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Sunday, 7 July, 2002, 23:23 GMT 00:23 UK
Blunkett to review police reforms
Police officers walk a beat
The police reforms have been widely criticised
The Home Secretary is planning to announce concessions to his controversial police reforms.

One of the key areas identified for change is part of the Police Bill, which would give ministers the power to impose action plans on failing police forces.

The proposals have been unpopular because they challenge the principle that police chiefs are operationally independent of the government.

However, the government insists the legislation would only be used as a last resort.

The framework for the powers is set out in a protocol to the Bill, which is due to begin its final passage through the Commons on Tuesday.

A Home Office spokesman said: "There is more work that needs to be done in terms of the protocol."

Drug sentencing

The spokesman insisted Mr Blunkett was determined to maintain the principle that the home secretary would have the right to intervene in failing forces.

She said: "We are happy to find a different route to the same outcome.

David Blunkett
Blunkett wants to maintain control
"We are not prepared to dilute the principle that the home secretary has the power to intervene in failing areas."

The Home Office refused, however to comment on a report in The Times that Mr Blunkett would confirm on Wednesday that cannabis was to be reclassified from a class B to a class C drug.

The paper said Mr Blunkett would seek to deflect criticism that he was going soft on drugs by announcing the maximum penalty for dealing in cannabis would be doubled from five to 10 years.

This could be a difficult week for the home secretary because figures are expected to show a 6% increase in recorded crime in 2001-02, with street robberies, violence and burglaries up.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Shaun Ley
"The home secretary argued these were powers that would rarely be used"
See also:

26 Feb 02 | UK Politics
22 Feb 02 | UK Politics
25 Jan 02 | UK Politics
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