The former rail regulator Tom Winsor has been named the government's preferred candidate to be the next Chief Inspector of Constabulary in England and Wales, the first holder of the post to have never served as a police officer.
Paul McKeever, who chairs the Police Federation, says they are "very surprised" the home secretary has chosen someone with "such little police experience".
"People are concerned at all levels about the very low esteem the government is considering the service," he told the Today programme.
Home Office minister Nick Herbert defended the decision, saying Mr Winsor is a "highly experience regulator".
"It is important to look at his credentials", he told James Naughtie, "he has demonstrated his willingness to get under the skin of policing".
He explained that guarding the public's interest over police service's is the "overriding point".
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