Thursday, 18 December 2014

MET COMMISSIONER CALLS FOR RADICAL MERGER OF POLICE FORCES


15.12.14

Met commissioner calls for radical merger of police forces

Britain’s most senior police officer has warned that cuts to police and other public services will put public safety at risk unless the next government pushes through ‘radical structural reforms’ to cut back-office costs. 
 
Writing in the Guardian, Scotland Yard commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe stated that regardless of the general election outcome, “we are all looking at years of more austerity and shrinking budgets”. 

And, in a move that clashes with government policy, he calls for the culling of more than 30 forces in England and Wales, to create nine super-forces, based on regional boundaries. 

Sir Bernard noted that there are 43 police forces in England and Wales, but stated that criminals do not respect ‘county boundaries’. 

“We need to be as flexible and aggressive as they are. We do not need the boundaries that currently mark out the territory of chief constables or police and crime commissioners,” he said. “Fewer forces would help us make the vital transition to digital policing. How many forces do we need? No more than nine, certainly, based on regions.” 

His comments come just before the home secretary, Theresa May, is to give evidence in front of the Home Affairs Committee on her role. 

Public safety isn’t just a challenge for policing. A range of partners is involved: emergency services, criminal justice, local authorities, the third sector, business and, critically, the public itself.

By 2020 the Met will need to have made £1.4bn of savings over a decade – about a third of our budget. We have saved hundreds of millions already, but from 2016 it will become a much harder task. Our partners face their own cost pressures, and the big concern is that if we don’t work together, with a shared view of the risks, public safety will suffer.

Why? Take CCTV. A factor in falling crime rates has been good video coverage of much of London. But most of these cameras are funded by local authorities. As they face more cuts there is active discussion about whether they can afford to keep CCTV going. Or take domestic abuse – a big enforcement challenge for the Met. It’s hard to get people to testify against their partners, and they often withdraw complaints once our officers have arrived and the violence has stopped – for a while. But society’s ability to reduce it goes beyond policing. It’s about a range of agencies – from social services to mental health – being able to intervene early and support families. If we retrench in isolation, the risks to public safety can only increase.

We have to have a shared view of the risks to public safety, from countering terrorism to child protection. We must be open about these risks with the public, politicians and the media, so we can together make informed choices about our priorities. We should share support services where possible, and make them as efficient as the best of the private sector. That means opening up all but core policing functions to competition. For example, why in London do we need three emergency services separately handling 999 calls and making similar deployments? Bring them together and it would be cheaper to run and more effective. With each blue light service responsible to a different ministry, there are obstacles to change. Will the next government be brave enough to bring together public safety services? Yes, it is a risk. But there’s a bigger risk to public safety if we don’t take radical action.

If that calls for courage, what about the structure of policing? In England and Wales there are 43 forces. The smallest has 600 officers, the largest, the Met, 32,000. They are based on 1974 local government boundaries, and in many cases emergency services are now the only county-wide services.

Do criminals respect these county boundaries? No, they don’t. They seek markets with high population densities to sell drugs and steal property. They pass local and national borders with ease. We need to be as flexible and aggressive as they are. We do not need the boundaries that currently mark out the territory of chief constables or police and crime commissioners.

Fewer forces would help us make the vital transition to digital policing. Law enforcement is being disrupted by digital just as much as businesses or government services. Cyber-crime makes the notion of jurisdiction less and less meaningful. In a cashless society of 2020, data will be the new currency. Electronic fraudsters will replace the stocking and shotgun robbers of the past.

We must act fast. Police spend around £1bn a year on information technology, yet there is no real digital strategy. Each force still has its own command and control, intelligence and crime systems. The IT companies are neither challenged nor engaged sufficiently by the joint endeavours and buying power of the police. We need a common infrastructure and to utilise cloud memory rather than serried ranks of hard drives. We need software based on apps rather than process pages. And we need many fewer contracts where the incentive is to save the public money rather than spend it. Get this right and we can have simpler, more effective processes. Bring us together and we can develop a common digital mission: prevent crime, catch offenders, help victims. How many forces do we need? No more than nine, certainly, based on regions.

In Scotland they have survived such a radical transition, and their furthest police post is as distant from their HQ as London is from Berwick or Cornwall. Holland has done it too. It can be done without diminishing local accountability. Policing is better for being managed and delivered locally.

And there is more to reform than structures. I am working with some of London’s universities to develop policing for teaching and research. It would help us develop evidence-led, professionalised policing and produce well-qualified recruits ready to apply digital and other skills to law enforcement. A policing faculty that included cyber-security could access a commercial income stream wider than the £12bn presently spent on policing.

Whatever we do, however we change, our people will be at the heart of it: public servants motivated by public safety, and our values of professionalism, integrity, courage and compassion. The Office of Constable has a proud and noble tradition, acting without fear or favour. We will not lose these values, but we must adapt to take on the challenge of keeping the public safe and secure.

Thin Blue Line Comment

As regular readers will know, we have been beating the fewer forces, regional or national service drum for many years now. We cannot help but wonder why BHH and any of the other new found supporters of mergers did not have the courage and vision to make the proposals earlier. Now he is in the top job, it seems unlikely that his position would be weakened by any mergers that might take place. It is lamentable that Chief Officers will only put forward radical innovative views when the consequences do not threaten the individuals career progression.

If you were the Chief Constable of a smaller force for example, are you likely to support reducing 43 forces down to 9 or 10, thereby threatening your fiefdom, career and political progression? The answer to this is only yes if you can put the public and the service above your own career aspirations. Unfortunately, the bulk of ACPO ranks have shown themselves to be self-serving and greedy, so the jury is out on whether or not the proposal will receive the majority support.

FORCE MERGERS

We have commented in detail in our previous reports that the time has come to seriously consider merging police forces. We have suggested that there could be as few as 10 to correspond with the regional areas. Finally, ACPO are being forced to accept this possibility, with Sir Hugh Orde conceding that the "overwhelming majority" of chiefs want to talk about merging 43 forces into more regional units.

These chiefs now accept that mergers will save money. The historic problem is that mergers were politically unacceptable to government, allegedly hard to sell to communities and don't sit easily with the plan for locally-elected commissioners.

When a member of the public calls for a police officer, does he/she look at the officers cap badge or insignia and say "Sorry you can't deal with my problem, you're not from my force area" Of course not, all they care about is that a police officer has turned up to help them. It is no more complicated than that, and any other objection to force mergers is pure obfuscation.

Until now, we would hardly expect Chief Officers to support a strategy that might reduce their number by 75% - after all, "Turkeys don't vote for Christmas". Times have changed though, and mergers must now be given serious consideration going forward.

EFFECTIVE USE OF RESOURCES

* 130,000 police officers
* 60,000 staff  - cost £2.7 billion
* 17,000 PCSO's - 484 million
* 17% Increase in ACPO ranks 1997 to 2010***
* 16% Increase in SMT ranks 1997 to 2010***
* 11% Increase in PC rank 1997 to 2010***
* Only 11% of warranted officers available for "Visible Policing"
* ACPO and SMT ranks basic salary £230million

*** These figures prompt the question: "In view of there being a 17% increase in ACPO and 16% increase in SMT ranks and only an 11% increase in PC ranks, is there not an argument that there are in fact TOO MANY CHIEFS and an ineffective use of the resources of indians?"

Force by force, there is a top heavy ACPO/SMT and Police Staffing level.
Force by force, there is a disproportionate number of specialist or non visible roles.

The policing cuts debate fundamentally comes down to a balancing act between visible and invisible work. Half a century ago, more than a third of a constabulary's manpower was spent on those foot patrols - nabbing burglars with their swag bags.

Today there are forces that dedicate just 11% of constables to patrols because they have expanded forensic units, intelligence teams and largely invisible public protection work like child abuse, domestic violence and sexual offences.

Given the political and community pressure to protect the "front line", most chief constables are planning to cut specialist units, even though they argue they prove their worth. And many chiefs think the pressure to focus on local "visible" crime will grow if the government's pledge to create elected Police and Crime Commissioners goes through.

But surely that's the point of policing? Dealing with what matters to local people?

The time has come to strip away those roles whose value is doubtful, and there are plenty of them.

The time has come for the rainy day reserves to be used to protect the front line. It's not just raining chaps, it's chucking it down.

The time has come for some tough decisions, the right decisions about how the tax payers money is spent. Locally elected police commissioners may not be popular among ACPO ranks and perhaps we should ask ourselves why.

Could it be that a fiscally wise commissioner might actually apply some common sense to the way our money is spent? Whilst this may expose the weaknesses and activities of our Senior Police Officers and their advisors, perhaps the public would welcome the return of the common sense, back to basics, no frills coppering. Perhaps then, we might actually see the good guys start winning and more of the bad guys being caught and dealt with.

The Government set its heart on 43 Elected Commissioners being appointed to replace the existing police authorities. This was a poorly thought out strategy and the pathetic turn out for voting confirms the public apathy of the subject. As our previous reports have shown, 10 regional forces as opposed to 43 at present, would bring major benefits:-
  • The ACPO and SMT ranks could be reduced by as much as 75% (Basic salary costs are in the region of £230million)
  • 10 regional HR departments (or even 1 central unit) would shave thousands of duplicated police staff roles, save millions and prevent the necessity for front line cuts. (Police staff costs were in the region of £2.6billion in 2009/10). This could be repeated for IT and other departments.
  • 10 regional forces could save millions on an ongoing basis through centralised procurement of uniform, vehicles and other non staffing services. (Forces currently spend £2.7billion per year on non staffing costs).
  • 10 regional forces would enable the more appropriate allocation of the reserve funds in force bank accounts amounting to £1.2billion which is coincidentally the amount forces are being asked to shave off their budget.
  • 10 regional forces would require only 10 Locally Elected Police Commissioners instead of 43. Perhaps someone from the Government would explain why this rationale seems to have been overlooked or ignored? Or perhaps there are local authority jobs that are being protected rather than ensuring front line resources are ring fenced?  
The pressures Chief Constables are under to deliver the Government cuts, is we fear, creating a somewhat short sighted approach. Without a more long term perspective that would save many millions or billions more, Chief Officers are forced to be parochial and consider only their own forces and how they will meet the Government demands. This could indeed have disasterous consequences to essential services, unecessarily in our view.
 
Perhaps this is a consequence of the 5 year administration system that compels a Government to want to be seen to be achieving something within that period, rather than implementing a longer term strategy that would be more effective?  
 
Many of the cuts and savings could have been more effectively delivered by smarter volume central purchasing arrangements and sharing of resources. HR is an example. Why do 43 forces have 43 HR departments when massive savings could be achieved with one central HR function?

The same principle should be applied for all areas of procurement. Equipment and services sourced centrally would deliver millions in savings. HMIC predicted that £5billion could be saved by better procurement over a ten year period. 
 
A few highlights from our previous report about the cuts are increasingly relevant:- 
  • Police Force Governance – remove ACPO & PCC's SAVE ??? Millions
  • Police Force Mergers – saving predicted by HMIC £2.25billion (over 10 years)
  • Chief Officer Restructuring – consolidation of ACPO ranks SAVE £11million
  • Chief Officer Restructuring – consolidation of SMT ranks SAVE £80million
  • Remove Chief Supt & Chief Inspector ranks (alternative to mergers) SAVE £12million
  • Increase constable to manager ratio (recruitment cost savings) SAVE £169million
  • Increase sergeant to inspector ratio SAVE £178million
  • If ratio of 1 frontline staff to every officer of management rank SAVE £1billion
  • Police staff levels halved through mergers SAVE £1.3billion
  • Police staff overtime halved by mergers or tighter control SAVE £31million
  • Return 25% of office based police officers to frontline (recruitment savings) SAVE £670million
  • 25% reduction in police staff support numbers SAVE £500million
Any one or combination of these measures was always achievable  without the decimation  witnessed to  front line resources. Any one of them would return hundreds if not thousands of officers to the front line where they are needed most.

Yes there will be pain, but far better that than continue to risk the lives and safety of over stretched officers and members of the public who actually deserve a better quality of service.

The first challenge for the new Home Secretary and her team, is to root out those senior officers who have been singing off their own self serving hymn sheets for far too long.  
 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

1 in 7 people arrested in Britain last year was FOREIGN

  • Figures from Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office
  • In many cases, the suspects have lengthy criminal records back home 
  • Overall, the police arrested 173,0000 foreign criminals last year 

  • Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2873598/One-seven-people-arrested-Britain-year-FOREIGN-damning-study-reveals.html#ixzz3MAY4mUxX

    Police arrested 173,0000 foreign crime suspects last year – one in every seven people who were apprehended nationwide.
     
    The figures from Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office reveal the extraordinary strain being placed on the justice system by overseas criminals.
     
    In many cases, the suspects have lengthy criminal records back home which should have prevented them from entering the UK – or would allow for them to be deported.
     
    Police arrested 173,0000 foreign criminals last year – one in every seven suspects who were apprehended nationwide
     
    But, alarmingly, police are only bothering to carry out checks in only 30 per cent of cases and in some force areas it is as low as six per cent.
     
    It means offenders who should have been detained are being bailed or, when they appear before the British courts, are not being sentenced properly because judges do not know about their criminal past.
     
    Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs select committee, said: ‘It is simply unacceptable that people with serious convictions could be allowed to enter the UK in the first place.
     
    ‘We need to tighten up our borders and get as much information as possible from our EU partners.’
     
    The figures, released by ACRO to a BBC Five Live investigation, showed 14 per cent of all arrests in England and Wales last year were foreign nationals. (MUST)

    The National Audit Office told the BBC that the failure to carry proper checks is the result of the Home Office not having access to up to date computer and information sharing systems.
     
    In 2006, the Labour Government declined to join up to a Europe-wide information sharing regime, known as the Schengen Information System that would have given access to alerts on known criminals.
     
    It leaves Britain as one of only four countries out of 32 in the European Economic Area that cannot access the data.
     
    Under the Schengen arrangement, 2.5million alerts about EU criminals are issued every year.
     
    The UK does receive some information under separate data sharing arrangements – but missing out on half, or a disturbing 1.25million.
     
    There is a separate computer system, known as ECRIS, which the UK does have access to – but can only be used when a suspect is already inside the UK’s borders.
     
    Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs select committee, said the revelations were 'simply unacceptable'
     
    In only three out of every ten cases are officers bothering to use it.
     
    During October, there were huge differences between the number of checks carried out by individual forces.
     
    London’s the Met – which is running a specific operation to deport more foreign offenders – did checks in 100 per cent of cases.
     
    But for Greater Manchester Police the figure was only eight per cent. For Cleveland and the British Transport Police, it was just six per cent.
     
    The NAO said the system for tracking foreign offenders was in chaos.
     
    The Home Office has lost track of 760 of the 4,200 criminals who have been freed back on to our streets, including 58 ‘high harm’ individuals – a category that includes rapists, killers and drug dealers.
     
    Despite a ten-fold increase in case workers, the number of foreign prisoners has gone up by four per cent, to 10,649. Meanwhile, one in six overseas inmates freed from jail has absconded.
     
    The row follows a devastating report last week by the Chief Inspector of Immigration which revealed how foreign criminals – including a killer – had been able to obtain British citizenship.
     
    Home Office staff are not bothering to check for criminal records in a person’s homeland which could lead to their application being turned down.
     
    Yesterday, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper claimed that, under Labour, ‘stronger checks’ will be carried out.
     
    Anyone seeking citizenship would have to produce the equivalent of Criminal Records Bureau documentation from their homeland.
     
    She told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: ‘I think it's shocking that we have had people including serious criminals and killers being given British passports and British citizenship because the Home Office failed to do basic checks.’
     
    Conservative backbencher Peter Bone blamed EU rules on free movement for allowing criminals into the UK.
     
    He said: ‘If someone is coming from the European Union, and we're talking about hundreds of thousands each year, there are no controls. They're not allowed to have controls, the EU won't let you.’
     
    ACRO Chief Executive Ian Readhead said that, while criminal record checks had been carried out on only 30 per cent of suspects in 2013/14, progress had since been made.
     
    For the single month of October 2014, checks were made in 67 per cent of cases.

    Thursday, 20 November 2014

    HOW POLITICIANS USE THE POLICE FOR THEIR OWN ENDS

    The dishonest politician’s guide to handling the police
     
    Professor Tim Hope offers a five point plan for governments on how to push up approval ratings by destroying the legitimacy of the police.
     
    By: Professor Tim Hope
    Date: Thursday, 20 November, 2014

    The publication on 18 November 2014 of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary’s final report of an inspection of crime data integrity in police forces in England and report – Crime Recording: making the victim count – prompted me to reflect upon how successive governments have corrupted the police for political advantage. Here’s how to go about it:

    1. Give the impression that you know how to reduce crime (but don’t be too specific)

    Say that the police service is your main means of reducing crime; don’t discourage the police from their cherished belief that they are the 'Thin Blue Line' against disorder, and that the public loves them for it. Feed the police a lot of barmy ideas about how effective in crime fighting they could be (and watch them quietly squirm in the certain knowledge that much of what they do, or you can think of, has no impact on crime whatsoever).

    2. Pretend that police recorded crime statistics are a true measure of crime and of victims’ needs (but don’t believe this yourself; use your own surveys)

    Reinforce this with performance targets, actual or implicit; these should not be too much of a stretch. Even better, they should merely match your best guess as to how much crime would continue to reduce if nobody did anything (in the eventuality that crime went up instead of down, blame the police for not doing what you said they ought to do).

    3. Pretend that the police don’t belong to you anymore

    Pretend that they are accountable to the public through directly elected commissioners (but know that these panjandrums can be brushed aside if needs be, since nobody actually voted for them; don’t give them any means of holding their police services to account for their performance; then set them to squabble over the funds you will be doling out – you’ll get a better bargain that way). Nevertheless, keep a tight hold on the purse strings, and on all the data and analytical skills you need to assess police performance.

    4. Start waving a big stick

    Make the Chiefs’ salaries dependent upon their performance; pay them like CEOs (to inspire the envy of the ranks) but let a few of them go, to keep the rest in line; start hacking-away at the perks of the job that have built-up amongst the rank and file, while squeezing the middle-managers who are trying to run the show; abolish the closed shops that had run the police, including the Old Boys’ Network of Chiefs and ex-Chiefs, and put the Bloke with the Hatchet in charge of the inspections.

    5. Don’t bother to upgrade the skills of the rank and file police officer

    Establish a College of Policing that doesn’t hand-out degrees to its undergraduates; make sure you maintain a lower level of entry and training qualifications into the police service than are asked by the other safeguarding services with whom the police collaborate on a daily basis (just to reinforce their inferiority complex); and focus on the traditional policing skills (so that you can then emphasise the low-grade nature of the work, and employ cheaper labourers from the private sector).

    Wait and see what happens

    Once you have implemented all of the above, wait and see if your own measurements of crime go down (don’t let anyone doubt that your measuring instrument is anything other than truly comprehensive and unimpeachable). If crime goes down, take all the credit for the reduction; say that this is what you paid the police to do (if it goes up, blame the police for not doing it).

    Once you’re confident that crime is going down long-term, start wondering out loud why we still need all those police officers (the public think there are lots of them because you’ve trumpeted expanding police numbers in the past). Say that you can’t trust them to do a good job anyway. Start talking about all those crimes and victims that don’t need Bobbies on the Beat (but don’t do much about them).

    Talk about how the police must also share the pain of austerity cuts, look for efficiencies, etc. like everyone else. Actually abolish all those performance targets and red tape because what police officers really want is to be out there on the front line fighting crime (instead of sheltering from the elements inside a warm, comfortable police station with their workmates).

    Sit back and wait for the police to start fiddling the figures to make themselves look better, knowing that they have always done this, ever since there were figures to fiddle. Withdraw the auditing that kept the fiddling in check; say that the police ought to be trusted. If the police have been too enthusiastic in massaging the figures in the way you’d like, so that they give the game away and it becomes apparent that police recorded crime has gone down too rapidly, blame the police for short-changing victims (don’t admit that you’ve always turned a blind eye to this sort of thing in the past).
    Rub your hands with glee when the fiddling comes to the surface: now you no longer have to listen to those tedious Chief Constables going on about how much work they need to do, demanding more recruits, and so on, because their evidence is no longer credible (you’ve previously said that policies must be evidenced).

    Selectively shine a torchlight into the affairs of a few police forces in areas where your voters (honest taxpayers) are concentrated; let a few scandals come to light, a few brave whistle-blowers sacrificed (knowing how nastily they treat ‘traitors’, you can then further dramatize the Chiefs’ iniquity at the same time as you leave the whistle-blowers hanging out to dry); let some bemeddled police chiefs face a public grilling (knowing they’ll put their foot in it), and get your parliamentary supporters to bay for blood.

    Finally, you’ve left the police without a leg to stand on, so that you can then blame them for their own failings, safe in the knowledge that your voters in the leafy suburbs won’t notice their absence when you cut their numbers. Watch your approval rating rise for cutting public expenditure.

    Meanwhile, let the real victims of society rot; the inner city poor (who don’t vote) can be left to their own devices; do nothing about the hatred and violence festering away; do not exempt the safeguarding services from the cuts; make it difficult for the police to protect the vulnerable or prosecute those who harm them; and then blame the police for dimming the Blue Lamp in the face of the futility of it all.

    Either way, it isn’t YOUR fault, and that’s all that matters….

    For Heaven’s Sake, give us a Royal Commission to sort out this mess!
     
    - See more at: http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/resources/dishonest-politician%E2%80%99s-guide-handling-police#sthash.8ODZxndi.dpuf

    Tuesday, 18 November 2014

    HMIC: IT'S OFFICIAL POLICE HAVE FIDDLED CRIME STATISTICS

    Police fail to record one in five of all crimes reported to them, says HMIC report


    The problem is greatest for victims of violent crime, with a third going unrecorded. Of sexual offences, 26% are not recorded.

    An HM Inspectorate of Constabulary report looked at more than 8,000 reports of crime in England and Wales.

    The watchdog said the failure to record crime properly was "indefensible".

    Home Secretary Theresa May described the findings as "utterly unacceptable", but police representatives said the situation had improved since the study.

    'Serious concern'

    The inspection reviewed reports of crime between November 2012 and October 2013 across all 43 forces in England and Wales.

    It found that:
    • Among the sample, 37 rape allegations were not recorded as a crime
    • For 3,842 reported crimes, offenders were given a caution or a penalty notice - but inspectors believe 500 of those should have been charged or given a heavier penalty
    • 3,246 of those offences that were recorded were then deemed to be "no crimes" - but inspectors believe 20% of those decisions were wrong and a crime had been committed
    • The incidents recorded as "no-crimes" including 200 reports of rape and 250 of violent crime
    The HMIC report can be accessed by clicking the link below:-

    http://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic/wp-content/uploads/crime-recording-making-the-victim-count.pdf

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30081682

    by Danny Shaw, BBC home affairs correspondent

    The under-recording of crime is more than a question of getting the statistics wrong.

    If an offence isn't officially logged, it may not be investigated. And without a police inquiry there's no hope of finding the perpetrator and preventing other crimes.

    Inspectors say there may well be people on the streets now, able to commit more crimes, who would have been locked up had their original offence been properly dealt with.

    There are indications that some forces are improving. But there's also a warning in the report that increasing workload pressures among police - who are having to do more with considerably less - will "sharpen" the incentive not to record crimes.

    line

    "The position in the case of rape and other sexual offences is a matter of especially serious concern," said Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor.

    "It is particularly important that in cases as serious as rape, these shortcomings are put right as a matter of the greatest urgency. In some forces, action is already being taken in this respect."

    He said the police should "immediately institutionalise" the presumption that the victim is to be believed.

    "If evidence later comes to light which shows that no crime occurred, then the record should be corrected; that is how the system is supposed to work," he added.

    'Lapses in leadership'

    Police are obliged to inform victims about their decisions, but in more than 800 of the cases examined there was no record of the victim having been told.

    Victims may have been under the impression that their crimes were being investigated when they were not, the report said.

    It said relatively little firm evidence had been found of undue pressure being put on officers to manipulate figures.

    Tom Winsor
    Tom Winsor said the presumption should be that victims should be believed

    But in a survey, some officers and staff did say performance and other pressures were distorting their crime-recording decisions, "and when presented with that picture, a number of forces admitted it".

    Inspectors were told that pressure to hit crime reduction targets imposed by "middle managers" had the effect of limiting the number of crimes logged.

    The report recommended that standard training established by the College of Policing be provided by each force.

    'Pressures from workload'

    Mrs May said: "It is never acceptable for the police to mis-record crime. Failing to do so not only lets down victims, but the wider public who expect to be able to trust the integrity of police recorded crime."

    There had been "utterly unacceptable failings" in the way police forces have recorded crime but matters were improving, she said.

    Shadow policing minister Jack Dromey said it was time for Mrs May to "get a grip on this and make urgent changes to the way the police record crime".

    Chief Constable Jeff Farrar, lead for crime recording at the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "Pressures from workload and target culture, use of professional judgment in the interests of victims, lack of understanding of recording rules or inadequate supervision can all lead to inaccurate crime recording.

    "There have been allegations of improper practice, such as dishonest manipulation, in crime recording, however, the biggest and most in-depth inspection ever conducted by HMIC could not find anyone to come forward with any firm evidence to support this."

    Ch Supt Irene Curtis, president of the Police Superintendents' Association, said recorded crime was a measure of demand on police resources rather than police performance.

    "HMIC's report covers a period of at least 12 months ago and recognises that considerable improvements have already been made since that period," she said.

    Crime numbers

    Earlier this year an interim report by Mr Winsor, covering 13 forces, made a similar conclusion that a fifth of crimes could be going unrecorded by police.

    An unrecorded crime is classed as one that is reported to the police but not recorded as an offence.

    Last month, official figures showed the number of rapes reported to and recorded by police in England and Wales was at its highest ever level.

    The Office for National Statistics said there were 22,116 recorded rapes in the year to June, a rise of 29% on the year before.

    Separate statistics from the Crime Survey for England and Wales showed overall crime fell by 16% to 7.1 million cases.

    http://www.policeoracle.com/news/Performance-and-target-pressure-led-to-'inexcusable-crime-recording'_86228.html

    THIN BLUE LINE COMMENT

    1.Nu Labour introduced performance targeting in 1997
    2.Before this, the recorded crime & detection rate of the 43 forces had always been as you would expect, some good and some not-so-good.
    3.Performance targeting rewarded Chief Officers with 15% bonus payments on top of their salaries.
    4.Within 3 years (and for the first time in history) all but one of the 43 forces reflected massive decreases in recorded crime and increases in detections.
    5.The dramatic downturn in recorded crime played a major part in the Coalition decision to include policing in the comprehensive spending review plan for cuts to the service that we have witnessed.
    6.Crime rates play a large part of determining the resources required to police a force area.
    7.Manipulated statistics lies at the very heart of what enabled politicians to use policing as a political football. "Crime has fallen dramatically" they said "so now we can deliver more with less".
    9.The Chief Officers who were responsible, constructed, oversaw, turned an blind eye or allowed to continue the pernicious deceitful processes imposed upon the rank and file and the public.
    10.The rank and file officers were compelled to implement policies that compromised their professional integrity.
    11.The Public Affairs Select Committee, driven by the evidence of James Patrick and others revealed that recorded crime had been fiddled mercilessly for years. Chief Officers brought before the committee presented woefully, despicably defending the strategies they had either engineered or endorsed.
    12. The Office of National Statistics withdrew its approval for police recorded crime, throwing official mistrust over the numbers.
    13.Theresa May and others continued to adopt the "crime is falling because of our efforts" mantra.
    14.It is no surprise that HMIC have found there is an "inexcusably poor" level of police recording of crime - with more than 800,000 crimes unrecorded each year.
    15.It is also no surprise that the HMIC could only ever scratch the surface of the consequence of these practices. We would hardly expect there to be a paper trail of guilt ridden evidence leading the inspectors to uncover the whole spiders web mess that has been created.
    16.When pointing the finger of blame for the malaise that exists within the service, yes, Theresa May, Tom Winsor Tony Blair and other notables have been instrumental.
    17. The heaviest mantle of responsibility must lie with the Chief and senior officers, who, from 1997 onward, lacked the courage, vision and moral compass to resist performance targeting and the payment of divisive corruptive incentive bonuses. Only they benefitted. Everyone else, rank and file and the general public were cheated of the police service we deserve.
    18.Chief Officers represent(ed) the service. If there had been more leaders and fewer managers, we might have seen a stronger resistance and rejection of performance targeting resulting in so much corruption and malpractice and decimation of morale. 

    Sunday, 2 November 2014

    Theresa May and Front Line Police; An Irreparable Breakdown















    The revelation by the Police Federation that the morale of rank and file officers was at its lowest ever level will as no surprise to those struggling to maintain an effective police service in urban and rural areas throughout the UK. The Federation survey mirrored that carried out by the University of the West of England some months ago and indeed by internal police surveys compiled by individual forces.

    Whilst police surveys show much criticism in relation to the leadership of chief officer ranks, the police rank and file collective finger of blame for the inescapable fact that their morale has all but collapsed points only in one direction; namely towards Home Secretary Theresa May. It is no exaggeration to say that as Margaret Thatcher was to the miners and mining communities, Theresa May is to rank and file police officers and their families.

    Police officers expected tough times ahead regardless of which party took power after the 2010 general election; what they did not expect was constant criticism and vilification from the holder of one of the country’s greatest offices of state which culminated in her infamous speech to the Police Federation Conference in May of this year.

    ‘Teflon Theresa’ or ‘Cruella,’ as she has become known, listed every single police transgression going back 25 years to the time of Hillsborough. In fact the number of officers ‘responsible’ for such transgressions, and we should remember many remain alleged, probably numbers less than 100 in total. The anger of officers was compounded by the fact that ‘fiddled’ crime figures were listed amongst the series of transgressions. Amazingly later in the same speech she claimed credit for the apparent 20% reduction in crime figures which would have been based on the ‘fiddled’ figures she condemned just minutes earlier.

    There is strong suspicion that Theresa May’s attacks on police are part of an attempt to divert attention from the truly disastrous performances of her own law enforcement creations namely the UK Border Agency and UK Border Force. These dominated headlines earlier this week following yet another damning report, this time from the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee.

    The Home Office ineptitude in respect of UK Borders inevitably impacts on the police. Theresa May’s failure to strengthen ‘chocolate teapot’ border controls has resulted in hundreds of jihadists being able to travel back and forth with impunity. Foreign criminals, whether from within Europe or otherwise have also been able to exploit lax controls while drug traffickers are having a field day in that customs trained officers are frequently taken from anti-smuggling duties to ‘stamp passports.’ Cocaine seizures at airports are down by 76% and this again adds to the burden on front line police officers.

    Theresa May’s most recent onslaught on police took place at the Conservative Party conference last month. The main content of her speech concerned terrorism but the first ten minutes consisted of a blistering attack on front line Metropolitan Police officers accusing them, in essence, of racism based on stop and search.

    Despairing Met officers would have hoped that she might have tempered this criticism with a realisation it is not the fault of police that inner city areas suffer from poor schooling, lack of parental role models, poor housing and a woeful lack of job opportunities with 54% of young black males between the ages of 16 and 24 being unemployed. The blame for this sorry state of affairs can only lie at the door of successive, inept governments.

    Surely, they argue, these conditions invariably breed gangs, drug dealing and the violent crime that goes with it. In London this grim cocktail has resulted in the tragic deaths of innocent teenagers who have been murdered as a result of being wrongly identified or for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Whether gang members or not, every murder victim is someone’s son or daughter and front line officers would argue that this is the primary motivation for officers carrying out stop and searches rather than simple racial harassment. The fact that dozens of young men and women would be alive today had their assailants been stopped and searched before encountering their victims appears to have been ignored by Theresa May and should have at least been considered in what remains a contentious issue.

    Now, to add to the woes of an already demoralised service, there is a very real threat to police officers, whether on or off duty, from ISIS or other jihadi terrorists, many of whom would have breezed through border controls to learn their craft abroad or have been indoctrinated within the UK’s justice system or via the internet.

    There is little confidence that Theresa May will take the necessary steps which will help ensure the safety of officers whom she clearly appears to despise. Sadly in the event of an atrocity being committed, one sight that no front line officer wishes to see would be the spectacle of the current Home Secretary ‘crying crocodile tears’ at the funeral of a police officer who has been murdered by terrorists. They will be only too well aware that such a tragedy will have been assisted by government hostility, complacency, cutbacks and sheer incompetence.

    It is indeed a sad indictment of the breakdown in the relationship between police and the Home Secretary that a number of front line officers have instructed that, in the event of them dying in the line of duty, ‘that woman’ be barred from their funeral.

    Follow Chris Hobbs on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/obbsie

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