Police bosses hit out

Home Secretary Theresa May
Home Secretary Theresa May

POLICE chiefs have hit out over the Home Secretary’s comments over their future, calling for officers to remain at the forefront of tackling crime.

Peter Thompson, chairman of Durham Police Authority, has voiced his concerns after Theresa May championed London mayor Boris Johnson and the capital’s acting commissioner for how they dealt with last week’s riots.

He said: “I am appalled at the Home Secretary’s notion that politicians should be the face of operational policing.

“The public want the police to police the streets, not politicians.”

Ms May this week said there is a lesson to be learned from the unrest, which affected London and other major cities.

The comments came as plans for elected police commissioners, which would replace police authorities, move forward.

She said: “In London, the mayor was on the streets of his city, working with the acting commissioner and representing Londoners to Government.

“The contrast with unaccountable, unelected and invisible police authority chairmen in other parts of the country could not have been clearer.”

Mr Thompson said: “My colleagues from police authorities up and down the country were actively involved in the process at the right strategic level.

“Just because police authority leaders were not photographed on the streets does not indicate inactivity behind the scenes.”