Premier Ford blames NDP for 'personal attacks' on former OPP Commissioner-to-be

Doug Ford says new leadership is needed to fix what he calls systemic problems at the Ontario Provincial Police.

The premier made the comments in the legislature a day after a close friend of his announced he would no longer take the top job at the force given the controversy surrounding his appointment.

Ford thanked Toronto police Supt. Ron Taverner for putting his name forward for the role of OPP commissioner and chided the Opposition for what he said were personal attacks on the veteran officer since his appointment was announced in November.

The premier says the government wants to address concerns of front-line officers at the provincial force, although he did not detail what those were.

The 72-year-old Taverner initially did not meet the criteria listed for the commissioner position and the government has admitted it lowered the requirements to attract a wider range of candidates.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath asked Ford to hold a public inquiry into the hiring process for Taverner to determine if there was political interference.