In defence of the Bobby

How strange to come away from an inquiry into policing feeling impressed and even a little touched.

But the report, by Denis O’Connor, the chief inspector of constabulary, into the past, present and future of public order policing, is such an exceptional piece of work that it deserves all the plaudits it will surely get. O’Connor goes at his huge task with real vigour, attacking it enthusiastically from all sides, and never hesitating to criticise the police when he feels that officers have made mistakes.

O’Connor has a very clear vision of the police force he wants to lead; it is a modern police force, making use of modern tools, but still adhering closely to the original ideals of Robert Peel that policing should be “approachable, impartial, accountable… based on minimal force and anchored in public consent”.