"IN THE WHOLE OF 2006, EACH POLICE OFFICER IN ENGLAND AND WALES WILL MAKE, ON AVERAGE, JUST NINE AND A HALF ARRESTS.
The police are the last great unreformed public service. We shouldn’t treat them with kid gloves just because officers do a brave job: we need radical police reform to help cut crime."
Of all the pledges that appeared in yesterday’s full-page Tory advertisement the above pledge on policing probably provides most reassurance to traditional Tories. If some doubt Mr Cameron’s willingness to take difficult, crunchy decisions he seems to be heading in a courageous direction on police reform. The appointment of Nick Herbert MP to the position of Shadow Minister for Police Reform is a further sign of his determination on this issue. Mr Herbert was a supporter of David Davis and helped to design Mr Davis’ growth-rule-based tax cutting strategy. Before entering Parliament last May he was founder director of the radical think tank, Reform.
A Telegraph leader has welcomed the commitment today. After noting "dismay at the abandonment of the "patient’s passport"" and an "ominous silence on the subject of tax cuts" it says this of police reform:
"The solution lies in the restructuring, local accountability and integration in communities for the police that this newspaper has consistently advocated. Only then might we once again have police forces that are regarded neither as maverick bullies by the poor, nor as limp paper tigers by middle-class householders, but who earn and benefit from the confidence of the whole public. That is the sort of concrete goal to which the Tory party should aspire in all policy areas, instead of shooting blindly at worthy but vague concepts, as New Labour always has. Mr Cameron has only begun to hint at the capacity for such focused thinking. He must now demonstrate it across the board."