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UK Police censure proposed reforms
Sun, 23 May 2010 09:37:46 GMT
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British police chiefs express outrage at proposed reforms announced by the new Home Secretary Theresa May, accusing the government of undermining public safety.

The Home Offices' plans to reduce bureaucracy include publicly-elected police commissioners that oversee chief constables, causing fury within the police force. In a letter to the Observer, police chiefs denounced the proposed reforms, branding them "driven by dogma" and "uncosted."

Rob Garnham, chairman of the Association of Police Authorities, criticized the proposal, suggesting that the elections of a police commissioner will cause the service to be driven by a "politically motivated agenda," and has warned that the public "is unaware of the turmoil that may be unleashed by these proposals."

May has claimed that the government is looking for ways to cut centralized bureaucracy with a "transfer of power from Whitehall to local communities." She has suggested that by reducing paperwork there would be more police on the beat, although she declined to say whether police numbers would decrease.

Another proposed measure is to give police more discretion in charging minor criminal offenses by getting rid of the requirement to consult prosecutors in a case. These changes have been announced as the government prepares to cut £6bn in public spending, including reductions in police budgets.

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