Sir Ronnie Flanagan who has been HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary since February 2005 has had his appointment extended to January 2009. The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, has been quoted as saying; “This extension will ensure continuity in this crucial area during the year ahead as the police service continues its challenging reform programme and Sir Ronnie takes forward his independent review of policing.”
I have to agree with her comments about ‘continuity’. Any stability in the thought processes governing police reform must be a good thing however; I like many others would challenge the validity of the word ‘independent’. Many changes imposed on the police service over recent years have, in many respects, been short term ‘knee jerk’ reactions to long term problems.
The reasoning behind the implementation of many of these changes often look suspiciously like they were ‘engineered’ just to win votes or, boost flagging public opinion in our government for the pollsters. I would like to think Sir Ronnie Flanagan has enough metal about him to paint the true picture however, my concern is; given the short timescale he has been allowed for delivery of his review, only leads me to thinking the government are once again looking for a ‘quick fix’. A short term methodology to placate the concerns of the service in some way, being that Sir Ronnie is held in fairly high esteem by many of those to which the review will apply. It’s overall success in identifying meaningful and worthwhile change will remain to be seen!