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LONDON: Britain launched a consultation yesterday on allowing foreign police chiefs to run British forces, as part of the biggest shake-up of police recruitment for 30 years.
The British government is reportedly keen to recruit US “supercop” Bill Bratton, credited with slashing crime in New York and Los Angeles, to take charge of London’s Metropolitan Police.
The 65-year-old was unable to apply for the top job when it became available in 2011 under current legislation, which bars foreigners from running British police forces on national security grounds. The planned change in policy is part of a package of reforms unveiled by policing minister Damien Green to attract fresh talent to the top echelons of the British police.
“The issue of choosing our police leaders is of the highest importance to the future of the police,” said Green. A new fast-track scheme aimed at graduates, also up for consultation, will allow talented recruits to join the police at inspector level, skipping the two compulsory years on the beat for most officers.
A separate planned scheme would allow “exceptional” outsiders from the business world, as well as former members of the armed forces and security industry, to join at the higher rank of superintendent. But the plans came under fire from Britain’s Police Federation, which represents 124,000 rank-and-file officers.
“The Police Federation does not support proposals that would allow external candidates to join the police service at any rank above that of constable,” the union’s vice-chairman Steve White said of the fast-track schemes.