10 FEBRUARY 2001, Page 28

Cheap shot

From Mr Douglas J. Keil Sir: Sion Simon (`Yes, we have no big ideas', 27 January) has clearly joined the ranks of those who think it hip, clever and ever so slightly naughty to take a cheap shot at the police. He accuses us of restrictive practices when police officers operate the most flexible system of working schedules outside the armed forces. Without the right to take any form of industrial action, bound to obey all lawful orders and subject to a strict discipline code, it is difficult to imagine how the police could be any less restrictive. He accuses the police of laziness, corruption and incompetence without a shred of evidence, and avers that while Mr Blair might not use these terms in going to war with the police in a second term of office, 'I know he knows what I mean.' I am sure Mr Blair knows nothing of the sort because it is complete and utter bilge.

Douglas Keil

General Secretary, Scottish Police Federation, Glasgow