female chief constable has hit out at claims that suggest allowing candidates to enter the Police Service at superintendent level would improve diversity.
CC Lynne Owens, of Surrey Police, told delegates at the Superintendents’ Association conference in Warwickshire that officers should start as constables and learn effective leadership.
She added: “I sit here as one of the few female chief constables to say there’s nothing that angers me more than that (diversity) argument. I have spent my whole career fighting it – people say ‘you are only there because you are a woman’.
“We give the ultimate power and responsibility to the lowest level in our organisation. I do not think I could properly lead if I did not understand the exercise of that discretion. Every leader in our organisation makes operational decisions on a daily basis.”
CC Owens agreed that the Police Service was “not very good at managing talent” and that a way should be found of making sure this issue was addressed. But she was adamant that direct entry was not the solution.
CC Owens was representing ACPO on a panel during the conference’s last day.
The other panellists were Fed Chair Paul McKeever, NPIA Chair Peter Holland, Superintendents’ Association President Derek Barnett and Diana Johnson, Shadow Home Office Minister.
Ch Supt Barnett said it was concerning there were no Black and minority ethnic (BME) superintendents currently earmarked to become ACPO-ranked officers. But he did not feel direct entry proposals would enhance diversity.
‘ACPO ranks have not taken the same hit in numbers as the superintendents, conference hears.‘
‘Responding, Surrey Chief Constable Lynne Owens said the best way to limit cuts to numbers across the service would be to abandon the 43-force model and merge forces.
But while most of her ACPO colleagues agreed it was not on the political agenda.’