In a shocking turn of events today, Gloucestershire Chief Constable Tony Melville has resigned after two years of hard graft in reforming the Gloucestershire Police Force under very harsh conditions. The shocking part is that he is not leaving because he feels his job is done, or because he wants to move to something else, but because of the further cuts required and the appointment of the Police and Crime Commissioners in November. This Government has succeeded in breaking the police force from top to bottom.
Mr Melville has not had an easy ride of things, he has had to implement some of the harshest cuts to the force, but he rose to the challenge and tried to work within the bounds that he had been set, and whatever his private thoughts, he maintained a professional edge and got on with the job. He pretty much achieved all that was asked of him, and that is what makes this move much more poignant.
In a statement he announced “I believe Policing does need to change and that is why we have transformed our approach in Gloucestershire.” which is true, but then he goes on “However I have grave concerns about some elements of the current police reform agenda especially the election of Police and Crime Commissioners in six months time. I have therefore decided that I will not continue as Chief Constable under those new arrangements.”
In such a precise statement, there is volumes spoken. Some may say he is scared of having an elected politician as his boss, but in all fairness I can’t blame him. At the end of the day, its not like we are also getting Fire Commissioners and Ambulance Commissioners. He gets advice and guidance from the Police Authority which is good and right, but will having another politician in the way be a good thing. There could be some ‘politicising’ from the fact that Labour have been against this post, yet more than likely will be standing candidates for the role, you could say ‘well how dare they’ but I think its right to do so. If the post is to be there, at least being in the race enables the chance to influence the role and make it more efficient or better or whatever it can be.
So I think this is a sad day for Gloucestershire and that’s not just my feelings, but reading messages from his staff and PCs shows he was respected for doing the hard work and getting on with the job. I hope the Home Office is proud!