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Page last updated at 08:27 GMT, Sunday, 13 June 2010 09:27 UK

Police plan could be a 'disaster'

Nick Watson
By Nick Watson
Producer, West Midlands Politics Show

Lord Dear, who as Geoffrey Dear led West Midlands Police from 1985-90, said there could be pitfalls in the new government's plans.

A former chief constable says plans for directly elected police commissioners could be a "disaster."

Lord Dear, who as Geoffrey Dear led West Midlands Police from 1985-90, said there could be pitfalls in the new government's plans.

The coalition has pledged to make the police "more accountable."

This would include introducing a directly elected "individual" to monitor police forces.

Police "detached"

Lord Dear, who served as the Inspector of Constabulary from 1990-97, said there were problems with the current system and the public had become "detached" from the police.

But he warned against "sweeping away police authorities" and putting too much power into the hands of a single individual.

Lord Dear
Lord Dear: Elected police bosses could be a "disaster."

"To put one individual in with no supporting cast around him or her -probably elected on single issue politics - I think is potentially a recipe for disaster," he told the BBC Politics Show in the Midlands.

"If you then build in the power of that one individual to hire and fire the chief (constable) then I think you are stacking up a potential disaster," he added.

System "not working"

Lord Dear, who is now a Crossbencher in the House of Lords, said he wanted to see a closer relationship between the public and the police.

Fiona McEvoy, the West Midlands spokesman for the pressure group the Taxpayers' Alliance, said she supported the government.

Commissioners should be elected for four year terms of office so if "something isn't working we get a new person in."

"This is all about making the police more efficient," she said.

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