Gwent Police Commissioner criticises "ill-conceived" Government plans on recruitment
"Once again the Government is showing how little it understands about the role and responsibilities of Police Officers. The idea of parachuting someone with no policing experience into a senior officer post is at best ill-conceived meddling and at worst could lead to the public and police officers being put at more risk of harm.
"One of the arguments which is being put forward to justify this plan is that it's difficult to attract and retain talent to the ranks of the Police. The facts tell a different story because as it stands officers who show leadership qualities can gain promotion through the ranks relatively quickly. However this should always follow the vitally important stage of walking the beat, detecting crimes, making arrests, speaking to the public and all the other things that Police Constables do on a day to day basis.
"Whilst more can always be done to retain officers who have shown potential and leadership qualities the rank structure as it stands allows officers to equip themselves for their next role within the Police service.
"I can't understand how the Government can suggest that someone takes up a senior role which involves managing police officers and their work if they've not done the work themselves. As good and thorough as a 15-month training programme can be, it will never take the place of experience.
Mr Johnston concluded by saying:
"I'm not over stating things when I say that someone joining the service as a superintendent is actually dicing with death it shows a complete lack of understanding by the Government of what superintendents do. To think that someone could join as a superintendent, which is an operationally critical role, without policing experience and have responsibility for investigating murders, rapes and serious incidents defies logic.
"If the Government are really that concerned about opening up the Police service to a wider pool of talent and attracting the brightest and the best then they shouldn't have taken the shameful step of cutting the starting salary of Police Constables by £4000."