Sir Hugh Orde is a police officer with a reputation for integrity, honesty and competence. When he makes a bold, uncompromising statement like the one he made on the Today programme earlier today you take notice. Sir Hugh, who is currently the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, told the BBC that his colleagues would resist Tory proposals for the reform of the police that would result in his senior colleagues being told how to protect the public by locally-elected leaders. Sir Hugh warned that in his view democracy would be undermined if there was even a "perception" of political influence over chief constables. He stated that "operation independence is absolutely critical," and that the perception that a local police service was under political influence would be a sad day for democracy.
When asked if he personally would quit if faced by the Conservatives' plans, he said: "I don't, sadly, have a police service anymore.
"But if I was a chief officer and was subject to direct political control, I absolutely would."
Is this really a fight the Tories want to pick? I doubt it is one they can win - nor should they.