which I think was a clear attempt to try to prevent him from being appointed.
Q23 Mr Winnick: But, Minister, you do not challenge the right in a free society for any group of people to rebut or strongly criticise a report? It can go to extremes, which no one would justify, but surely it is perfectly legitimate?
Nick Herbert: Like you, Mr Winnick, I am a champion, as I am sure we all are, of free speech and the ability for people to make their views known, and it is important that police officers know that the Government is paying attention to legitimately expressed views that they may have about proposed changes to pay and conditions. But there is a section of policing that has gone further than that, that has been personal in its campaign, that has used language that is inappropriate, that has sought to question the integrity of an individual in an improper way, and I stand by what I said, I believe that campaign was and is disgraceful.
Q24 Mr Winnick: Can I ask you this, Minister: if the review that was carried out by Mr Winsor had not have been approved by the Government-which obviously has been approved, enthusiastically approved-would one be right in saying there would be great reluctance to appoint him to the position of Chief Inspector of Constabulary?
Nick Herbert: That is a hypothetical. But let us suppose that as independent reviewer the review had come up with a whole list of things that were ruled as completely out of court both by the Government and by senior police officers, I think that might have made it very hard, whatever the merits of that individual, to have then have appointed that individual.
Q25 Mr Winnick: So you were influenced to a large extent, were you not, by the review that, as I say, was enthusiastically approved?
Nick Herbert: No, I was answering the question. Certainly the fact that Tom Winsor had acquired the experience he did over a period of time in conducting this review, and the fact that both we and the Association of Chief Police Officers regard the principles of his proposals-although the detail is subject to negotiation, formal negotiation-as being broadly right, of course that was relevant. Had he come up with a set of proposals that, as I say, we collectively regarded as being out of court it is unlikely we would have thought he was the right person to be taking a senior position in which the reform of policing is clearly a consideration.
Mr Winnick: That is a very frank answer; thank you very much.
Q26 Dr Huppert: Minister, one of the problems we have is the case you have essentially been making is that of the people who applied in this very strong field Mr Winsor was the best candidate. But of course we could only judge, because we don’t know who was on the short list, based on Mr Winsor compared to himself. I think that is a fundamental problem that we have. There has been a lot of press comments about who the likely people to be on the shortlist were and many of them are quite well known to this Committee and seemed very impressive. One of them I have had a fairly public disagreement with, but I still consider him fairly impressive.
Firstly, can I just ask, you say that it was a very strong field but also that your advisory committee said that only three of the candidates were even appointable. Can you just explain what you mean and why so many of the other people-how many did apply on the longlist? Why were they not appointable at all?
Nick Herbert: Twelve people made formal application and the selection committee then shortlisted five for interview by them. They then interviewed those five and considered that three of those were appointable and the Home Secretary and I together then interviewed that final three, of which Tom Winsor was one. In my view, there were some impressive names among the 12 and it was a strong field. The final three was very strong field, of which we regarded Tom Winsor as the strongest.
Q27 Dr Huppert: Of the nine who then weren’t appointable, presumably some of them had non-police backgrounds. Can you give us a sense of what sort of careers those non-police people might have had, roughly?
Nick Herbert: There was a mix; there were those that were not involved directly in policing as serving or former chief police officers, there were also those who had experience in Inspectorates, for instance-so there were people who had experience that was considered relevant enough that five of them were shortlisted for interview, that either their qualities and/or their experience was considered by the selection panel sufficient to have shortlisted them, but there was broadly a balance of the 12 that applied between those that were from the police service or were formerly of the police service and those that were not. I am just reticent about doing anything that, by being drawn further, would start to identify particular individuals.
Dr Huppert: I understand. It is a shame; it would be interesting to-
Q28 Chair: Can I just say, based on what you said I do not know who you are talking about, so do not worry about that.
Nick Herbert: That is mission accomplished as far as I am concerned.
Q29 Dr Huppert: I absolutely understand that and it would be interesting to have a sense about the non police candidates because it is such a new choice. Just on regular monitoring-type figures, how many of the candidates were women and how many of those were shortlisted interviewed, and the same for ethnic minorities? Did you look at diversity issues at all?
Nick Herbert: Of the 12 that applied a third of them were women and there was one BME candidate.
Q30 Chair: Of the three?
Nick Herbert: I am not going to be drawn because that would, given the nature of the senior ranks of policing, identify those individuals. I should point out that in relation to Sir Denis’ appointment when he was appointed Chief Inspector of Constabulary, there were only two applications.
Q31 Mr Clappison: Members of the public would understandably want the best person for the job as far as this is concerned. Can you make it absolutely clear in the light of the question that was asked, I think it was implicit in your answer, the three who were put forward to you as being appointable, the appointable decision was that of the selection committee on their own?
Nick Herbert: Yes.
Q32 Mr Clappison: Can I ask you, looking at the whole of Mr Winsor’s career, his candidacy and his experience, are you satisfied that he has the independence and the effectiveness in order to take into account and reflect the public interest, and also the legitimate interest of the police, looking at his whole career?
Nick Herbert: Yes, completely satisfied. I think if you look back over Tom Winsor’s career as rail regulator, that period was marred by what at times was a ferocious independence of the Government of the day, which was the previous Government, who appointed him. He was fearless. Anybody who was following transport policy at the time knows that he was willing to speak out and, of course, views differ depending on which side of the argument you might have been on transport policy, but he always regarded it as his role to be independent of Government and indeed of the rail operators and be willing to say what he thought was right in the interests of the public, which was his job. I think we need the same qualities in the Chief Inspector of Constabulary.
Q33 Mr Clappison: You would expect him to act in the same independent and effective way, speaking on the behalf of the police themselves where necessary?
Nick Herbert: Yes, I think what should be at the front of the Inspectorate’s mind is the public interest not the producer interest, but if it is necessary for the Inspector of Constabulary to say that something is damaging to policing, that is a consequence, for instance, of Government policy or might in the future be as a consequence of something that a police and crime commissioner has done, then it is important that the Inspectorate should feel able to say, "This is what is happening". I think it is revealing the truth. I think it is doing what I have sometimes described, and I know Sir Denis has, of shining a light on policing, revealing what is happening, providing that information to the public and those who hold policing to account, and to the service itself. That is so important. Sir Denis himself has sometimes used the description of regulator to describe what he has regarded as the evolving position of the Chief Inspector or the Inspectorate as a whole.
Q34 Chair: So you are happy with the use of that term? You want to see him as a regulator?
Nick Herbert: I don’t think it is entirely accurate to describe the role as regulator because the HMIC is not setting prices in policing in the same way as an economic regulator might be. But I understand what Sir Denis means by that. He is trying to express the view that this is not a position that is any longer about having quiet words in people’s ears or fixing things behind the scenes. It is about guarding the public interest, revealing what has happening. Lifting up the lid and making sure that we as parliamentarians, the Government, the public, the Police and Crime Commissioners, know what is going on and having that informed professional view of the truth about policing in a monopoly service. I think that is what he means.
Q35 Chair: Thank you. The preferred candidate is outside, so if we could have briefer answers, it would be very helpful.
Nick Herbert: Sorry.
Chair: No, it is not your fault; it is fascinating stuff, but it is just that we need to try to move on.
Q36 Bridget Phillipson: Minister, you stressed the importance of independence of this appointment, can I ask therefore why independence is not one of the qualities referred to in the person specification?
Nick Herbert: I think, without looking over it again, it will have been absolutely implicit in the role that the Inspectorate must be independent both of the service and of Government, and that is the whole basis on which the governance of the Inspectorate has been changed and why it now reports to Parliament rather than the Government.
Q37 Bridget Phillipson: Did Ministers suggest to the recruitment agency that they approach Mr Winsor regarding applying for the job, or did Ministers directly speak to Mr Winsor about applying?
Nick Herbert: No, Mr Winsor, I understand, was approached by the headhunter, Saxton Bampfylde, and they went out to test interest among a large number of people, including police officers serving, former police officers and others. I think the numbers of people they went out to was about 100, so quite a large number of people. Mr Winsor was one of them, and that was the form of approach that was made to him.
Q38 Bridget Phillipson: The job advert says that the candidate should have extensive understanding in operational policing. Can you explain how in your view Mr Winsor fits the bill in that regard?
Nick Herbert: I think because of the work that Tom Winsor has done in the last year and a half with his independent review of policing, on which he has put in a very great deal of time-rather more than I think the Government could legitimately have expected of somebody who was conducting that independent review-and has produced a very weighty and evidenced report because of the very large number of meetings that he had as he sought to gain evidence. I think that that has given Mr Winsor an understanding of policing that other candidates, who may have been independent candidates, may not have had, because the combination of his experience as a former regulator and understanding the role that he had there, combined with the experience that he had gained as the independent reviewer of policing was, I think, a formidable combination.
Q39 Bridget Phillipson: A year and a half does not seem like a great deal of time. Is it you feel that his previous experience is more important than that year and a half?
Nick Herbert: For the nature of the job of Inspectorate, some of the commentary that informally was around this appointment, one might have thought that we were appointing someone to be Britain’s senior police officer. We were not. We were appointing somebody to the Inspectorate whose job it is to reveal what is happening in policing, and I think Mr Winsor has the right qualities for that job. Of course he will be supported by his fellow HMIs, two of whom are former police officers. So there will be a mix in the Inspectorate, as there has been in recent years, because the Inspectorate has been mix of civilian and former police officer appointments for a few years now. Currently there are two independent inspectors.
Q40 Michael Ellis: Minister, could you set out just how see the role of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary changing if Mr Winsor takes up the post from Sir Denis O’Connor?
Nick Herbert: I think it is a continuing evolution, as I have already described. I think what particularly changes about this role now that I have already alluded to is the advent of Police and Crime Commissioners in November, because the Inspectorate is going to have to work with them as well as with the service, and those Police and Crime Commissioners will have responsibility for holding local policing to account.
We have moved the Inspectorate from being a body that was engaged partly in performance management of policing to a body that was revealing what was going on in policing, recognising that the centre had become overbearing in seeking to manage the performance of local forces. It will be for Police and Crime Commissioners to hold forces to account on the basis of the information that has been revealed, including by the Inspectorate.
Q41 Michael Ellis: Do you see the role changing in as much as the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners, in that those Police and Crime Commissioners now will have a greater responsibility for overseeing local forces and the newly appointed Chief Inspector of Constabulary will have a slightly different role?
Nick Herbert: Yes, I think that is true because I think it is a continuing evolution where the Inspectorate has become more independent of Government and indeed of the police service. So I think it is a misnomer, a misunderstanding, to believe that the Chief Inspector’s sole job is to be the professional advisor of policing to the Home Secretary. I do not believe that has been the Chief Inspector’s job for some time now and the professional body itself will be able to advise the Government and the Home Secretary as necessary on professional aspects of policing, and of course individual Chief Constables can advise the Home Secretary, and do, on operational matters. The Home Secretary has no shortage of advice from senior police officers on operational matters. What is important is that there is a separate body that is fearless and that is willing to say what is going on in policing in a way that might sometimes be uncomfortable for Government, for Police and Crime Commissioners, and for the service. None of them should believe they own that body, because they do not.
Q42 Michael Ellis: Thank you, Minister. Do you think Tom Winsor represents that fearless independence?
Nick Herbert: Yes, I think he does.
Q43 Michael Ellis: There are still a lot of chief officers in the team presumably within the Inspectorate?
Nick Herbert: Yes, two out of the five, including the Chief Inspector, are former police officers.
Q44 Lorraine Fullbrook: Minister, I would like to follow on from that question; in essence is it the Government’s proposal that the current control of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector should split between the new role of HMIC and the head of the new police professional body?
Nick Herbert: No, I don’t think that is quite right because I do not believe, as I have just said, that the Chief Inspector of Constabulary has been, as is sometimes described-and by the way it is not written in any of the legislation, the advisor to the Home Secretary on policing matters. I think already under Sir Denis O’Connor the Inspectorate was moving to a more independent stance. When, for instance, in the next few weeks the Inspectorate updates Parliament and the public on its value for money profile saying how police forces are spending their money, some of those messages are not necessarily going to be comfortable either to the service or the Government. The Inspectorate is able to do that precisely because it is separate from the Government and is not there to reflect or endorse Government policy. So I would not characterise this appointment as making a break or a change. I think it is the continuing evolution of the Inspectorate as an independent body.
Q45 Lorraine Fullbrook: Can you confirm that the head of the new police professional body will be a senior police officer, a serving senior police officer?
Nick Herbert: Yes, we have undertaken that the head of the new professional body, that body will be led and owned by the service itself when it is set up in its final form, will be a senior police officer.
Q46 Lorraine Fullbrook: Serving or not?
Nick Herbert: Once they are appointed to that body they can’t serve as a police officer but they will have been a senior police officer. They, and their colleagues in the professional body, will be able to give advice on professional policing matters. There were a large number of the so-called business areas that are currently under the auspices of ACPO. So, for instance, there might be one on firearms policy. These business areas will essentially move into the new professional body, and in each of those areas there will be police officers who will be able to give professional advice about those areas of policy to the Home Secretary and others.
Lorraine Fullbrook: Thank you.
Q47 Dr Huppert: Minister, how important do you think it is that the Chief Inspector can command the respect of the rank and file of police?
Nick Herbert: I think it is very important that this individual commands the respect of the police service as a whole, of course. They should know that that individual is robust and independent. That is not the same thing as saying that that individual should be seen to agree with the rank and file on all matters, or even be liked by the rank and file. That is not the purpose of the Chief Inspector. The Chief Inspector must be the fearless guardian of the public interest. That is not always the same as the producer interest, particularly in a monopoly public service.
Q48 Dr Huppert: You are absolutely right that the Chief Inspector’s role is not to agree with everybody, but do you accept that there is a concern among many members of the rank and file about this appointment and that there will be, if the appointment goes ahead, a lot of bridge-building to be done to get that respect back?
Nick Herbert: I think that is something that you, no doubt, will want to ask Mr Winsor, and I am sure that he will seek to engage with all sections of the police service as he sought to do in his independent review. But the decisions about the stance towards Mr Winsor are for those, some of those who have tried to run an orchestrated campaign, and I think they should reflect upon whether that has been productive or sensible and should move forward on a different stance.
Chair: Minister, we have the message that you disagree and you think this is an awful campaign. You have made that very clear, and thank you for doing that.
Q49 Nicola Blackwood: You have emphasised Mr Winsor’s record for ferocious independence and the need for the Chief Inspector to be both independent and effective in this role. I think that one of the problems that seems to be emerging is this evolutionary change in the role of the Inspectorate. It not only inspects the 41 forces; it also has the role for advising the Home Secretary and as a professional mentor to Chief Constables. Some of the evidence that we have received from the representative bodies is that they want to clarification of which roles are going to be fulfilled and whether someone who has not had previous experience as a Chief Constable actually can fulfil all three roles. Do you think it is necessary to clarify exactly what the Inspectorate is doing going forward, and exactly how that will sit next to the new representative bodies?
Nick Herbert: I am hoping to do that now, and we will be saying more about the professional body, but I don’t accept the characterisation that you had about the three roles. Advice can be provided to the Home Secretary by a range of people and that is already happening. So far as the mentoring is concerned, there will be senior police officers within the Inspectorate who can continue to provide that kind of advice to Chief Constables should they seek it. That does not necessarily have to come from the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, and there will be the professional body that is able to provide such advice but we have moved away, and we needed to move away, from the idea that the Inspectorate, as it was in the past, was the body that quietly fixed things behind the scenes where one former Chief Constable could have a word with another serving Chief Constable and say, "Look, this is how I would do things", towards a body that was transparent in the way it was operating that was revealing what is happening in policing and being the fearless guardian of the public interest. As I said, I think an evolution was already happening. But as we set up the professional body I think it will become clear that that body itself will be the place where the knowledge about professional policing practice and the responsibility for training and development will rest and that will be owned and led by the service itself.
Q50 Nicola Blackwood: Is this appointment more to make it clear that inspection and so forth lies within the Inspectorate, advice lies within the professional body and the two should be separate for very good reasons?
Nick Herbert: I don’t think that you can completely separate these things because there will be times when the Inspectorate is providing advice to the Home Secretary on certain matters, as it does at the moment. The Home Secretary receives a range of advice from different individuals from the Inspectorate but also from senior police officers, either individually or collectively and that will continue. So I don’t think you can draw a line down and say that the Inspectorate will never provide advice to the Home Secretary. What it will not be is alongside as the private advisor to the Home Secretary aligned with Government and aligned with Government policy. If it provides advice it will provide advice as the independent body that is inspecting policing in the public interest, telling the Home Secretary what is going on or the Home Secretary may ask that specific reports are undertaken on certain areas, and the Inspectorate will agree to do that, as it has recently on issues such as undercover policing or corruption in policing and so on, where that advice was necessary. So advice in the broadest sense will continue to be given.
Q51 Nicola Blackwood: But a Chief Constable who has a difficult or complicated problem in their force area should, in your view, go to a professional body and not to the Inspectorate?
Nick Herbert: You might choose to go to one of the other inspectors in HMI because two of them are former Chief Constables, so they might go to that source, they might go to a peer, or they might go to the professional body. It would be a matter for them. But it has never been a part of the formal remit of the Inspectorate of constabulary that they should provide that counselling service for Chief Constables.
Q52 Chair: Just on one point raised by Paul McKeever in the letter to you when he raised the issue of section 85 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act, which allows the Secretary of State to specify matters to which the Inspectorate should have regard: you do not think that this compromises the independence of the Inspectorate, giving the Secretary of State the power to do this?
Nick Herbert: No, and we debated this during the course of that legislation. That would allow the Secretary of State to draw attention to particular issues of public concern that the Secretary of State thinks needs-
Q53 Chair: But not tell them how to do their job, basically?
Nick Herbert: No, but not tell them how to do their job.
Chair: Thank you, that clears that up.
Q54 Mark Reckless: Minister, how much time do you envisage the Inspectorate spending working for the 41 Police and Crime Commissioners as opposed to the Home Secretary?
Nick Herbert: I think that is impossible to say but I think part of the way that the landscape is changing is that the Inspectorate is going to have to, in your words, work with those Police and Crime Commissioners as well as with the Home Secretary, because they are the ones who are holding forces to account locally. So it is going to have to have a relationship with them.
Q55 Mark Reckless: Working for them, will it be helping them to hold the force to account rather than helping-
Nick Herbert: Formally the Inspectorate can be called in by Police and Crime Commissioners under the legislation, the Inspectorate may choose to go in if there are issues of particular concern, and in the ordinary course of inspecting the Inspectorate will have a relationship with forces and with Police and Crime Commissioners, so it could be on the range of activity they will have that relationship. The point being that they are not there to work for Police and Crime Commissioners, there will be times when the police and crime commissioner is relying on the Inspectorate to provide particular advice, and there are formal scenarios, for instance, in relation to advice on the dismissal of a Chief Constable where the Inspectorate is formally engaged under the legislation. There will be other times where I think the Inspectorate is saying things that will be unpalatable to Police and Crime Commissioners because they will be saying, "Look, this aspect of force performance is not satisfactory", or is of concern. Police and crime commissioners will not necessarily like that and that is why it is important that the Inspectorate is seen to be independent of them, of Government, but also of the service itself.
Q56 Mark Reckless: Will that range include inspecting the commissioners and the commissioner’s office in the way the Inspectorate has recently inspected police authorities?
Nick Herbert: That I think I am going to have to get back to you about as to what the legislation says. Intuitively, I would suggest that we cannot exempt that range of functions that may be conducted by police authorities themselves from inspection, but I would need to be reminded of what the legislation said about it.
Q57 Mark Reckless: Finally, could I ask, do you see the primary role of the Chief Inspector being to spread good practice within policing, or to challenge the way policing is done more generally?
Nick Herbert: I think it is challenge. I think good practice should be spread by the professional body as it seeks to enhance the professionalism in policing. Of course, the Inspectorate could draw attention to good practice, but its role is not there to manage police forces or to performance manage them. Its principal role, it seems to me, is to reveal what is happening, to lift the lid on policing and provide the information that the public, politicians, either local or national, need and the service itself needs to be able to ensure that they are delivering efficient and effective policing, to translate for the public what is often very technical stuff in a way that it is accessible so that the public themselves can understand the performance of their police force and compare it with others, and know that there is an independent body telling them the truth about that performance. You can do that at the moment through the police.co.uk site with information that is provided by the Inspectorate. That comparative information is not welcomed very often by the police service itself. It is very important that the body feels sufficiently independent and robust that it is willing to face down such challenge, either by Chief Constables or in future by Police and Crime Commissioners, who really don’t like it.
Q58 Chair: We are coming to the end of this session now, Minister, and thank you for answering questions so far. You have been very clear that you are very upset by the campaign against Mr Winsor, both in respect of his previous report and his appointment, and you have made this very, very clear to the Committee. Some may think that his appointment may be an act of defiance by the Government because of this campaign, "We have decided to appoint as the Chief Inspector someone who is basically going to put you all in your place".
Nick Herbert: No, absolutely not. I have already made clear that we have put forward Tom Winsor for appointment because we thought that he was the strongest candidate in a strong field, and the best possible person for the job as the Inspectorate is evolving.
Chair: But it is going to be a very tough-
Nick Herbert: But I make clear that it would not have been right not to have appointed the person we thought was the best person simply because there was a disgraceful organised campaign against that individual. The motive of that campaign was to resist reforms of pay and conditions that were not liked.
Q59 Chair: I understand that, but what would you say to Mr Tully, who says that his 31,000 members have no confidence in Mr Winsor or his independence? As the Policing Minister, you presumably now want all these people to get on together, what would you say to Mr Tully?
Nick Herbert: Well, what I have urged, and did at the Police Federation conference that I attended, and have done subsequently, is that the Police Federation and others engage sensibly in the negotiation process on the issues and stop playing the man rather than ball. That is what they have to do. I can’t be responsible for their chosen behaviour, but it has been neither constructive nor productive so far as they are concerned. It is not the right way to behave; it is not the right way for police officers to behave. I don’t believe it reflects overall the mainstream view of policing, and of course there must be a more constructive stance on which we go forward, but that is about the separate matter of the reform of pay and conditions that is now being taken forward, apart from Mr Winsor. He has made his report. That report stands. It now goes into the formal negotiation process. He is not a part of that any more.
Q60 Chair: Yes, but in terms of the new landscape of policing, which you have been presiding over, you have been driving this-the abolition of SOCA, the creation of the National Crime Agency-this is a revolution in policing, and your legacy is secure. Whatever job you do next, policing will never be the same again in terms of the structures of policing. This Committee has sat here in awe of the number of changes that have been made. We are trying to keep up with what is going on. But do you think in respect of that new landscape, the arrival of someone who has no operational experience of policing, albeit the fact that he has done a very detailed report over two years, is going to help you achieve what you want to achieve?
Nick Herbert: Yes. I am convinced that Tom Winsor is the right person for this job and for the changing role of the Inspectorate, and that his appointment would help to protect the public interest in securing efficient and effective policing. I think it is part of an overall approach that is about ensuring that we have the strongest possible police service, fit for today’s challenges, which are growing, despite the fact that there is less resource available for policing than there was. "Revolution" isn’t a very conservative word, so I am not sure that I would agree with that description, but yes, this has been a serious and challenging agenda of reform, but I think it is worth me repeating and pointing out that the proposed reform of pay and conditions and the broad thrust of the Winsor 2 proposals are broadly supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers and by Chief Constables, which is a point that is sometimes missed when it is noted that there are some sections of policing that dislike some of those proposed reforms.
Q61 Chair: Going to your own words, you do not like the word "revolution", but your words in The Times on Saturday, when you said your favourite police officer was Inspector Morse rather than Dixon of Dock Green, what would he make of all this, Inspector Morse? What would the ordinary police officer on the street make of all these massive changes that are occurring? How will the public see all this?
Nick Herbert: I think that was one of those questions that you might describe as a Hobson’s choice and so on, so I am not sure that that would be to describe to my favourite police officer. But I am sure that Inspector Morse, along with many other police officers, would see the value in having an Inspectorate of Policing that didn’t always say things that were comfortable, but did say things that were true, and was fearless and was willing to act in that independent manner. I think in the end that people will see the value in having such an independent figure for what is after all a monopoly service.
Q62 Chair: So whatever the Committee decides, he would get the Morse vote, you think?
Nick Herbert: I have been asked a number of hypothetical questions. That is, clearly for all sorts of reasons, completely hypothetical.
Chair: Minister, thank you very much. We are most grateful. Thank you so much for coming in today. Thank you. Could we call in Mr Tom Winsor.
Examination of Witness
Witness: Tom Winsor, preferred candidate for HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, currently a partner for White & Case LLP, London, gave evidence.
Q63 Chair: Mr Winsor, good afternoon. My apologies for keeping you waiting so long. I am afraid we had the Minister in and we were having a series of questions to him. Thank you very much for coming before the Committee today, and congratulations on being the Home Secretary’s preferred candidate for this post.
Tom Winsor: Thank you.
Chair: Can I just repeat a declaration of interest that was made before you came into this room, and that is that Mr Michael is a candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales. The rest of the Committee’s interests are declared in the Register of Members’ Interests. Yes.
Mark Reckless: Can I also declare that I was a member of the Kent Police Authority until May last year, and I was also involved in some railway-related public law work at Herbert Smith.
Chair: Thank you, Mr Reckless. I just want to remind you of an article that you wrote on 3 June 2009, when you said, "Select Committees of the House frequently fail to exercise effective scrutiny over the policies and behaviour of powerful, independent institutions and that witnesses should need to prepare for demanding scrutiny. Parliament is the supreme authority. Holding the executive and the powerful expertly and efficiently to account must be significantly enhanced". So I just remind you of what you said in The Guardian in 2009. None of the questions that we put to you today are in any way of a personal nature against you individually; it is our job to robustly scrutinise your candidacy.
Tom Winsor: Of course, and, when I wrote that article, I had no experience of the Home Affairs Committee.
Chair: Indeed. Can I start by asking you a general question? You are a highly successful lawyer; you have been a highly successful rail regulator. You have written a report that has taken you two years. You have been the subject obviously of a lot of public controversy. Why on earth would you want to give up a job with a very big law firm with work that you clearly enjoy and are qualified to do to take on this job as Inspector of Constabulary?
Tom Winsor: Public service, the same reason for motivating Members of this Committee. I believe that I can do this job well. I believe that the role of Chief Inspector of Constabulary would benefit from a new perspective to the quasi-regulation of a hugely important public service. There is no higher calling than the discharge of the duty to protect your fellow citizens. That is what the police do, and ensuring that that is done the most effectively and efficiently is, I think, an essential role. I was an economic regulator for five years, dealing with highly complex, high-value, very controversial issues, including on safety-critical issues, and I believe that that experience equips me in a way that perhaps, say, a police officer candidate would not, and I would like to take a go at it.
Q64 Chair: Do you think it is an advantage or disadvantage not to have an operational policing background? You are very conscious of the fact, I am sure, that every single person who has held your post prior to your preferred candidacy has been a senior police officer, so you will be the first. Is that an advantage or a disadvantage, do you think?
Tom Winsor: It may very well be an advantage. The police pay review that I carried out over many months involved a very intensive examination, a process of evidence gathering, thorough analysis of issues relating to policing and revealed to me that there are many parallels between the world of policing and the world of the other regulated industries and activities, and I would like to show how those techniques and capabilities can be used in the field of policing. I do not regard it as a material disadvantage not to have been a serving police officer. No one can be an expert in the entire field, a field as wide as policing. Not all Chief Police Officers have been detectives; not all Chief Police Officers have been public order specialists. They take advice from other people.
When I was appointed as rail regulator, I was not a railway engineer, I was not a railway operating manager, I was not a specialist in corporate finance, and I was not a professional economist, and yet I had a statutory obligation under section 69 of the Railways Act 1993 to provide advice to Ministers as well as to discharge the executive functions of the Regulatory Authority. One of the greatest advantages in management is to have the ability, and I did this, to surround yourself with people of very high ability, of greater intelligence than yourself and very considerable experience.
Q65 Chair: So you would expect in your role to seek the advice of other senior officers, people like Sir Edward Crew, who I think advised you on the police and pay report. Is that what you are telling this Committee? You may not have that operational experience, but you will make it your job to go out and find people who do have that expertise?
Tom Winsor: HMIC has existed in one form or another for 156 years. It has a very considerable resource of very able people. It is not by any stretch of the imagination a new organisation. It also has a tradition of bringing in specialist skills through its associates scheme, which was established by Sir Denis O’Connor quite recently, and there is a rich mix of professional expertise, both policing background and non-policing background, available to HMIC. Of course there is also the very significant advantage of the other four HMIs, two of whom are former senior police officers and two of whom are not.
Q66 Chair: Which are those? Which are the two who are former senior officers?
Tom Winsor: Mr Baker and Mr Otter.
Q67 Chair: Yes. So you would be going to them to seek their advice on this?
Tom Winsor: I would like to adopt a collegiate approach to the operation of HMIC. I think that is the way Sir Denis has done it, and I think he has done it with very considerable distinction.
Q68 Chair: In terms of your report into pay and conditions, how many days did you spend on that review? We know you did it for two years. Obviously you have been before this Committee before.
Tom Winsor: It was 18 months really. The Home Secretary, when she invited me to do it, said it would be 45 days over 9 months. It didn’t turn out quite like that. My time recording in my law firm requires me to account for every six-minute unit of my day.
Chair: Of course.
Tom Winsor: I can tell you that I spent 3,307.2 hours on it over 349 days.
Q69 Chair: 349 days out of 18 months?
Tom Winsor: Yes.
Q70 Chair: Your law firm was billed for that work?
Tom Winsor: No.
Q71 Chair: Who paid you for that then?
Tom Winsor: I have not been paid anything for it.
Q72 Chair: So you were paid nothing for the Winsor Review part 1 and 2?
Tom Winsor: Correct.
Q73 Chair: So why did you record the number of hours then?
Tom Winsor: Well, we have to account for our hours whether it is chargeable or unchargeable. Law firms do a lot of unchargeable work.
Q74 Chair: You basically had a sabbatical for 349 days, in one sense?
Tom Winsor: Yes, that is what they thought it was. It did not feel like a holiday to me.
Q75 Chair: Okay. Can you just tell us about your views about people from outside the policing service coming in? One of the issues that has confronted the Committee over a number of years are the number of police corruption cases that have come to the fore; the allegations of corruption. One of the things that is very odd has been the way in which one force investigates another force, and I am thinking particularly about the Cleveland case, where of course you had allegations of serious corruption in Cleveland and it was being investigated by another police force. Would you see that as one of your priorities as the Chief Inspector?
Tom Winsor: HMIC has done work on integrity in policing, as we know. I am not presently aware-I am not in the job-
Tom Winsor: -of any material shortcomings in the practice of having a separate police force investigate allegations of corruption by another police force, but I would take advice and form a view on it.
Q76 Chair: So you are not able to. Finally from me on diversity, I received anecdotal evidence that you have suggested that the number of black and Asian officers in the Metropolitan Police is influenced by the fact that they lowered their standards in order to appoint more black and Asian officers. Perhaps you could clear this up now so we know exactly what you did say on this point.
Tom Winsor: I have no objective evidence on this, but what I had been told by one former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and one senior member of the Police Federation was that the educational entrance requirements for police officers were lowered in order to ensure that the rate of people coming in from ethnic minorities would be maintained or increased. I found that astonishing, if true, and there has been some controversy over whether it is or is not true. But in my report, as you know, I made it clear in my view-and these are part of my recommendations-that the only criterion for entry to the police force and advancement within it should be merit, and merit has no distinctions in terms of colour, ethnic background, sex or any other characteristic.
Q77 Chair: So in the quoted comments, you were just repeating what somebody else had said; you were not saying this is what you believed?
Tom Winsor: Correct. I was saying, "This is what I have been told. Can it possibly be true?"
Q78 Lorraine Fullbrook: Mr Winsor, many police officers have expressed concern about your prospective appointment, mainly on two grounds: firstly, your independence, because they believe that having conducted the two reviews that you would not be an independent person to carry out this job, and secondly, that you have a lack of police experience. What would your answer be to those police officers?
Tom Winsor: On independence, the narrow point is that the role of HMIC in terms of the implementation, if that is what is decided, of my recommendations in relation to pay and conditions is slight, if not non-existent. The two are in separate camps. There is a ministerial decision to be made after due process of the Police Negotiating Board and the Arbitration Tribunal whether and how much of my recommendations should be implemented, and I anticipate that HMIC will have little or no role in that respect.
The wider point on independence-and I have found it quite extraordinary that it has been suggested that I would not be independent, because my record when I was rail regulator was of quite steely independence. I was required to protect my independence through what Alistair Darling might call the fires of hell. I was threatened with primary legislation on the authority of the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to extinguish my independence if I had the temerity to stand up to their wholly improper and illegal confiscation of the assets of Railtrack’s shareholders, and I saw them down. I protected my independence when Alistair Darling, when he was Transport Secretary, was dissatisfied with my decision that the railway should have the largest financial settlement in its history, £22.2 billion. He was dissatisfied because that was my decision and not his. But I exercised my independence in that way. Therefore, I am quite staggered that people should suggest that I am not likely to be independent, and I might say that if the Home Secretary-and I am sure this is not the case-expected that appointing me, if that is what she decides to do, would lead to the production of a meek and compliant regulator, then she is going to be disappointed.
Q79 Lorraine Fullbrook: What about the second issue that police officers have, which is the lack of policing experience?
Tom Winsor: I have discussed that a little bit with the Chairman. Clearly I have not been a serving police officer, although I have spent a lot of time looking at policing, and I have learned a huge amount about policing, speaking to officers and police staff of every rank all over the country. I mentioned that as rail regulator I was not a professional economist or a railway engineer, and I think it is notable that in the last Government’s Green Paper on policing in 2008 it said that HMIC should develop its skills base to include a stronger mix of professional skills outside policing, and indeed, in the Macpherson Report on the murder of Stephen Lawrence, it was recommended that there should be a greater lay involvement in policing.
But I do repeat the point that it is not essential for this role to have served as a police officer, and indeed, if it had been, then Parliament at some point since 1856 would have legislated in order to bring that about. The policing legislation does not and has never required HMCIC or any HMI to be a police officer. Parliament could have legislated to change that. Parliament had an opportunity only last year in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act to change the law, but it chose not to do so, even though it did change the law and established a statutory requirement that the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and every Chief Constable in the UK force must have held the office of constable in a UK force. It was also legislating for the constitutional position of HMIC, therefore it would have been a very simple matter for Parliament to choose to apply that condition to the Chief Inspector of Constabulary and other HMIs at the same time as it applied it to Chief Constables. Parliament chose not to do so. I think that is very telling.
Lorraine Fullbrook: Thank you.
Q80 Mr Winnick: Mr Winsor, you mentioned to the Chair that you heard that entry had been lowered in order to get into the police force black and Asian officers. What evidence do you have for that?
Tom Winsor: I only have the oral evidence of the word of a former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and a member of the Police Federation, an officer.
Q81 Mr Winnick: Don’t you think it would have been far better to have looked into it and seen if there had been any such lowering of standards?
Tom Winsor: Yes, we did look into it, but we were unable to run it to ground.
Q82 Mr Winnick: So there is no hard evidence of what is alleged?
Tom Winsor: Not as far as I am aware.
Q83 Mr Winnick: I see. So we have cleared that up. Now, Mr Winsor, is it your view that there are enough minority police officers in the force, the Met and other places, like the West Midlands? Are you satisfied that the numbers of non-whites is adequate?
Tom Winsor: I am happy to answer to the question. I am not sure that that is a matter of importance to HMIC, but have no difficulty with the question. I think it is immensely important that as far as possible the police service should reflect the make-up of the communities that they serve. The police service in this country is not a force apart. Robert Peel said, "The public are the police; the police are the public". The policing in this country springs from the communities that are served. It used to be, as we all know, the ancient obligation of every member of the community to pursue and apprehend those who violated the law and then the office of constable developed out of that, and that is why the roots of policing are always local, even though there is a very significant national and international perspective these days. Therefore, for police officers to come from all parts of the community I think is extremely important, and if there were any doubt about that, I think that the inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the subsequent actions and developments in that case have shown that in very stark relief.
Q84 Mr Winnick: That answer of course would reflect the views of the Committee, regardless of our political affiliations, but I am somewhat surprised that when you responded to the Chair about ethnic candidates and made the allegation, which you say there is no evidence whatsoever, you did not add what you have just rightly said, but that is entirely up to you in responding to questions.
I wonder if I could go on, Mr Winsor, about the review which you have carried out on policing. You accept, of course, it is very controversial?
Tom Winsor: Yes, so it appears.
Q85 Mr Winnick: Would you accept that many police officers believe that it was a hostile report which did not really reflect the situation as basing it on the ground?
Tom Winsor: I have heard these allegations. I think one of the things that-
Q86 Chair: Sorry, Mr Winsor, they are more than allegations. The Committee has received representations on this. They are not allegations, are they? People have disagreed and said that you are wrong. "Allegation" means that it needs to be proved. These are assertions made by people.
Tom Winsor: Okay, assertions or allegations, people are saying it was a hostile review. I do not accept it was a hostile review at all. It was-
Q87 Mr Winnick: But you would not, would you?
Tom Winsor: Of course not. But you asked-
Mr Winnick: Yes, carry on. Okay.
Tom Winsor: -me did I make a report which was hostile. There is no doubt that it has been received with hostility and very considerable criticism and one of the things that I have found most frustrating is that so many of the critics of the review within the police service have based their analysis of my recommendations not on what I said in my report, but what I am reported to have said in my report. For example, the former Home Secretary, Mr Johnson, on Any Questions? two or three weeks ago expressed in ferociously critical terms my insistence that policing should be a graduate-only profession. I did not say that at all. I said policing should not be a graduate-only profession.
When the march through London took place, 30,000 off-duty police officers, the television crews took some aside-I didn’t see the whole thing, but I saw some of them-and these police officers were criticising aspects of the report that were plainly not present in the report. It does strike me as remarkable that police officers whose professional training and instincts are to ignore hearsay and go to the primary sources of evidence, when it came to my report too many of them have embraced hearsay and ignored the primary sources, an inversion of their professional instincts and training. I only ask that the report, which undoubtedly is controversial, is criticised for what it does contain, not for what it does not contain.
Q88 Mr Winnick: Would it be right to say, Mr Winsor, that just as your report was received-as you say, without any justification-in such a hostile way by police officers or a large majority of police officers, it was warmly welcomed by the Government?
Tom Winsor: I don’t think it was warmly welcomed by the Government, and indeed, if it had been warmly welcomed by the Government, then the Police Federation and others presumably would already have an application for judicial review of the Home Secretary’s decision to prejudge a statutory negotiation and arbitration process that has not yet finished.
Chair: Thank you. I think we will move on.
Mr Winnick: The Minister did not prejudge it.
Chair: Let us move on. Mr Clappison, and then we have a lot of questions to ask.
Q89 Mr Clappison: Can I at this point return to the question which was raised to you by the Chairman and by my colleague, Mrs Fullbrook? It has also been raised with me by serving police officers in the Hertfordshire force, which is a very good force, I should say, the question of operational experience. Now, it is true that in the appointments brief, which gave the specification for the appointment, that applications would be considered from candidates with a policing background and from other professional backgrounds. However, it does go on to say that, "Candidates can demonstrate an understanding of operational policing", and that that was required as essential. In a nutshell, how would you demonstrate you have an understanding of operational policing?
Tom Winsor: I did, in the course of my review, a very considerable amount of fieldwork with police officers and it was far more than has been alleged. I went out in the cold and the wet at night and during the day. I spent New Year’s Eve 2010 until 4.00am in the morning in the freezing cold of Maidstone seeing the policing of New Year’s Eve with police officers. I went out on the Manchester night-time (inaudible - 01:16:18) with police officers. I went on the river. I did the 5.00am briefing with the Territorial Support Group in London and a 6.00am drugs raid. I went on a firearms incident at which an armed robbery in North London was foiled. I went on community policing in Oldham. I spent time with kidnap and flying squad officers and I spent a very considerable amount of time with traffic policing in Kent. So I saw a lot of it, but no, I am not a serving police officer; I never have been, and I never will be.
I also received many detailed submissions including from the Staff Association, the Police Federation, the Superintendent’s Association, also ACPO, the Association of Police Authorities, many-I think 50, or more than 50-detailed submissions, some of them very high quality in relation to many aspects of policing. I spent very significant amounts of time not only with police officers of junior rank but with police officers of very senior rank, so Peter Fahy, Sir Hugh Orde, Simon Ash and others, Lynne Owens of Surrey Police and senior officers in the Met, who were extremely generous with their time to ensure that when I was coming to judgments in relation to matters relevant in the police pay review that I was doing so on the basis of a very sound knowledge, and I drank very deeply of the cup of wisdom and experience which they offered to me. Now, that is-
Q90 Mr Clappison: Yes, on a slightly separate point, you also spoke, and I was very heartened to hear this, about your understanding of policing by consent and the importance which you attach to it, the Robert Peel model. That is something which we certainly, I believe, have in Hertfordshire. Is it something which you are going to regard as being a priority in your work in the future to ensure that that continues and prospers and the police and the public have a very good relationship with each other?
Tom Winsor: Most certainly. I think that the British model of policing, of policing by consent, of unarmed policing in our communities, in the close relationship between the police and the communities from which they come and of which they are part, I think it is extremely important, and nothing must be done to jettison or jeopardise that extremely precious part of British policing.
Q91 Michael Ellis: Mr Winsor, there has been some extraordinary and disgraceful behaviour in campaigning against you personally from some police quarters, a personalised and rather histrionic assault on you from some. Now, they say you, Mr Winsor, are not fit to take this position because you simply do not have the operational police experience, so I would like to ask you about your role in the 18 months’ work that you did on the pay and conditions report. You did not have operational police experience during that report, did you find that you were able to surround yourself with appropriate qualified and competent advisors who could assist in those areas where you might need some experience?
Tom Winsor: Yes. I was extremely ably assisted by Sir Edward Crew, former Chief Constable of the West Midlands, who gave very generously of his 40 years’ experience, but also, as I mentioned to Mr Clappison, detailed dealings with many other police officers, serving police officers and former police officers as well. So I had an embarrassment of riches when it came to advice from people who had very significant capability.
Q92 Michael Ellis: You are confident you could do the same thing again, as Chief Inspector of Constabulary?
Tom Winsor: Most certainly. HMIC has a very significant resource in-house. It also has an associate scheme, so specialists in particular fields who are in police forces can be brought in to give short-term, high-value, intensive advice and assistance in these matters.
Q93 Michael Ellis: There are other watchdogs in the criminal justice field, Probation Service, Prison Service, Crown Prosecution Service, those watchdogs have not necessarily been long-service prison officers, probation officers or prosecutors. What do you say to those in policing who feel that, unlike those other fields in criminal justice, it has to be a police officer who is a Chief Inspector of Constabulary?
Tom Winsor: Naturally, I disagree, because if I did agree, I wouldn’t have applied for the job, of course, but I do not think it is necessary. I think that the perspective of an outsider, but also the experience of an outsider in comparable, broadly comparable, circumstances can bring a richer mix to the assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness of the police. When I was rail regulator, as I mentioned to the Chairman, I was not a railway engineer or a professional economist, so I received advice. Policing is an extremely important safety-critical, essential, monopoly public service and the assets of the police service are very complex, but the principles are if you are providing a safety-critical, essential, monopoly public service you need to understand the conditions, capacity and capability, the performance, the efficiency and effectiveness of those assets, you need to nurture and develop those assets to release their greatest potential and to ensure that they are meeting the needs of the public. That is true of energy networks, transportation networks, and it is especially true when you come to the police, because the network, the infrastructure, the principal operational assets of the police are people doing very complex, not simple, things.
Q94 Michael Ellis: Just on that, so as a former regulator, how do you think that HMIC fares currently as a regulator of policing and how would you improve it?
Tom Winsor: I think that HMIC has a very impressive record, especially under the present Chief Inspector, Sir Denis O’Connor. I think that it has tackled some very tough issues recently with conspicuous ability. For example, I mentioned the policing protests report, the report on anti-social behaviour, but also shining a light and doing detailed comparisons in the costs of policing and value for money. I think also that HMIC under Sir Denis has very conspicuously raised the public profile of the organisation and has moved forces on in those areas. So those are the things that I think has been done well, but, as is well-known with a term appointment, you can never achieve everything you want to achieve. When I was in railways, I had unfinished business. There were things I would have done if I had had another two years or five years, but that was never in prospect. HMIC will never stand still; there will always be unfinished business, so I think that HMIC should go much further on the operational model of policing.
Q95 Bridget Phillipson: You appear to be suggesting, Mr Winsor, that your report was either misunderstood or wilfully misrepresented by some police officers. How do you intend to move beyond this, repair the damage that has been done for whatever reason and work with police officers at every level?
Tom Winsor: I think that the criticisms, fair or unfair, should be put to one side. It is now a political decision as to the extent, if any, to which my recommendations will be implemented. Yes, there were some angry words spoken about it and many of them were pretty off-colour and pretty unfair, but I think it is extremely important that the relationships with police forces, with police officers and police staff need to be very good in the future. So to repair the damage, I think that one of the first things that I would wish to do if confirmed in this appointment is to get out there and listen to people as much as I possibly can, to ensure that they are very cognisant of the principles on which I would lead HMIC, of serving the public interest, and ensuring that the inspections and the thematic reports are all done from the perspective of the people for whom policing exists, and that is the public. I think that through a thorough analysis and objective assessment of facts, coming to proportionate reasoned judgments, basically leading by example, I think that some of the critics will calm down, realise that this is a very professional, thorough operation and that the bridges will be capable of being repaired and rebuilt.
Q96 Bridget Phillipson: Were you approached by the recruitment agency or by Ministers to apply for this job, or did you take that decision independently?
Tom Winsor: I was approached on the day Sir Denis’ resignation was announced by Saxton Bampfylde, the headhunters, who asked me if I would be interested in applying. They emailed me the relevant papers and I thought about it long and hard, because going back into the world of public service is quite a step to take, as the Chairman mentioned. It is of course necessary for me to resign my partnership in one of the largest law firms in the world, where I have been very happy, but the allure of public service, particularly a challenge like this, was just too great for me.
Q97 Bridget Phillipson: You have talked about how there is a significant deal of change at the moment within the landscape of policing. How do you feel that the Inspectorate will sit within that new landscape with the change that is going on at the moment?
Tom Winsor: There are very significant challenges ahead and the Inspectorate is going to be very much at the forefront of some of these reforms. The world is changing a great deal in policing, some say too much, but some say it is long overdue. The architectural accountability is changing very significantly. HMIC’s own accountability is changing. Parliament has recently made it more independent of Ministers and we also have the advent of Police and Crime Commissioners, enhanced local accountability. That is a very significant change, and HMIC is going to have to forge very close and effective links with PCCs, because PCCs, with a democratic mandate to hold local officers to account, are going to need HMIC’s work to be of a high order.
Chair: We are coming on to that.
Bridget Phillipson: Thank you.
Q98 Chair: Thank you. In answer to my question just now, Mr Winsor, you said that you do not receive any remuneration for the work you did-
Tom Winsor: That is right.
Chair: -on the Winsor Review. Is that right?
Tom Winsor: Correct.
Q99 Chair: But your firm, White & Case, did receive remuneration?
Tom Winsor: No.
Q100 Chair: There is a Home Office letter in response to a Freedom of Information request which says that your law firm received £300 per day for the time that you spent with the Home Office, and that Edward Crew received £300 a day as well. On the figures that you have just given the Committee-I just think you should take advice on this-that would mean your firm received £104,700 for the time that you were not there. Were you not aware that they were paid for your services?
Tom Winsor: They have not been paid for my services. The Home Office’s answer is incorrect. We have been paid nothing.
Q101 Chair: So this letter is incorrect?
Tom Winsor: If it says we have been paid money for my services, then it is incorrect. We have been paid nothing.
Chair: That is very helpful. We will clarify the situation. Thank you.
Q102 Dr Huppert: Do you believe that if you are appointed as Chief Inspector you would be able to take on the full range of functions that your predecessors carried out, for example, being the Home Secretary’s principal advisor for operational policing, doing a certain amount of professional advice and mentoring for serving Chief Constables? Would you be able to do that or would somebody else have to lead on those specific bits of work?
Tom Winsor: The fact is that the Royal Commission in 1962 made a recommendation that the Chief Inspector of Constabulary should be the Home Secretary’s principal professional advisor on policing. That recommendation was not enacted in the Police Act 1964, which followed the Royal Commission. A great many of the Royal Commission’s recommendations were enacted. That one was not. So it has never been the legal position that the Chief Inspector of Constabulary has been the principal advisor. The terminology has some currency, but the reality is that the Home Secretary receives advice from many sources. On operational policing, for example on counter-terrorism, I expect her principal source of advice would be senior officers in the Metropolitan Police.
Q103 Dr Huppert: You describe accurately, I believe, the legal position on this, but do you accept that it has been the practice, for people in the position that you aspire to, to play the effective role of being the Home Secretary’s principal advisor on operational policing, and do you think you would be able to do that role the way your predecessors have done since 1962 and before that?
Tom Winsor: I discussed this matter with Sir Denis O’Connor, and he told me that he has never regarded himself as the Home Secretary’s principal advisor on policing. I don’t know what the relationships between previous Chief Inspectors and Home Secretaries have been. Undoubtedly, if the Chief Inspector of Constabulary had relevant expertise in a particular field-and, as I mentioned to the Chairman earlier, police officers do not have detailed expertise in everything like counter-terrorism, firearms, undercover detectives and so on-then the Home Secretary would listen to him or her, just as she does to experts in other fields. I do not accept that I would be unable to discharge the full range of functions because the Home Secretary receives advice from many sources, but the reality is that, as far as operational policing is concerned, the primary statutory objective of HMIC is to report to the Home Secretary, now to Parliament, on the efficiency and effectiveness of policing. That is the core role of HMIC and I have no expectation of doing anything less than the full core role.
Q104 Mr Clappison: From your present position, what would you see as the main challenges currently facing Chief Constables?
Tom Winsor: They are legion and they are very significant. The principal one is austerity. Future comprehensive spending reviews probably won’t be any better than the present one and, therefore, Chief Constables need to continue to find and exploit all possible opportunities for greater efficiency in their operations. They also face higher public needs and expectations for the quality of policing. As I mentioned earlier, the world is changing; the architecture of accountability, PCCs, pay reform, and the need to do more with less. I think we are moving towards a smaller police service that will have to deliver increasing levels of service with smaller resources, and that is something that most police forces and chief officers have never had to face to this extent before.
Q105 Mr Winnick: There is just one point to clear up. I don’t particularly want to pursue it, but when I said the Government-I think I used the words-"warmly welcomed" your report, the fact is that the Minister who spoke to us prior to you coming into the room made it clear that the report that was commissioned did meet with the broad support of the Government. That is for the record, so to speak.
Tom Winsor: Thank you. I didn’t know that.
Q106 Mr Winnick: Now you do. Mr Winsor, you would be, as everyone has said, the first civilian to take on this job and you have explained why you don’t believe in any way there would be a bar to carrying out the job accordingly. Do you feel, however, that, as the first civilian taking on the job in 156 years, you would find one factor more difficult than perhaps others would, namely-however unjustified it may be-the hostility of so many of the police force towards you, if you were in fact to be appointed as the Chief Inspector of Constabulary?
Tom Winsor: First, if I may gently correct you, Mr Winnick. I don’t think I would be the first civilian to hold this office because the police is a civilian force. They are civilians in uniform. The police are the public and the public are the police.
Mr Winnick: The first civilian to hold the post of Chief Inspector of Constabulary.
Tom Winsor: No, I think that all the Chief Inspectors have been civilians. If I may suggest, you mean the first non-police officer.
Mr Winnick: All right, if we want to go into semantics. We won’t pursue that.
Tom Winsor: I think it is important that we are a civilian service.
Mr Winnick: You have made the point; if you could answer the question that I put to you.
Tom Winsor: Of course. I think the hostility has been intemperate and unjustified, and I think that when the vast majority of police officers realise that my recommended pay reforms, if they are implemented, are not as severe on their personal circumstances as they have been led to believe, that hostility will die down very significantly. The reality is that a very significant proportion-it is impossible to say how many and we discussed this the last time I was here-of serving police officers are facing either a neutral financial impact of my recommendations or indeed a pay rise, even though they are in the two-year public sector pay freeze, they have a pay progression freeze and they are facing higher pension contributions.
If I may just add this: when we published the Part 1 report, which was the one that made the most significant difference if implemented, we were receiving emails of, yes, a very hostile kind about how police officers were facing financial pressures that were intolerable. We asked the police officers who were communicating with us, "What are your circumstances? How many years police service do you have? Do you do overtime on social hours? Do you have specialist skills?" We would plug them into our financial model and then email many of these police officers back saying, "Actually you are not in for a pay cut. You are in for a pay rise". So we put that model online so that people could-
Q107 Mr Winnick: I wonder if I can interrupt, Mr Winsor, because we are not discussing the report on its merits. We have had you before the Committee and obviously you have very strong views and understandably so. What I am saying is that the view or interpretation that you have given-understandably, it is your review-is not shared by so many in the police force. Therefore, if there is this feeling of antagonism or hostility, I am just asking you whether you feel it would make your job that much more difficult.
Tom Winsor: Naturally it would be much better if the police service were to unanimously welcome my appointment, but that was never going to happen. Clearly those views are not shared, but I believe my views as to the integrity of the review and the fairness of the review will come to be shared when people see the effect in their pay packet.
Q108 Mr Winnick: Yes. I wonder if I can finally put this point to you. You spoke about your robust position when you were the rail regulator. The Prime Minister wanted-perhaps wrongly or rightly, it is not for me to say-your resignation. You had difficulties with the Ministers of the day. You also had difficulties with Railtrack because the Government was so disappointed with Railtrack, with three major accidents, and acted as they saw fit. This is a rather difficult question for you to answer. It is subjective. I just wonder whether you have a conciliatory attitude sufficient to overcome what we agree could be some of the difficulties in your taking up this position. Would you say that would be part of your personality?
Tom Winsor: A conciliatory attitude? Most certainly, yes.
Chair: But you are a litigation lawyer.
Tom Winsor: No, I’m not. I am an administrative and commercial lawyer, but I do litigation as well and, at the beginning of my career I used to do criminal law with a conspicuous lack of success, mainly because most of my clients were guilty and the police evidence was overwhelming.
Chair: I think Mr Winnick has led you down memory lane. If you do not have an answer, that is fine.
Tom Winsor: I do have an answer. I am sure that the police service will see my kinder side for as long as they are pursuing the objectives of the public.
Mr Winnick: Your kinder side, I see.
Q109 Mark Reckless: I was not aware until just now that you had done as many as 347 days or that you had done so without any compensation. I, for one, would like to thank you for that, whatever the outcome of today. On page 19 of your CV you refer to how much the police service could and should have, but has not, learned from private sector enterprises. Could you give us some examples?
Tom Winsor: The police service, in too many respects, has had rising manpower numbers and insufficient pressures of a financial nature and, of course, Chief Constables are facing quite the opposite now. In my view, having done the review, they have inadequate appreciation of the condition, capability, serviceability and performance of their assets. They do not manage their assets as intelligently and as efficiently as they might and it is extremely important that those assets are deployed in the most efficient way. The private sector has to do that because the private sector, in most respects, faces competition and the police service, naturally, does not.
It is quite extraordinary just how low technology some police officers have to endure. I have seen too many police officers doing two-finger typing in a police station rather than being out on the streets fighting crime. If a private-sector organisation were to have some of its most skilled assets, to whom it has delegated the greatest amount of power, standing in a queue for four hours as they wait to book in someone who has been arrested-that is half a shift or a third of a shift just hanging around because the processing of people is poor-then those private-sector organisations would make changes very rapidly. So there is a great deal that could be achieved through improvements in technology and improvements in just the stewardship of their assets.
Q110 Mark Reckless: Mr Winsor, in your application you rest quite heavily on the importance of your role and your experience as rail regulator. Could I just ask, during your time in that position the annual amount of money being given, I believe at your say so, to Railtrack and then to Network Rail increased from £2 billion a year to £4.5 billion a year. Do you bear any responsibility for the inflation of costs within the railway industry, and how would you relate that to the current austerity in policing?
Tom Winsor: I am responsible for the financial settlement of the railway going up from £10 billion to £14.8 billion in October 2000 and then up to £22.2 billion in December 2003.
Mark Reckless: For a five-year period.
Tom Winsor: Correct, for a five-year period; whereas the police service costs a lot more. It costs about £14 billion a year. The reason why the costs of the railway went up as much as they did was largely because the asset had been severely neglected for many years, under Governments of both colours, because it is quite easy in the short term to save money by allowing an infrastructure to deteriorate slowly. When you get to the point where it needs to be fixed, it can be very expensive to bring it back up again and that is broadly why we did it. So the neglect and decay of the 1960s and 1970s were not on my watch.
Q111 Mark Reckless: If I could just ask one more question on the railway issue, given the way you put it on your CV and application. When Railtrack was pushed into administration, I understand, by the Secretary of State, Stephen Byers, at the time and you were being threatened about your response to that, you say, notwithstanding those threats, you offered Railtrack the finance to keep going but that the directors of the company had just given up and failed to keep Railtrack going. Shouldn’t they have acted in the best interests of the company?
Chair: Mr Winsor, I see you smiling. We don’t want the history of Railtrack here. A brief answer would be fine.
Tom Winsor: I have all afternoon.
Mark Reckless: Did it reflect in any way your relations with the directors of that company that you offered them this money to keep money but they gave up, didn’t take it and went into administration?
Tom Winsor: Well, they must answer for their own misjudgment on that night, but Railtrack’s board attained the highest level of their own incompetence on the night they could have saved their own lives.
Q112 Chair: Thank you. I am sorry to go back to this but, of course, as you urged the Committee in your article in The Guardian, we have to be accurate in our information. You said you received no remuneration and your firm received no remuneration and indeed Mr Reckless has just commended you for that. I am just going to give you a copy of a letter that we have received, which was a Freedom of Information request, which indicates that your firm will be paid £300 a day for your services, Sir Edward Crew £300 a day for his services and Richard Disney £16,000 for the work that he did on behalf of the University of Nottingham. I know the billing rate at White & Case is probably £300 an hour, but this comes to £104,000. Now, it is important that we are accurate. It may well be you didn’t know this, which I find strange because it is about your review. If Government officials are answering a question about your review, you ought to know because this is 20 May 2011.
Dr Huppert: It says "will".
Chair: Indeed it does say "will". So we just want you to clarify it and I think the Committee will need an answer before we reach a decision on these matters. We just want it to be cleared up now, rather than-
Tom Winsor: Yes. Well, the billing rate at White & Case is not £300 an hour.
Chair: It is more.
Tom Winsor: We couldn’t make money at that rate. The letter says, "The law firm White & Case, at which Tom Winsor is a partner, will receive £300 a day for his services." Well, the firm will only-
Q113 Chair: Is this the first time you have seen this letter?
Tom Winsor: Yes.
Q114 Chair: Right. This is while the inquiry was going on. People in the Home Office don’t tell you when they are answering Freedom of Information requests about your own review?
Tom Winsor: I am sure they should have.
Q115 Chair: They should have told you, shouldn’t they? We can clarify this very easily. After this hearing you are able to-
Tom Winsor: We have not received any money from my review.
Chair: Right, but we can get that clarified from the firm?
Tom Winsor: Yes, of course.
Chair: Because you might not know about it. There are 200 partners at White & Case.
Tom Winsor: No, there are 480-
Chair: Right, even more.
Tom Winsor: -and 6,000 employees, but I would know if the firm had issued a bill and it has not.
Q116 Chair: But you didn’t know about this letter?
Tom Winsor: I didn’t know about this letter.
Tom Winsor: But I can just say definitively to the Committee that my firm-and this is true of me as well-have not received a single penny for my services.
Q117 Chair: So your assumption is when they were offered this money it was turned down?
Tom Winsor: The terms of my appointment entitle the firm to receive this amount. That entitlement has not been exercised.
Chair: Just for completeness it would be very good to have that confirmed in a note to us. Thank you.
Tom Winsor: What more can I say?
Chair: Fine, we accept that.
Q118 Dr Huppert: Just to say that I had understood this. The position is that you were entitled to £300 per day and that was the contractual terms. You and your firm turned that money down and have not asked for that funding. Is that-
Tom Winsor: We have not asked for it.
Dr Huppert: Fine. But it was available. It was part of the contractual terms of your appointment?
Tom Winsor: Yes.
Q119 Dr Huppert: Thank you. Can I then follow on from Mr Reckless’ question about what can be learned from private-sector enterprises and press you to describe some of the challenges that are specific to policing and are different from a private enterprise of a similar size. How would you describe the key differences between the police service and indeed anything else that you have been involved in?
Tom Winsor: Well, policing is a safety-critical activity. It is an essential public service. It is a monopoly. In that respect, it is very similar to, but has many material differences from, other kinds of activity. As I said at the beginning, policing is the way in which the state discharges its highest duty to the citizen, which is to protect the citizen. So there are parallels, and there are material differences. One of the most material differences is not only the intensity of the asset base of the police, which is the expertise and performance of people, but also the fact that it delegates to its lowest-ranking people the greatest amount of power that it possesses, namely the power to take away the liberty of the subject. Therefore, any parallels, and I have seen many of them in the press with the military, are completely misconceived because police officers have a very significant amount of power and discretion exercisable on their own judgment at the point of the greatest importance, namely the interaction with the citizen.
Dr Huppert: Thank you. I am sure one could make the case that privates in the military, when they shoot somebody, are taking a decision like that.
Tom Winsor: But they can be ordered to shoot. A police officer cannot.
Q120 Dr Huppert: You have talked a lot about evidence and, while there has been some questioning of the evidence in your own report, that should be borne out either by factual evidence or not. Are you aware of the Society of Evidence Based Policing, and is that something that you would want to see encouraged throughout the police, or do you have any take on how evidence should be used within policing itself?
Tom Winsor: I am not aware of the Society of Evidence Based Policing. If it does what it sounds like it does, then I would very much like to know much more about it.
Q121 Lorraine Fullbrook: Mr Winsor, I would like to talk to you about the Inspectorate and the relationship with Police and Crime Commissioners. Who would you think that HMIC reports should be primarily aimed at? Would it be the public, Chief Constables or Police and Crime Commissioners, in your view?
Tom Winsor: Well, if you are asking me to put them in the hierarchy, because of course they have different purposes in the hands of different people, I believe that the primary focus-and therefore I would put it highest on the list since you asked me-is the public because that is the community for whose benefit policing exists. Police and crime commissioners have a democracy mandate from the public and Police and Crime Commissioners will need the services of HMIC in order to make their own judgements in holding chief officers to account. Information is the oxygen of accountability and it is extremely important that the PCCs have a ready supply. They are also addressed to chief officers, because chief officers need to know where their forces are doing well and where their forces need to make improvements. Therefore, they are an important constituent in this as well.
Q122 Lorraine Fullbrook: Thank you. Just going back to part of your question, what do you see as the main sensitivity surrounding the relationship between the independent Inspectorate and the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioners?
Tom Winsor: The sensitivities between the Inspectorate and PCCs? It is hard to tell now because we don’t have any PCCs and we don’t know how that is going to develop over time. I think it is important that PCCs, which are a massively important and radical change to the democratic accountability of police services, are equipped and given the very best chance to succeed and HMIC is going to be a critical part in their success. I do, if I were confirmed in this role, have very considerable anxiety about the power of PCCs to request HMIC to do a force inspection in their individual areas. I am not sure how many of the 43 or so PCCs that we will have in November will not exercise their right to ask HMIC to do a force inspection in terms of efficiency and effectiveness and HMIC is not presently resourced to do 43 inspections all at once. There will have to be a rationing process.
Q123 Lorraine Fullbrook: It is an interesting question, because how do you think the Inspectorate should balance the police force’s assessment against objectives set by the local commissioner with the assessment performance of national priorities?
Tom Winsor: I know there is a very considerable anxiety on the part of some chief officers that the PCCs will be focused only on the local and will neglect and apply pressure to chief officers not to play their full part in terms of the national policing landscape. I think it may very well be the role of HMIC to ensure that the protocol in relation to national issues and national co-operation is adhered to and that the PCCs do not apply improper pressure on chief officers to neglect the national responsibilities.
Lorraine Fullbrook: Great; thank you.
Q124 Alun Michael: The personal specification calls for excellent customer engagement skills. Who do you see as the Inspectorate’s customers and how would you seek to engage with them?
Tom Winsor: The principal customer of the Inspectorate is the public, but it is also PCCs. Not so much chief officers. They are more the subject of the HMIC’s attentions rather than their customers. It depends on what you mean by "customer", of course.
Q125 Alun Michael: If I may, it is the engagement I was asking about and, traditionally, I would think the engagement might be primarily with chief officers rather than the public. So your answer on the customers is quite an interesting one.
Tom Winsor: Well, the engagement is going to have to be multifaceted. One of the things that I think Sir Denis O’Connor has done with conspicuous success and needs to be built upon is to raise the public profile of HMIC. I think it is extremely important that a regulatory authority or a hybrid regulatory authority, which is what HMIC is, takes very seriously the duty to explain. When I was rail regulator I put that very high in our operational priorities, because if you explain what you are doing and why you are doing it, and also why you are not doing some things, in rational, proportionate terms then people appreciate it, they understand it and you can have a much better dialogue with those people when you do explain these things. So I think the duty to explain should be taken extremely seriously and, therefore, the public profile of HMIC should go ever higher so the public know that HMIC is on their side.
Q126 Alun Michael: In relation to that, let’s just look at the priorities then. We have concentrated quite a bit the issue of change and bringing about change and, of course, that is something about which you have said quite a lot, but isn’t it also a major priority for the Inspectorate to continually bring the police back to the two basic requirements? Indeed, one of those is to prevent and reduce offending, as set out by Sir Robert Peel originally and reinforced in recent times by Ministers. The other one, the relationship where the public are the police and the police are the public, you have referred to in terms. But bringing the police back to that original "Peelian" concept of the priority being to prevent and reduce crime, is that not an important part of the role of the Inspectorate?
Tom Winsor: I think the primary purpose of the police is the prevention of crime. We have in this country, England and Wales at least, one of the highest reoffending rates in Europe; three times the rate of some Scandinavian countries. I think the best way of reducing re-offending is to prevent offending in the first place. Therefore, the focus of the police should be much more proactive in preventing crime than reactive once crime has taken place. That is what the public want. They just don’t want crime to be there. Rather than see the conspicuous and brutal treatment of offenders, what they want to see is safer communities and a feeling of safety as they walk around, but not just the feeling of safety; the reality of safety.
Alun Michael: That would be a key part of your vision of what the Inspectorate should be encouraging?
Tom Winsor: Most certainly, because that is the primary purpose of the police.
Q127 Alun Michael: Can I ask you about one other thing and that is you have talked about frontline policing. Indeed, it is something I asked you about in a previous appearance before this Committee. Having been back to your report, as you suggested at the time, I am still not clear what you mean by "frontline policing". I think it is even more important that we should be clear what the Chief Inspector means by the term "frontline policing" and how you would seek to influence the police as Chief Inspector in maintaining frontline policing. Could you set out your thoughts on that, please?
Tom Winsor: I do not regard frontline policing as only visible policing. I think a great deal of frontline policing takes place beyond the eyes of the public but is no less important and, in many respects, is much more important than the senior police officer in a car or walking the street. For example, a great deal of work takes place in domestic violence or in child protection, as well as, of course, counter-terrorism, undercover policing, the destruction of criminal networks and serious and organised crime. Those things very largely, if not exclusively, take place beyond the public eye, but I do not regard a police officer who does what I believe to be the most stressful-not the most dangerous but the most stressful-thing in policing that I have been able to see, namely watching images and videos of children being tortured and murdered, as not being on the frontline, even though they are sitting in a police station and looking at a computer screen. That is the frontline.
Q128 Alun Michael: Would you accept then that possibly we need some work on enhancing the common understanding in the Inspectorate, in the police in general and in the public of what this term means if we are to continue using it?
Tom Winsor: Yes. There is a great deal of terminology in the police that seems to have multiple understandings, but I think the frontline is one that would benefit from a common understanding.
Q129 Michael Ellis: Mr Winsor, I want to ask you about your accountability going forward but, before I do, I think, in answer to a question you gave to one of my colleagues a while ago, you said that you wanted more of an operational role for the Chief Inspector of Constabulary. Would you like to expand a little on how you envisage that happening?
Tom Winsor: I don’t think I said a more operational role in the Chief Inspector. What I said-correct me if I am wrong-is that the HMIC should be looking much more at the operating model of policing and making assessments as to whether that is as efficient and effective as possible in matters, for example, such as the use of technology. I was staggered when I did my field work in the police pay review at just how low-tech the technology of the police is in volume crime and so on. It is extraordinary.
Q130 Michael Ellis: You envisage a role for the Inspectorate in perhaps being critical where technology hasn’t kept up with developments as far as policing is concerned?
Tom Winsor: I think HMIC already is critical in those respects. They have computer screens that resemble those that we saw in the early 1980s. I mentioned the police officers doing their own two-finger typing and so on. It is the most extraordinarily archaic system, and I think it is part of HMIC’s role to expose inefficiency and that surely is massively inefficient.
Q131 Michael Ellis: Yes. As to accountability, how would you characterise the relationship between the Chief Inspector and the Home Secretary? How would you envisage that happening and working with you as the Chief Inspector, whoever the Home Secretary was to be?
Tom Winsor: Yes. We’ll assume that certain Ministers with whom I have dealt will not come back. They are different roles. Criminal justice policy undoubtedly is in the hands of the Government, principally the Home Secretary, and HMIC is the quasi regulator of the police service making assessments as to what is being done to achieve the public policy objectives that are set by Parliament, as the supreme regulatory authority, and by Ministers. The HMIC and the Chief Inspector will report to Parliament under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, and now lays those reports to Parliament, but the Home Secretary has reserve powers in relation to the inspection programme and can ask for specific inspections. I think the role of HMIC is to speak the truth under power, and the power in the land is Parliament and the Ministers.
Q132 Michael Ellis: How do you see the Inspectorate being accountable to Parliament?
Tom Winsor: Firstly, through the making of reports and, secondly, through-
Michael Ellis: Perhaps you coming to this Committee?
Tom Winsor: -appearances like this and the Chairman has reminded me of my encouragement that they should be as rough as possible. As long as the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, the Home Secretary and Ministers are mindful and properly observant of the respective roles of the two, then I believe it can be a very constructive relationship. As I mentioned earlier, if the Home Secretary wanted a meek and compliant regulatory authority, she would not have chosen me.
Q133 Michael Ellis: I don’t think she wants a meek and compliant authority. If your appointment is proceeded with, we will, no doubt, be taking evidence from you again in a year’s time, perhaps less. Now, what would you hope your main achievements would be by this time next year?
Tom Winsor: That is an invitation to provide you with any number of hostages and so I will accept it. One of the things I would like to be able to point to is a higher visibility, a higher public role for HMIC, as I mentioned to Mr Michael in his questioning; increasing the visibility, accessibility and credibility of HMIC. When I began the police pay review I had hardly any awareness of HMIC. I knew it existed and had seen some of their reports, but not much. I think I would like to be able to say that HMIC explains more fully and proactively what it is HMIC does and why it does it. I would like to be able to point to the establishment of good working relationships with PCCs, with Parliament and Ministers, with police forces and good relationships with other parts of the criminal justice system, because it is supposed to be a single system. I would like to be able to report on an encouragement of more collegiate behaviour between police forces and to have begun to shine light in some of the darkest corners of policing. Policing today so often starts at the point of human failure and then policing is into a mode of recovery and stabilisation. I think there is very considerable advantage to be gained by turning it round into a reactive and a proactive model of prevention of crime.
Q134 Michael Ellis: You would like the Inspectorate of policing to be more transparent than it has been hitherto, more visible to the public?
Tom Winsor: I think Sir Denis O’Connor and his colleagues have made very great strides in that respect, but it is not the end of the journey; so yes.
Q135 Michael Ellis: The scenario is changing with Police and Crime Commissioners. Would you say the transparency that will be evident from those elections can be mirrored by you in the role of Chief Inspector of Constabulary?
Tom Winsor: Broadly, yes. They are, of course, completely different roles, but I think, as I said to Mr Michael and to others on the Committee earlier, the duty to explain is extremely important and, therefore, I believe that if HMIC were to intensify and to increase its adherence to that duty then very great advantage would be gained.
Q136 Mr Winnick: Mr Winsor, if you are appointed does that mean that you would no longer be able to express your views in public on various issues of the day?
Tom Winsor: I suppose I might be constrained. I haven’t seen the terms of appointment, but I would certainly be refraining from writing articles in The Guardian newspaper encouraging people to be aggressive with me.
Chair: You mean Select Committees to be aggressive with you?
Tom Winsor: Anyone, Chair. I have had my fill of aggression for a lifetime.
Q137 Mr Winnick: Or perhaps, Mr Winsor, articles in The Times. Indeed, you have made a reference in your CV that we could look up the articles that you wrote. You consider that the pension given to Fred Goodwin of £690,000, somewhat above a police officer’s pension, was perfectly justified and you are perfectly entitled to your view. Do you feel that if you were Chief Inspector of Constabulary you would not be able to write that?
Tom Winsor: Firstly, I think it is not an accurate reading of that article that I was suggesting that Goodwin’s pension was perfectly justified. I said he had a contractual entitlement to it. I didn’t say it was justified.
Mr Winnick: Which, in plain English, means he should receive it. Again, Mr Winsor, less semantics and perhaps we can get on with answering the question.
Tom Winsor: The principal question that you have asked me, of course, is would I feel free to express my views on matters of political controversy. No, I think I should be constrained.
Q138 Chair: Thank you. I think that is a very good answer. We are coming to the end of this session now. This appointment is for three years, as I understand it, which will take you up to 2015. Is that your understanding as well?
Tom Winsor: Yes. I think it is extendable by a further two, but not further than that.
Q139 Chair: Mr Ellis asked you about your vision for policing during that three-year period. You quite rightly said it takes time to change a landscape, but you are right in the middle of this transformation by the Government of the landscape of policing, and he did mention the new company that has been set up by the Government to look at IT, which we are also scrutinising. Will you be involved in discussions concerning that company, bearing in mind your concerns about the age of some of the IT used by police forces?
Tom Winsor: If I am not invited to those discussions, I shall probably push my way in, because it is absolutely core to the efficiency and effectiveness of policing.
Q140 Chair: Would you also see your role as being involved in other aspects of the landscape of policing; what should go into the National Crime Agency, for example?
Tom Winsor: Insofar as it is relevant to the primary purpose of HMIC, the efficiency and effectiveness of policing, then, yes, I would expect to have some part to play in those respects. What I would not do is to over-reach the jurisdiction of HMIC. We saw far too much of that in the railways-I realise you would not like me to take you back there-and that is quite illegitimate. HMIC has plenty to do without arrogating to itself a jurisdiction that it does not possess because Parliament has not given it to it.
Q141 Chair: Before you came in, I referred to the Minister’s article in The Times about his ideal police officer, whether it was Dixon of Dock Green or Inspector Morse, which is what was put to him in that article. Do you have your own view of what you regard as being the ideal police officer in 21st century British policing?
Tom Winsor: I think the ideal police officer exists in many thousands in British policing. They are the honest, hard-working, energetic, skilled police officers who do a great deal for nothing, through goodwill and through the application and dedication that they show in serving the public. They didn’t go into policing to make money, but they do want to be treated fairly and they are frustrated at the inefficiencies and the obstacles and barriers to their being as effective as possible. I think that HMIC has a role to ensure that those police officers’ motivations and their latent capacity is released and nurtured so they can achieve much more. That is what they want and, it seems to me, exposing and dealing with inefficiency and ineffectiveness is part of that. I don’t at the moment have a pen sketch of what the ideal police officer is beyond that, but it may be that on a future occasion you will ask me again.
Q142 Chair: Guidance to Committees on pre-appointments enable us to ask this question, so this is not personally directed at you. You are not a member of a political party at the moment, though you have been in the past. Is that correct?
Tom Winsor: Correct.
Q143 Chair: Is that in the distant past?
Tom Winsor: I resigned from the Labour Party in 2006.
Q144 Chair: As far as our role is here, it is not to assess the best candidate because we don’t know who the other candidates were. You may or may not know who they were. Our role is to assess the professional competence and personal independence of the Home Secretary’s preferred candidate. Is that your understanding of our role as well?
Tom Winsor: Yes.
Chair: Mr Winsor, thank you very much for coming in. The Committee will now go into private session and we will have our decision by the end of today, and I will be in contact with you at some stage.
Tom Winsor: Thank you.
Chair: Thank you very much for coming in.