The leader of the West Midlands’ rank and file police officers has accused the Prime Minister of ignoring the views of frontline staff because of an “obsession with all things American”.
Federation chairman Andy Gilbert hit out as David Cameron called in Bill Bratton, the former police chief of New York, Los Angeles and Boston, to advise the police in the UK on how to tackle violence.
In a lighthearted aside aimed at the PM, who is also backing the introduction of US-style directly elected police commissioners, Mr Gilbert added: “Maybe he needs to go to America and ride around in a patrol car in order to get it out of his system.”
And in a sideswipe at Mr Cameron’s backing of the US supercop’s model of “zero tolerance” policing, the force’s Chief Constable Chris Sims said he would not be “slavishly adopting empty slogans”.
“In the end my job is to serve and protect the people of the West Midlands and to be accountable to them,” he added.
The comments came as the relations between police and Government politicians plunged to a new low over the handling of the disorder that swept through the country last week.
Friction began between the Government and police chiefs when the Government appeared to take the credit for the police stepping up their action against the rioters last Tuesday after he had arrived back from holiday.
Mr Gilbert said: “These matters were sorted out by the police, the emergency services and law abiding public. The suggestion the government was responsible is not right.
“If this government and the Prime Minister found more time to listen to the public and police officers he would get a greater understanding and not have to carry on with his obsession of all things American.”
Meanwhile the West Midlands Police Authority called on the Government to consider again the scale of the budget cuts that are being enforced on the police that will see the force lose about 2,250 police officers and police staff.
The Government has offered extra funding to police forces in areas hit by disorder to help them cover the costs.
A spokesman for the authority said: “It will be necessary to be open and clear about what the reductions will mean in practice, and what the implications will be for the resilience, capacity and capability of West Midlands Police.
“We have a genuine concern that reductions, even if badged as cutting the “back office” or “red tape”, will end up having an impact on front-line capabilities.”