THE technical sophistication of organised criminals and the increasing complexity of the demands on police mean that the force requires the best management possible. The days when senior police administrators could be simply promoted from the ranks - with no training in, or even aptitude for, managing - are long over. So the recently completed review into the command structure is an important document - not least because it is the first serious study of its type for 15 years. Times have changed; so have aspects of the police force's role and community expectations of what the police can and should do. The review, carried out by consultants Coopers and Lybrand, makes more than 100 recommendations for change at the top. But one of the most important concerns the operations department and the relationship between regional commanders and the headquarters. According to the review, regional commanders should be given more autonomy, with greater local say over finances and the running of operations. These are important proposals and are in line with modern police-management thinking in other countries. The particular demands on police vary from district to district, depending on such matters as the population of each district, commercial operations,social problems and facilities. Police at district level need to be able to tailor their equipment, personnel and operations according to local needs and problems. This gives them greater flexibility to respond rapidly to problems and crises. The force is conducting a pilot scheme to see if the delegation of greater financial responsibility is feasible. It should be. The study must be a genuine investigation of the possibilities presented by the change, not a way of delaying it.