This heavily leaked report has caused nothing but public fear and concern. What benefits will performance-related pay and crime league tables bring to the maintenance of public tranquillity and good community relations? Is this not a privatisation too far? In their haste to privatise, the Government will do nothing but destroy the public ethic.
I shall certainly not comment on leaks of the report long before it has been published, but I hope that there will be no knee-jerk reactions of the sort that we have just heard from the hon. Gentleman on the part of the Labour party or from any other quarter. I hope that everyone will recognise that we must have up-to-date arrangements within which the police can operate, give their best and be able to wage the war against crime more effectively. That is the purpose of all the reforms that we have in train, including those on which Sir Patrick Sheehy will report next week.
Does my right hon. and learned Friend know whether the Sheehy inquiry has been looking into the possible recruitment to the police force of Army officers who are unfortunately available as a result of the "Options for Change" policy? Does he agree that those officers could probably provide the high fliers that the police need so much? Is he aware, however, of the resistance of this idea on the part of the more stick-in-the-mud elements in the police? Can this matter be raised in the consultations?
I have a great deal of sympathy with that point. It can certainly be raised in the consultations on the Sheehy report. As to whether it is dealt with in that report, I fear that we shall have to wait until next week.