Peter Hoskin

Hugh Orde’s rhetoric is encouraging for Osborne

Hugh Orde's rhetoric is encouraging for Osborne
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Whatever happened to Sir Hugh Orde?  A few months ago, he was threatening to resign over the Tories' plans for elected police commissioners.  But later, in a speech to the Association of Chief Police Officers, he seems to have come over considerably more cooperative.  On spending cuts, he stresses that police numbers will likely be reduced, but adds that "we fully understand that all will have to share the pain."  And on elected police commissioners, the worst he can bring himself to say is that "the test is reconciling it with operational independence for policing ... we have an absolute right to clarity on how this system will work."  There are hints of resistance and mischief in all that, but the rhetoric seems to be far more measured than we've been used to in the past.

There's still the chance that Orde and his agenda will have to be fought down by the Tories.  But, for now, having independent figures praise the government for "not play[ing] the simplistic numbers game, but focus[ing] on policing outcomes" is hardly an unwelcome situation.  On the back of last night's VAT vote and the G20 meeting, it reinforces the sense that George Osborne's fiscal plans have significant momentum behind them.

UPDATE: Ben Brogan has a different take here.