Police

I believe the time is long overdue for a root and branch overhaul of policing.

Background

We have a current situation of budget cuts,police low staff morale, general public dissatisfaction and reluctance to report crime coupled with an ever diminishing trust in crime figures.
Police officers recently retired or retiring shortly are not sad to go. The police force is not the one they joined. “I am glad I am going” is a common theme.

‘State of Policing the annual assessment of policing in England and Wales 2013/14.’ Click here

In the report The HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor says as much as 20% of (reported) crime is unrecorded, victims are being let down with over 800,000 crimes reported to police each year ending up unrecorded.

Reactions to latest Police budgets cuts ‘provoked warnings from chiefs across England and Wales that smaller forces could no longer be viable and some will have to abandon neighbourhood patrols and provide an emergency service only’ Sunday Times 19/12/2014.

Humberside’s first Peel Assessment report on the 27/11/2014. The  HM Inspector of Constabulary for the Northern Region, Michael Cunningham said “Humberside Police does not provide a consistent level of service to victims of crime, investigations are not always effectively supervised ………”  He went on to criticise the response to reducing crime and preventing offending and said it required improvement in the way its officers investigate offending.(Peel stands for: the police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy programme)

It is a widely accepted fact that the police need to operate with the public’s consent.
Today’s demands are not best served by tinkering the present system.
43(1) police forces = 43(1) chief constables etc. Plus 20% of police budgets go on pensions with officers drawing them for longer that the time they served – it is an untenable situation.

Action
Change the basic structure of the entire force so that we have a national police force that has Community policing at its heart. We can then have local police presence supported by regional and national policing.

Ensure the ratio of the managerial side is less than the frontline officers.                       Ensure all frontline staff are warranted officers.

No  Community Support Officers (CSO’S) or are as they are usually known Police Community Support Officers (PCSO’s). Often disparaged as Plastic Policemen and told by many offenders ‘are you going to get the real police’.

Local ( All based locally)
Community Police that are warranted Officers with a remit to serve the local community and be the essential ears and eyes that are vital to successful policing.
Could be trained to a standard that then allows modules to be added later in areas they wish to specialise in or be rewarded if they wish to stay as a Community Police Officer.
Retrain the PCSO’s to be Community Police Officers making them a true part of the police family thus better able to function.

Supported with Officers that have more training and expertise having a wider brief to deal with more serious local issues and problems.

bobby imageBetter engagement with the community itself thus fostering greater communication with the police leading to a rebuilding of trust as they will effectively be the face of the force most of the public will meet. (The BOBBY IS BACK). ACPO website …….’evidence points to an increase in public confidence directly linked to the visibility of police officers and staff’

Regional (Based throughout the region including locally)
Devoted to the wider area and devoid of any force tribalism. Allowing more specialised roles to be developed and problems dealt with more effectively.
Will allow a better approach when dealing with the serious threat of organised crime especially those from Eastern Europe.

National ( based at central HQ but with regional offices)
Allowing a leaner and better coordinated structure with clear consistent aims. The National Crime Agency (NCA) and the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC) and the National Police Database are a start..
Vital that policies keep the maximum amount of officers in the frontline.
Create a proper national intelligence system.

A force that is more effective, more cost efficient and with greater career prospects.
Standardised uniforms, badging and equipment, thus allowing better procurement with greater buying power.

A force better equipped to deal with complex policing needs of the 21st century and closer to satisfying the public who actually fund the service.

Police and Crime Commissioners disbanded.
Replaced by bigger Inspectorate plus Watch panels locally.

Victims
A key element will be the treatment of victims both the individual and businesses – they need to be treated as victims of crime not generators of crime.

 Data Retention:

First Annual Report by Biometrics Commissioner 16th December 2014

Alastair MacGregor, QC (Commissioner for the retention and use of biometric material)   said ” that photographs of hundreds of thousands of people who have never been charged, let alone convicted of an offence, are on the database, which went live this year.”

Mike Barton, national policing lead for the Police National Database admitted that while fingerprints and DNA were covered by law ” there is currently no legislative requirement for the management of custody images.”

Alastair MacGregor, also said “Police forces in England and Wales continue to follow a policy of retaining almost all custody photographs for an indefinite period regardless of whether the individuals concerned have or have not or have not been convicted of an offence.” Click here

I find this very worrying, whilst this might be argued as following the letter of the law it certainly cannot be said to be following the spirit of the law.

This is compounded by the recent passing of the Protection of Freedoms Bill that was designed to protect people from unwarranted state intrusion in their private lives  which led fingerprint and DNA samples from foreign criminals being deleted even though they had been arrested but not then charged.