Top New Zealand police officers could be lured to run British
police forces under a proposed shake-up in the UK.
The UK government is looking to change the law that has
previously stated that chief constables - the head officer of
regional forces - must be British citizens.
Under new plans, candidates from New Zealand, Australia, and
North America will be asked to apply to take over forces
across England and Wales.
The jobs come with salaries from $240,000-$409,000 for the
commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London.
UK ministers say they want to attract the "best and
brightest" candidates with the right skills to "forge a force
fit for the 21st century".
However, the New Zealand Police Association doesn't expect to
an exodus of senior officers.
"We'll probably end up with what happens in sport, whereby
those who miss out on the top opportunities here may be
tempted, but the top ones will probably stay in the hope of
getting the top job here," said association president Greg
Mr O'Connor warned any officers considering a move to Great
Britain that they would find it had "quite an inefficient
police compared to our own".
He also voiced concern over a recent shift to elected police
chiefs to mirror the American system which has led to "total
politicisation of the police".
But in spite of the differences, there were some
similarities, and he welcomed a move towards policing skills
being recognised internationally.
"It could be good for New Zealanders looking to go and work
over there," Mr O'Connor said.
He added that when the cost of living, exchange rates, and
relocating were factored in, the UK deals would be similar to
salaries offered here.
New Zealand Police welcomed the proposed plans.
"New Zealand Police works in a competitive global job market
and it is a testament to the skills and experience of our
senior officers that they may be considered eligible for
similar roles in the UK," said Alan Cassidy, acting general
manager of human resources at police headquarters in
Superintendent Russell Gibson, district commander of Central
Police, thought the proposed changes were "great".
"They've done it here in New Zealand where they've called for
applications for commissioner of policing and have accepted
applications from overseas jurisdictions.
"Policing is an international business, the skills are
transferable, so I see it as a big positive."
UK ministers want direct entry into the police at
superintendent level for "exceptional" candidates, the Daily
Mail reported. Under current rules, all police must enter at
The expected proposals would allow new recruits to skip the
compulsory two years on the beat. Top applicants would be
able to rise from civilian to inspector in three years and
potentially by the age of 24.
In his review of policing, Her majesty's Chief Inspector of
Constabulary, Tom Winsor said it should be possible for
overseas police officers with "suitable relevant experience"
to be appointed a chief constable.
"It is likely that police and crime commissioners (who
appoint chief constables) will concentrate on police officers
from common law jurisdictions with a tradition of policing by
consent," he said.
"These are most likely to be Australia, New Zealand, Canada
and the United States of America.
"It is unlikely that an officer from a country where the
police have a quasiparamilitary role, such as France or
Italy, would be found to have suitable experience of the
British style of policing, and so I recommend that such
forces be excluded."
- Kurt Bayer of APNZ