Friday, 20 August 2010

Policing in the 21st century: The Police Debate - Part 1 of 5 - Have Your Voice Heard

The police service is facing its biggest challenge for a generation with the current policing reform consultation heralding fundamental changes in the policing landscape. The Home Office consultation paper "Policing in the 21st Century" identifies the need to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the service, whilst managing the careful balance between the demand from citizens for visible policing, tackling low level crime, and the continuing need of Forces to focus on serious and organised crime, and counter- terrorism.

'Policing in the 21st century: reconnecting police and the people' is a consultation document released by the Home Office on 26th July 2010. The consultation closes on 20th September 2010.

An expert panel was brought together to explore ways in which the government can take forward these reforms. The debate focuses on the paper's proposals around accountability and structure with discussions around the impact of directly elected Police and Crime commissioners and how will these reflect the needs of diverse local communities, as well discussing the potential role of the new National Crime Agency and how this will impact existing national policing priorities. Panel members were:

Rt, Hon Nick Herbert MP – Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice
Cllr Mark Burns-Williamson – Deputy Chair, Association of Police Authorities and Chair, West Yorkshire Police Authority
Mark Rowley – Chief Constable, Surrey Police and ACPO Futures lead
Nick Gargan – Deputy Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Executive, National Policing Improvement Agency
Irene Curtis – Chief Superintendent, Lancashire Police and Vice President Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales


We have been invited to participate in the debate process online via the police debate group on Linked In. As this is our link to the site, the reader may join Linked In to access the debate. Alternatively, to make participation easier, we will be posting the  consultation questions in the key areas asked by the Home Office over a five part series of articles.

We have all witnessed the ACPO betrayal of the rank and file troops with leaking of the "Secret Document" this week. We followed our first article on this subject with "The Case Against ACPO", providing further evidence supporting the growing argument that these questions are too important to be left to ACPO alone and that the front line troops must have their voices heard.

On these pages and on other sites, here and here, we will be posting the consultation questions, collating the responses (anonymous is ok), and presenting them to the panel for inclusion within the debate. We believe the panel should recognise and include the Police Federation in the debate process now, so protecting the interests and presenting the views of the rank and file. The Federation should not be an afterthought, left to fight over policies and strategies already forced home by ACPO. ACPO are the managerial and strategic presence, the Federation should be empowered to stand alongside them in these early stages so that the most balanced and fair outcomes are arrived at. 

In the meantime, this is your chance to let the panel know your views about the crucial reforms being considered in UK policing. Either on here, on the other sites we have linked above or directly via the Linked In debate pages, let us know your thoughts and experiences.  

The debate process is in five parts, each of which contain a series on consultation questions. To see the consultation questions under each section, click the links below, each of which has been allocated a seperate posting from these pages. From time to time, we will post our own responses and those from other contributors from other sites.

1. Policing in the 21st Century: "The Challenge"
2. Policing in the 21st Century: "Increasing democratic accountability"
3. Policing in the 21st Century: "Removing bureaucratic accountability"
4. Policing in the 21st Century: "A national framework for efficient local policing"
5. Policing in the 21st Century: "Tackling crime together"

So, let's jump right in with 1. Policing in the 21st Century: "The Challenge"

The Home Office consultation paper, 'Policing in the 21st century: reconnecting police and the people', sets out Government proposals to make police in England and Wales "more available and responsive, more accountable, more effective, and deliver better value for money".

The key features of the government's proposed reforms include:

1. electing policing and crime commissioners to hold police forces to account and strengthen the bond between the police and the public
2. a powerful new National Crime Agency to lead the fight against organised crime and strengthen our border security
3. greater collaboration between police forces to increase public protection and save money
4. phasing out the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA)
5. cutting bureaucracy, removing restrictive health and safety procedures and freeing up police officers' time
6. a clear role for everyone, including members of the public, in cutting crime through beat meetings, neighbourhood watch schemes and voluntary groups.

What are your broad views on this overarching challenge?

[Note there are separate discussion threads to cover the specifics of democratic accountability, bureaucracy, national policing framework and cross-CJ working]



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