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, where you can contribute your thoughts. 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]
So, let's now look at number 2 Policing in the 21st Century: "Increasing democratic accountability"
The Home Office consultation paper sets out proposals for increasing democratic accountability, and asks (in summary):
1. Will the proposed checks and balances provide suitable safeguards for the work of Commissioners, and are there further safeguards that should be considered?
2. What could be done to ensure that candidates for Commissioner come from a wide range of backgrounds?
3. How should Commissioners best work with the wider criminal justice and community safety partners?
4. How might Commissioners best work with their communities - individuals, businesses and voluntary organisations - at the neighbourhood level?
5. How can the Commissioner and the greater transparency of local information drive improvements in the most deprived and least safe neighbourhoods?
6. What information would help the public make judgements about their force and Commissioner?

What are your views?...

So, let's now look at number 3 Policing in the 21st Century: "Removing bureaucratic accountability"
The Home Office consultation paper sets out proposals to tackle the bureaucratic burden on police officers. It asks (in summary):
1.What are examples of unnecessary bureaucracy within police forces, and how can these be removed?
2. How should forces ensure efficient provision of information to local communities?
3. What information should HMIC use to support a more proportionate approach to their 'public facing performance role', while reducing burdens and avoiding de-facto targets?
4. How can ACPO change the culture of the police service to move away from compliance with detailed guidance to the use of professional judgement within a clear framework based around outcomes?
5. How can we share knowledge about policing techniques that cut crime without creating endless guidance?

• We would be keen to hear views on whether the removal of targets and pledges makes a difference if the statistics still need to be collected and performance compared on report cards.

• Will it take the removal of the central performance management machinery to really give back discretion to the police?

What are your views?
So, let's now look at number 4 Policing in the 21st Century: "A national framework for efficient local policing"
The Home Office propose the phasing out of the NPIA, and revised roles for Association of Chief Police Officers and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary. A new National Crime Agency will be tasked with combatting organised crime and protecting our borders.
The consultation paper asks (in summary):
1. What policing functions should be delivered between forces acting collaboratively?
2. What are the principal obstacles to collaboration between forces or with other partners, and how can they be addressed?
3. Are there functions which need greater national co-ordination or which would make sense to organise and run nationally (whilst still being delivered locally)?
4. How can the police service take advantage of private sector expertise to improve value for money?
5. Alongside its focus on organised crime and border security, what functions might a new National Crime Agency deliver on behalf of police forces, and how should it be held to account?
6. What arrangements should be put in place to ensure that there is a sufficient pool of chief officers available? Is there a role for other providers to provide training?
7. How can we rapidly increase the capability within the police service to become more business-like, with police leaders taking on a more prominent role to help drive necessary cultural change in delivering sustainable business process improvement?

Please add your views to the debate...
So, let's now look at the final set, number 5 Policing in the 21st Century: "Tackling crime together"
The Home Office's consultation paper aims to give everyone a say in how their area is
policed, with everyone able to play their part in cutting crime. There are plans to give

more opportunities for citizens to attend beat meetings, to get involved in Neighbourhood Watch, and to volunteer within the police service and the wider criminal justice system.

The consultation paper asks (in summary):

1. What more can the Government do to support the public to take a more active role in keeping neighbourhoods safe?
2. How can the Government encourage more people to volunteer (including as special constables) and provide necessary incentives to encourage them to stay?
3. What more can central Government do to make the criminal justice system more efficient?
4. What prescriptions from Government get in the way of effective local partnership working?
5. What else needs to be done to simplify and improve community safety and criminal justice work locally?

What are your views?

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