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Home Affairs Committee - Minutes of EvidenceHC 1877-i
Taken before the Home Affairs Committee
on Tuesday 13 March 2012
Keith Vaz (Chair)
Mr James Clappison
Mr David Winnick
Examination of Witness
Witness: Tom Winsor, author of the Independent Review of Police Officer and Staff Remuneration and Conditions, gave evidence.
Q1 Chair: Mr Winsor, first of all, I seem to be constantly apologising to you. On the last occasion you gave evidence you were kept waiting. I apologise again that you had to be kept waiting.
Are there any interests to declare?
Alun Michael: Chairman, as we are dealing with policing issues, I should declare that I have announced that I wish to stand for election as a police and crime commissioner in the South Wales area.
Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Michael.
Mr Winsor, it has taken you an awfully long time, has it not, to publish part 2 of your report? Why has it taken so long?
Tom Winsor: It is an extremely important subject. My original terms of reference provided for me to publish part 1 in January 2011 and for part 2 to come out in June. The almost unanimous opinion of the police staff associations and others, after seeing part 1, was that to rush part 2 in so short a time after part 1 would have been wrong. They needed to spend a great deal of time preparing their case and engaging with the Police Negotiating Board. That was a very intensive process and they asked for a longer period. Taking more time on part 2 also enabled me to consult much more fully on it, to follow the Cabinet Office guidelines of 12 weeks for the consultation period, and also to deal more fully with the very controversial and important issues that have been raised in part 2.
Q2 Chair: So when do we expect to see part 2?
Tom Winsor: 10.30am on Thursday.
Chair: Of this week?
Tom Winsor: Yes.
Q3 Chair: In respect of part 1, we were very concerned to receive a letter from Ian Rennie, the General Secretary of the Police Federation-a copy of which he sent to the Committee; the original of which was sent to you-concerning your claims before the Committee to have met a number of police officers who formed the basis of your conclusions for part 1. Some of these police officers denied having spoken to you; some did not exist; some were on holiday at the time you said you had spoken to them. Have you seen that letter?
Tom Winsor: Yes. I replied to it.
Q4 Chair: Why do you think the Police Federation raised these issues with you and questioned so categorically the points that you made to this Committee in evidence?
Tom Winsor: I don’t know. The Police Federation must answer for their own motives. I answered the letter fully, and I think you have seen a copy of my answer. I spoke to a very significant number of police officers and police staff during the consultation period for part 1. My field trips were to Northern Ireland, Scotland and a number of police forces in England and Wales, and I was very much in listening mode. There was nothing in part 1 that in any way implies that any of the named police officers in question, or members of police staff, were even aware of my intended conclusions at the time that I spoke to them. I was actually receiving information from them. I discussed issues with them, but nothing in part 1 attributes any comments to any police officer-contrary to what the Police Federation have said in their letter; nor does it in any way imply that any of them individually supported my conclusions. At the time I spoke to them I had not formulated any conclusions, so I could hardly discuss my conclusions with them when I had no conclusions.
Q5 Chair: It seems to be disputed fact. For example, PC 7772 Hulme was on annual leave and he never met you and further on, as far as Kent Police are concerned, Sergeant 8071 Stevens-this is quite a detailed analysis that they have done-said that he did speak to you but could not have left you with the impression that he was in favour of your reforms. Obviously you went to Wales, but you have never spoken to PC Jemma Jones.
Tom Winsor: All I can say is that as far as the officers that are stated not to exist, their names were given to me either by the people I met-I do not do Pitman shorthand but I wrote them down as carefully as I possibly could.
Q6 Chair: Did you not have a machine? Were you not recording what they were saying?
Tom Winsor: In some cases I was, but not in all cases.
Q7 Chair: No, but you can refer back to the machine and the recording so you know exactly what their names are.
Tom Winsor: I could if the machine was sufficiently sensitive, but it wasn’t on all the time. The names were either given to me by the people in question or they were given to me by their supervisors. In a number of cases it was the latter, and it is perfectly possible that the supervisors gave me the names of the people whom I was expected to meet but actually one or two people may not have turned up at the time. It is an honest mistake.
Q8 Chair: So you accept that there were people who you quoted who were not there?
Tom Winsor: I have not quoted anyone in the part 1 report; no one.
Chair: No, but you based conclusions on conversations you had with police officers you had not met.
Tom Winsor: No. I did not. I only based my conclusions on conversations that I had had. It may be that the names in appendix 6 of the report are not a complete and accurate account of the people that I met, but that is only as a result of an honest mistake, either because I cannot do shorthand or the people in question did not turn up and their supervisors thought they had turned up. As far as the sergeant in Kent is concerned, in some way insisting that I have attributed to him any comments, which I have not, or that he supported my conclusions when I gave him none, that is just simply not correct and it is quite extraordinary. It also says that there was a police officer in Kent, Cranbrook Police Station, who was on holiday at the time. Well, I have sent Mr Rennie a copy of the person’s business card, which was given to me on that occasion. If somebody else gave me his business card, that is not a matter for me.
Q9 Chair: You have just told the Committee you are doing this major inquiry, which is very, very important. The Home Secretary has given you this very important task-gave you this task just after she was appointed in 2010. You have a piece of equipment that is not sensitive enough to hear what people have to say. Was there not a duty on you to make sure that all the information was absolutely accurate? What concerns the Committee is that after we published our report, The New Landscape of Policing, you then put a letter on your website saying that our report was misleading and flawed. In what way was the report of the Committee of this House misleading and flawed?
Tom Winsor: I think I said so in my letter, which I do not have in front of me but-
Chair: Tell us, who did we mislead and why was it flawed?
Tom Winsor: I think it proceeded on the basis that I had attributed to people that I had not met comments that they had not made and, for the reasons I have just given, that is not correct.
Q10 Chair: What? The whole report was based on something that someone did or did not say to you. Surely that is not the case.
Tom Winsor: No. I am not talking about the whole report. I am talking about those parts that were critical of my process in part 1. My process in part 1 was more-
Q11 Chair: But you have just accepted that you had a machine that did not pick up people’s conversations, and that some of the people listed in your report were not there. You have just told this Committee that.
Tom Winsor: In one or two cases there may have been an honest mistake in the statement of the people that I met. The fundamental point that has been made in criticism is that I have attributed to people comments they did not make, and there is nothing in part 1 that attributes any comment to any named police officer, apart from one member of Kent Police staff who made the comment in question on the record in a transcripted seminar and we published the transcript. That is it.
Q12 Chair: Can I just make it clear, Mr Winsor, for the record, that the Committee’s report was unanimous; it was neither misleading nor flawed.
Tom Winsor: I am sure it believes that to be true.
Mr Winnick: Could you repeat that? I didn’t quite-
Tom Winsor: Yes. I am sure the Committee believes that to be true.
Mr Winnick: Indeed we do, Mr Winsor.
Chair: We do not know of any other witness who has behaved in this way.
Q13 Alun Michael: What impact has the decision of the Police Arbitration Tribunal had on part 2 of your review?
Tom Winsor: The Arbitration Tribunal has supported most of the recommendations in part 1, but in a number of respects it has either deferred consideration of certain issues until the part 2 report and in some issues it just disagreed with me. It has made a number of determinations that differ from part 1, which will lead to the savings contemplated by part 1 being less than I had projected for part 1. So it will cost money, and my estimate is that it will cost in the region of about £30 million in 2012-13. In other words, the savings will be that much lower.
Q14 Alun Michael: That is the impact in terms of costs or savings?
Tom Winsor: In savings.
Q15 Alun Michael: What other impact would it have?
Tom Winsor: As I have mentioned, it has deferred consideration, for example, of the link of pay and skills until part 2. I made a recommendation that there should be an expertise and professional accreditation allowance of £1,200 a year for officers with particular specialist skills. It has recommended that that be deferred until part 2, when my conclusions and recommendations on contribution- and skills-based pay are known. So that is a cost that has been avoided for the short term, because that is £1,200 a year that quite a number of officers would have been receiving now that they are not going to get. They have recommended that the progression freeze does not apply to officers on the first three pay points of the constable scale. They have recommended that the competence-related threshold payments, which I said should be abolished, should not be abolished and new applications should be deferred for two years. They have deferred a decision on competence-related threshold payments until they have seen my recommendations on contribution- and skills-related pay. That assumes that my part 2 recommendations get to the Police Arbitration Tribunal. On casual overtime they disagreed with me that the time-and-a-third rate should be reduced to plain time. So in a number of respects they differ from me, but in most respects they have supported my recommendations.
Q16 Alun Michael: Did the decision of the Police Arbitration Tribunal have any significant impact on the delay of publication, given that, as the Chairman has already commented, there has been considerable delay?
Tom Winsor: It has not been that considerably delayed. It has only been delayed by six weeks, and that was because in order to produce part 2 and to do the financial modelling for part 2 as well as come up with the policy recommendations, it was necessary for me to know what the Home Secretary’s final decision on part 1 would be. We had operated on the basis that the Police Negotiating Board process and the Police Arbitration Tribunal process, if it were engaged, would operate much more quickly than in fact it did. The Police Arbitration Tribunal’s determination did not come out until the first week of January this year, and the Home Secretary’s decision did not come until 30 January this year, so I shall be publishing part 2 six weeks after knowing the fate of part 1. I do not think that is an unreasonable period of time to enable me to reconsider my conclusions in part 2, do the financial modelling and write the report.
Q17 Steve McCabe: Mr Winsor, you have just told the Committee that you accept there may have been some errors in the evidence and supporting detail in part 1 that were down to an honest mistake. Do you also accept the criticism of the Police Arbitration Tribunal that the quality of some of the data was pretty variable and it made it quite difficult for them to arrive at conclusions, and perhaps that is why in almost a third of the recommendations they were not able to arrive at conclusions? I think they talk particularly about the quality assessments in the overtime data you provided. Do you accept that criticism?
Tom Winsor: No.
Q18 Steve McCabe: You do not accept that they were wrong to make that criticism.
Tom Winsor: I do not accept that they have done what you said, but I will explain that. Your opening remarks were that I have accepted that there are errors in the evidence that I used.
Q19 Steve McCabe: No. I said you accepted that in the supporting evidence and detail some people are named who you may not have met or who may not have been the people you thought you were meeting. You accepted that there may have been some errors there and you said that was an honest mistake, and I am not querying that. I am now asking, do you accept the criticism that the Police Arbitration Tribunal made about some of the data you provided?
Tom Winsor: Right. Thank you. Just on that point, I met 176 police officers in part 1 and there are questions about the existence or evidence of three of them. As I said earlier, there is no question that the evidence on which I proceeded was in any way flawed. There is only a question about the names of the individuals.
Q20 Steve McCabe: I have not challenged that, Mr Winsor. I was just simply reflecting back what I thought you had told the Committee. But I am anxious to know whether you accept what the Police Arbitration Tribunal said.
Tom Winsor: What they have said in paragraph 35 on page 22 is that the staff side in the arbitration were concerned about the quality of the data. They say nothing there about their own concerns about the quality of the data. On page 35, in paragraph 59 of the PAT determination, they said, in relation to payment for casual overtime, that there was an issue that would suggest that there may be scope for seeking to improve the quality of management data in this area. Those are the two criticisms they make in relation to data quality. The first is not a criticism by them, and the second one is merely a statement that there may be scope for improving quality. I had to work, both in part 1 and part 2, with the data quality that was available to me.
The police service lacks even basic management data that other organisations and industries would take for granted. My review uses, and has used, the most comprehensive and robust data yet gathered on police pay and conditions, and there has never been this much data or data of this quality before. As well as undertaking a review of existing evidence, my staff and I undertook our own extensive data gathering for part 1. For instance, data were collected on the cost of officer and staff overtime by function each year from 2000-2001. That had never been done before. So I reject any suggestion that we have proceeded on the basis of data that could have been better if we had worked harder. The contrary is the case. No review of police pay has proceeded on the basis of more data of higher quality than ours.
Q21 Mr Winnick: What is your assessment, Mr Winsor, of morale currently in the police service?
Tom Winsor: I think morale is-
Mr Winnick: High?
Tom Winsor: No. I don’t think it is high. I think the dedication and commitment of police officers remains commendably high, and I think that many police officers recognise that this review is about rewarding the hardworking police officers who are committed and who want to improve and use their skills. I have a very high regard for police officers and staff who do an essential job of protecting the public-
Mr Winnick: I am sure we all do.
Tom Winsor: But it is undoubtedly the case that morale is in some cases at a low ebb. They told me when I was visiting police forces that morale was already low, and one of the principal reasons was an intense resentment at the unfairness of the police pay system, which they have endured for a very long time and I am making recommendations to reform.
Q22 Mr Winnick: Whatever unhappiness they may have had in the past, the Police Federation conducted a survey of its members in which some 42,000 officers participated, and the result, according to the Police Federation, is 89% strongly agree the proposed changes in their terms and conditions would see morale among police officers fall and 61% agree that officers quite likely would leave the service as a result. Do you have any opinions on that survey or do you think it is valid or-
Tom Winsor: I don’t know how scientific the survey was, but I suggest that morale would be far higher in the police service if my proposals were more widely and accurately understood and explained to the people who are then asked to participate in a survey.
Q23 Mr Winnick: So you take the view that the Police Federation have distorted, deliberately or otherwise, your recommendations for their own purpose. Is that what you are telling us?
Tom Winsor: I am not suggesting they have done it deliberately.
Mr Winnick: They have not done it deliberately, but they have distorted?
Tom Winsor: I think there have been distortions. When part 1 was published, we received in the review quite a number of communications from police officers who were extremely concerned that they were going to be materially worse off as a result of the recommendations in part 1 if they were implemented. We were so concerned that these police officers were undergoing this degree of distress that we asked those who communicated with us, or a number of them, what were their individual circumstances-what rank, their length of service, the nature of the work they did. We keyed that information into our financial model and worked out on a case-by-case basis what the financial consequences would be in those individual cases for those police officers. In a number of cases we were able to say to them that far from being several thousand pounds a year worse off they were, in some cases, several hundred pounds-and in some cases over £1,000-a year better off.
We then took the step of putting the financial model on our website to enable police officers individually to key in their data and also to download the thing. As I understand it, the instrument went viral, as it is said. It went all around the police service and the emails dried up almost immediately. I think that the people in question need to know the real facts about the recommendations.
Chair: I think we are on morale here. This is the question.
Q24 Mr Winnick: I put this as gently as possible to you, Mr Winsor: you do give the impression, whether you agree or not, that everyone involved seems to be misunderstanding. According to you, the Committee was wrong in its unanimous conclusions; the Police Federation have distorted, if not deliberately, what you have recommended. To put it bluntly, it appears everyone is wrong except yourself.
Tom Winsor: All I would wish people to do is to read and understand the recommendations that I have made. I believe that if they do they will see that it is a balanced package of reform, contemplating savings in part 1 of £1.1 billion over three years, £635 million of which would be redirected to the frontline police officers who work hard and do dangerous and skilful jobs.
Q25 Chair: You did say to this Committee on 14 June-question 442-that 40% of police officers are going to be worse off as a result of your proposals. You cannot expect them to be dancing in the streets, can you, if 40% of them are going to be worse off?
Tom Winsor: It is necessary-
Chair: Would you expect them to be happy about that?
Tom Winsor: No, of course I don’t expect them to be happy about it.
Q26 Chair: So you understand why morale is low?
Tom Winsor: I understand why the morale of those who are going to be worse off, some of them not very worse off-
Q27 Chair: Well, 40% of the police force according to you.
Tom Winsor: Yes. But each one is not going to be as worse off as the next one. Some are going to be materially worse off, some of them may be relatively worse off by a relatively small amount.
Chair: So there are levels of unhappiness. Mr McCabe has a supplementary.
Q28 Steve McCabe: I just want to check what Mr Winsor said to me a moment ago. I have been looking at what the ACAS report, the Decision of the Police Arbitration Tribunal, said, which is, "In its published ruling the tribunal repeatedly noted the inadequate quality of data available on which to base its decisions on matters such as the cost of overtime. It commented, ‘Some of the evidence presented to the tribunal, particularly in the areas of equality assessments and the cost of various categories of overtime, was of variable quality’". Is it not reasonable to accept that they were making some criticism, Mr Winsor?
Tom Winsor: I don’t know what evidence was presented to the tribunal. I was not a participant in the tribunal proceedings. Evidence presented to the tribunal of variable quality was not necessarily evidence presented by me. I was not a participant in those proceedings. I do not know what evidence they are talking about. It may be evidence that-
Q29 Steve McCabe: But all the data you gave them was perfect-it was the most reliable data available.
Tom Winsor: I didn’t say it was perfect. I said it was the best available.
Q30 Steve McCabe: You gave them the best possible data available, yet they thought it was of variable quality and pretty hard to arrive at decisions on.
Tom Winsor: I did not give the tribunal any data.
Q31 Steve McCabe: Where is this inconsistency coming from? Am I imagining what I am reading here?
Tom Winsor: They are talking about the evidence presented to the tribunal. I do not know what evidence was presented to the tribunal. It may be evidence presented from another source or it may be evidence presented by-
Q32 Steve McCabe: Wasn’t the tribunal trying to rule on the basis of part 1 of the Winsor report? Was that not the whole object of your exercise-to actually make all these recommendations on which they were supposed to rule?
Tom Winsor: Of course, and I have every expectation that a large part of the data presented to the tribunal was presented by one side or the other coming from my report, but I have no knowledge as to whether or not there was other evidence presented to the tribunal that did not come from my report, and I do not know which evidence they are criticising.
Q33 Steve McCabe: Can I ask you one last thing? Given that you do not know if they were criticising you or not-we do know that, as I say, they could not come to a judgment on about a third of your recommendations and they seem to say that is because they were not too satisfied with the data-will there be anything you do differently in Winsor part 2? Will you raise your game in any way to try to make sure they do not have that trouble the next time?
Tom Winsor: I have no knowledge as to whether the Police Arbitration Tribunal will be engaged at all on part 2. As far as part 2 is concerned, it is written. It is being printed now.
Q34 Steve McCabe: Well, have you been able to raise your game? Have you taken any of this into account?
Tom Winsor: We have operated on the very best information that the police service has been able to provide to us and we have got further and high-quality data from our own efforts, but you will see in part 2 that I will make recommendations in relation to data quality in the police service.
Q35 Lorraine Fullbrook: Mr Winsor, I would like to ask you exactly how you have gone about producing the recommendations in part 2 of the review, which I understand includes some recommendations from part 1 that were delayed until part 2, namely those regarding on-call pay, the review after three years and role-related pay, which I believe were delayed until part 2. How have you gone about producing the recommendations, firstly for part 2, and who did you consult for these recommendations in part 2?
Tom Winsor: The methodology in part 2 is substantially the same methodology as for part 1. As I mentioned at the beginning to the Chairman, there was a three-month consultation process. During part 1 we received 58 formal submissions and 7,100 posts on our website, and I met over 176 officers and staff. In part 2, I received 75 formal submissions following a three-month consultation period, open to anyone who was interested. We had over 2,000 website posts. We held five transcripted seminars with interested parties, and I also had other meetings with a range of individuals and organisations. In my opinion, this is a far broader consultation than was done in any other review of police pay, such as that held by Lord Edmund-Davies in 1978. I have carefully considered all the submissions made to me, formal and informal, when coming to my recommendations in part 2, together with evidence from a number of sources, including those from experts to whom I have spoken and other sources.
Q36 Lorraine Fullbrook: Thank you, Mr Winsor. Can I ask who the individuals and organisations were that you consulted, in addition to your online posts?
Tom Winsor: All of the staff associations, the Police Federation principally, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Police Superintendents’ Association, UNISON, Unite, the GMB, individual police officers, senior police officers, serving police officers of lower rank, members of police staff-the whole range-and this Committee of course.
Q37 Michael Ellis: Mr Winsor, we heard that you interviewed 176, I think you said, police officers, and there is a question about three of them that you have been asked about. Do you think that there is an attack on the integrity of your report because some interests resent the report and its contents?
Tom Winsor: It is hard to say. I think that the questioning in relation to three names out of 176, which if they are wrong are a product of an honest mistake, is a bit of a storm in a teacup and it does not undermine the integrity of the review. The review document part 1 is an extremely thorough piece of work, proceeding on the very best quality data of all. The consultations that I carried out were very extensive, and I believe that the conclusions are very soundly based. Why people attack them is for them to answer, but clearly this is a controversial matter. The pay system that we have at the moment is a structure designed in 1920, which was last fundamentally reformed in 1978. It is a pay review system from a different era, and the national financial conditions, as well as the need for police forces to raise performance whilst reducing budgets, mean that radical reform is required.
Q38 Michael Ellis: That is exactly what I was going to ask you next, which is, have you effectively come to a clear conclusion that there are fundamental unfairnesses within the current system?
Tom Winsor: Yes.
Q39 Michael Ellis: Is it your view that a number of serving police officers are hard done by by unfairnesses within the system that they are serving under at the moment?
Tom Winsor: Yes. I believe that morale is low in many cases for that reason, because officers are facing equal pay for unequal work.
Q40 Michael Ellis: Is it your conclusion consequently that there is a fundamental necessity for a reform of the pay and conditions?
Tom Winsor: Yes.
Q41 Michael Ellis: Have you taken into consideration, as well as the historical unfairnesses that are built into the system, the economic climate at the moment in the country, in terms of the availability of fiscal resources, or is that not something that you have considered?
Tom Winsor: Certainly. My terms of reference require me to have regard to the national financial conditions, which are, as we all know, very severe.
Q42 Michael Ellis: Do you expect the type of person who is interested in joining the police service in the future will change as a result of your report, or recommendations that might be taken to fruition as a result of your report? In other words, do you see the makeup of the police, its diversity and its intake, changing in the future?
Tom Winsor: You are leading me into matters of part 2, which is-
Q43 Michael Ellis: Yes, quite deliberately.
Chair: We appreciate you have not published part 2. We will have you back to talk about part 2.
Michael Ellis: Unless you are prepared to give us a little information in advance.
Q44 Chair: Are you going to be tempted by Mr Ellis to give him a snippet?
Michael Ellis: People usually are.
Tom Winsor: Tempted, but I will not succumb.
Q45 Michael Ellis: What were you going to say, Mr Winsor?
Tom Winsor: All I would say is that the police officers and members of police staff who I think will not suffer any reduction in morale and who deserve the greatest careful consideration are those who are working hard doing the toughest jobs in difficult conditions and who are using and acquiring additional skills that are of importance to the principal purpose of the police, which is the prevention of crime and the protection of the public. I expect and hope that my reforms, if they are implemented, will encourage people of high ability, commitment and dedication who want to do this critical public service, and to do it well, to come into the police service because they will see that their contribution will be fully recognised and properly rewarded.
Q46 Chair: Mr Winsor, what concerns this Committee are the stories of police officers now having to take second jobs because they simply can’t afford to live on the salaries that they are getting: 3,671 Metropolitan Police officers have declared that they have second jobs, 14 in the security sector, and I was given figures this morning by Radio Kent that 157 police officers in the Kent area had second jobs. Do you think that there is a risk that the reduction in pay for 40% of currently serving police officers will mean that some of them-more of them-apply to get second jobs and so, instead of having a full-time professional service, which is what we all want, they will actually be part-timers?
Tom Winsor: Police officers are permitted to have other jobs and other business interests, but that is subject to the approval of the Chief Constable, and there are certain occupations that they are not allowed to have, such as publicans.
Chair: Yes, we know that.
Tom Winsor: Some shift patterns do enable police officers to work four days a week, sometimes three-and-a-half days a week, and do give them the opportunity on another day or two days a week to do some other work. That does not mean to say that they are driven to do so because they are not being paid enough as police officers. It is just that they are managing to earn their full police officer salary in a shorter period of the week and they want to do something else. It seems to me that is entirely legitimate, provided the Chief Constable’s approval is given.
Q47 Chair: But nobody has said to you, "The reason why I have a second job is I really can’t make ends meet"? I have talked to police officers in the Palace of Westminster and they talk about the Australian system where, as a result of the reductions, a number of police officers in Australia are having to be police officers and in the evening go off and be builders and decorators. That can’t be right for the police service, can it, if they have to do that in order to make ends meet?
Tom Winsor: No, not if they have to do it, but the reforms that I have recommended, if implemented-and some of them will be-will concentrate additional pay on the frontline and on the officers, as I said to Mr Ellis, who are doing the hardest jobs. There is an unsocial hours allowance, so a 10% uplift in pay for those who are working the night shifts, between 8.00 pm and 6.00 am, and that goes right up to the inspecting ranks as well; as well as additional payment for skills. If the police officers in question are doing the tough jobs and the skilled jobs, they have an opportunity to raise their pay. It may very well be that the police officers who think they cannot maintain their present standard of living on the income that they are getting at the moment will be incentivised to reskill and do some of the jobs that matter most.
Q48 Alun Michael: You just referred specifically there to the payment to officers on the frontline. What is your definition of the frontline?
Tom Winsor: The frontline is not just the visible frontline. The frontline is police officers who are employing the range of skills and expertise required of a warranted police officer. A frontline police officer is just as much a member of a child protection team who spends an entire day in an office building looking at the most appalling images of children being abused and trying to find a pattern and break a paedophile ring, as it is a uniformed police officer you see on the corner of your street.
Q49 Alun Michael: It is an important distinction because rather more facile descriptions of the frontline have been used, for instance by the Chief Inspector of Constabulary and sometimes by Ministers. Will your part 2 contain your definition of the frontline?
Tom Winsor: No.
Q50 Alun Michael: You specifically said that it was part of your intention that officers on the frontline should be able to receive remuneration, so I don’t understand why it would be-
Tom Winsor: Because I have already said what my definition of frontline is in part 1.
Q51 Alun Michael: So it will maintain the definition in part 1?
Tom Winsor: Yes.
Q52 Steve McCabe: Mr Winsor, you said that those officers doing the tough, skilled jobs will benefit from your proposals. In your estimation, what proportion of police officers are currently doing soft, unskilled jobs?
Tom Winsor: I can’t give you a number, although I could give you a note. For example, the toughest jobs are the ones where you face the public, you face danger and you work shifts. The skilled jobs are the ones that require higher levels of skill, for example in public order, firearms, detectives and neighbourhood policing. On the other hand, there are officers in the back office doing administrative jobs that you do not require the powers of the office of constable to do. They are working 9 am to 5 pm and they never work weekends. In some cases those officers are doing jobs that you do not need to be a police officer to do, and they create considerable-
Q53 Steve McCabe: Sure. From your extensive surveying of it, I wondered what proportion of them were engaged in such activity.
Tom Winsor: I can’t give you a number now, but-
Q54 Steve McCabe: Well, is it 30% do you think, or 20%?
Tom Winsor: I hesitate to make any stab at it.
Q55 Steve McCabe: Mr Winsor, I am not trying to be difficult here, but you are telling us that you have done this extensive, thorough review. You are telling us that these people who are doing the tough, skilled jobs have nothing to worry about. They are going to benefit from the recommendations. You are making this change because you have identified there are soft jobs, non-policing jobs, unskilled jobs that are actually soaking up resource, and I am asking, from your extensive review, what proportion fall into that category? Surely you must know that, otherwise what is your report telling us?
Tom Winsor: In some police forces as much as 10% of police officers in the police force are on restricted duties, and they do not go out and face the public for a variety of reasons. They may have injuries; they may have enduring medical conditions; there may be other reasons why they cannot do that work. In part 2, I will be addressing the issue of restricted duties.
Q56 Chair: Mr Winsor, you have been something of a reluctant witness before this Committee. Whenever I have asked you to appear, your office has said that you were busy writing part 2. I agreed that I would defer your appearance before this Committee until you had completed part 2 of your report, following a call from the Minister. We will have you in to talk about part 2 in the near future after it is published. Obviously we appreciate that you could not be led down the path that Mr Ellis was trying to take you down and give us a snippet of information, but we would appreciate it if words like "misleading" and "flawed" were not put on your website about this Committee. If you have something to say to this Committee about our report, we are very happy to have you in and you can discuss it with us, because we think that was unfair and wrong. We certainly don’t do that to our witnesses, and I would be grateful if you did not do that in the future. If you feel you have something burning to say to us about our reports then all you have to do is ring our Clerk and we will have you in.
Tom Winsor: I will be more than happy to come to this Committee for periods of whatever length the Committee wants. I have never been a reluctant witness. When the Committee asked me to come the last time, I was in either Kuwait or Abu Dhabi and it was impractical for me to come back for the session in question. This review has felt like a full-time job, but it is actually not a full-time job. I am a practising solicitor and a partner in a leading law firm in the City of London, and I have had to try to maintain my client commitments as well as doing the review. I may say that the Home Secretary’s tempting offer of being able to do the entire review in 45 days over nine months was a little ambitious.
Q57 Chair: She drives a hard bargain. We will ask her if she would be kind enough to provide you with a proper set of recording equipment so that when you record people you can do so accurately.
Tom Winsor: It is not a Home Office device.
Chair: Mr Winsor, thank you very much for coming in.