Professor Steve Tombs .
Centre for Crime and Justice Studies
LONDON, WC2R 2LS
17 June 2008
I refer to your briefing "A crisis of enforcement" published today.
The substance of your briefing is not new and the issues have been debated many times. It is of course quite right that those who wish to criticise public bodies such as ourselves should be free to do so within the normal conventions of a democratic society.
Nevertheless I do have to object to the manner in which a statement I made to the DWP Select Committee has been artificially truncated to misrepresent my and HSE senior management's position on resourcing.
As is in fact completely clear from the full exchange, the point I was making was that there is no objective manner of determining the number of inspectors needed for an enforcement body, that in these circumstances one is reliant on trying to measure the impact of movements from the existing number and that "if we were to find on a particular issue we need more inspectors, I personally would be very happy to recommend that".
I should be grateful if you would correct your briefing to properly quote from my remarks to the Select Committee. At the same time you might also like to acknowledge that the civil servant status of HSE staff put them in a different position in giving evidence to Select Committees than police officers. This is a rather elementary point, of which you might reasonably be expected to be aware.
I am copying this letter to Neil Hope-Collins in his Prospect capacity.