Rank-and-file police officers have reacted with anger at the Home Secretary's choice for the next Chief Inspector of Constabulary.
The Home Office has confirmed that the former rail regulator Tom Winsor, whose recent review of policing sparked mass protests by officers, has been named as the preferred candidate for the HMIC role.
He will appear before the House of Commons home affairs committee on Tuesday to be questioned on his suitability for the £200,000-a-year job.
HMIC assesses the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces in England and Wales.
Its inspectors are appointed by the Crown and are independent of the Government and police services.
If his appointment to replace Sir Denis O'Connor is confirmed, he would be the first person in the post who has not worked as a police officer.
The 54-year-old lawyer is the author of two wide-ranging reports recommending sweeping changes to police pay and conditions.
He is certainly a controversial figure among serving officers and their representative body, the Police Federation, has reacted with astonishment and anger at news of his preferred candidate status.
Paul McKeever, the federation's chairman, said: "If ever there was a need for sagacious advice from someone with a profound understanding of policing it is now.
"We look forward to hearing from the Home Secretary how the appointment of Tom Winsor provides the profound understanding of policing that is so important for public safety."
The Police Federation 's inspecting ranks central committee said the decision "simply beggars belief".
John Apter, chairman of the federation's Hampshire branch, added: "Tom Winsor has very little experience of policing and has attracted criticism from the rank-and-file over the way he has conducted his reviews into police reform.
"The Home Secretary will have her own reasons for choosing Mr Winsor over other credible candidates, at this time I am struggling to understand what they might be."
Tom Winsor's, the most wide-ranging for three decades, called for the current police pay system to be overhauled and replaced with one that recognised the work of front-line and specialist officers over those fulfilling back-office functions.
The Police Federation estimated that would mean more than 40% of officers having to take a cut in pay of up to £4,000 a year.
The review also proposed scrapping a series of allowances and special payments intended to save £60m a year overtime and ending the job for life approach to policing, giving Chief Constables the ability to get rid of poorly performing officers.
The review sparked widespread anger within forces across in England and Wales. More than 30,000 police officers and supporters marched in London last month in protest against the reforms.
Just a week later, the Home Secretary was booed and jeered as she addressed the annual Police Federation conference in Bournemouth.
Policing and criminal justice minister Nick Herbert insisted Mr Winsor was the right candidate as he would be independent of the police and government.
He said: "The direction of travel over the last few years has been to ensure that the inspectorate is more independent, not just of the government - it is essential it is independent of the government - but also of the police service itself."
"Tom Winsor is somebody who not only has experience as a regulator, where he was rail regulator - and everyone will remember just how independent of the government he was when he did that job - but also having authored his report for the last 18 months."
But he is likely to face tough questions from members of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee next week before his appointment can be sent to Prime Minister David Cameron and the Queen for approval.
Committee chairman Keith Vaz MP said he was "looking forward" to hearing from Mr Winsor, with whom he has clashed during previous hearings.
Matt Cavanagh, of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think-tank, said Tom Winsor was a "risky if not reckless choice" which could damage the reputation of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.
"As well as putting the relationship between Government and the police under further strain, this provocative choice could put at risk the growing reputation and contribution of HMIC at a crucial time," he said.