Hampshire’s police federation chief defends appointment of Portsmouth’s new district commander - who was not an officer until a year ago

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THE man who represents the county’s rank-and-file has welcomed senior direct-entry police officers.

John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, admits he initially disliked the direct entry scheme when proposed by Sir Tom Winsor.

John Apter, left, and Supt Maggie Blyth

John Apter, left, and Supt Maggie Blyth

He feared it suggested there was no talent within policing.

But now Mr Apter has been won over — to such an extent he would be happy with direct-entry chief constables.

His comments come as senior officer Maggie Blyth is set to become Portsmouth’s new district commander, despite having only put on the uniform a year ago.

She was hand-picked as part of the direct entry scheme.

He said: ‘I’m very open-minded about superintendents and above, I’m not convinced about lower ranks.

‘The more I’ve worked with direct-entry superintendents, not only Maggie, but around the country, I actually do think they bring something different to the party.’

He said they are suited to more strategic roles, but the scheme must be evaluated.