David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

Friday, April 09, 2010

Politicians "Face Tough Choices on Policing"

Professional bodies warn that custodian of Number 10 keys must square up to difficult decisions on law enforcement issues…...

Tough choices will need to be made about crucial policing issues –whoever holds the keys to Number 10 Downing Street next month, it has been claimed.

In a statement after Gordon Brown announced that he would go to the country on May 6, the Police Federation said any PM would have to balance the demands of financial pressures while dealing with home affairs concerns.

Brown admitted that the election announcement had been “the worst kept secret in recent years” when – at 1100hrs on Tuesday (April 6) – he revealed he was going to the country.

All three parties have already discussed the broad direction in which they would take the police, should they take power, both in and out of Parliament.

Among the policies, Labour has said it will ring fence the Community Policing budget, ensuring there is cash for Police Community Support Officers for 2010-11.

The Tories are planning to introduce directly elected police chiefs which, the party claims, would improve accountability and cut down on bureaucracy.

The Liberal Democrats have maintained that chief officers should have greater discretion to manage their force in deciding key staff changes and rewarding specialists.

But a spokesman for the Police Federation said: “From our point of view we recognise that there are a number of issues in the police that need to be faced – whoever finds themselves in power in a month or so.

“We understand that the economic climate is not good and the Prime Minister will have to maximise investment in each of the public services.”

The spokesman believed that the “workforce mix” in the police would need to be examined to see how PCs and PCSOs could be deployed for best effect.

He also called for better collaboration between Forces to be explored where viable, Police IT to be better organised and a more “joined up criminal justice system”.

Sir Hugh Orde, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, believed that a more radical approach was required to meet the needs of difficult times.

The senior officer and former Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, again called for a top-down review of the whole law enforcement system, which, he stressed, had not been done for nearly five decades.

He said: “We would like to see a review of all areas of policing including the number of forces, national structures which pull things together in times of emergency and the manner in which the police are held to account.

“Police chiefs make hard choices on how to carve up their resources from anti-social behaviour at one end of the spectrum through to combating the threat from international terrorism at the other. It is now time to review the structures which govern our role in this increasingly complex landscape.”

However the Association of Police Authorities did not believe that an overhaul of policing was needed – and stressed that politicians needed to keep priorities in perspective.

APA Chairman Rob Garnham said: “Police authorities have the power, on behalf of local communities, to ensure that policing continues to improve. We do not need an expensive and time consuming review to look at how to do this.

“Policing is at an immensely important stage – we are already seeing a significant drive to improve public confidence in the Service, which is beginning to grow steadily and we are in the run up to the Olympics,” he added.

Article courtesy of www.policeoracle.com


MPS (not!) Probbie said...

I agree with Sir Hugh - the first radical thing we should do is scrap APCO. It costs hundreds of millions, is morally dubious at best, and serves no useful purpose. The same goes for the NPIA.

Crime Analyst said...

ACPO’s blurred purpose and responsibility does not help the service. ACPO advises government, it sets policing policy, it campaigns for increased police powers, and now we learn it is engaged in commercial activities – all with a rather shady lack of accountability.

ACPO’s incorporation as a private company shields it from accountability, for example through the Freedom of
Information Act.

ACPO has been described as a “self-perpetuating oligarchy” Chris Grayling, the Shadow Home Secretary, commented:

“It is strange that the Policing and Crime Bill gives ACPO a statutory position in advising on appointments when the status of ACPO itself remains undefined. Is it an external reference group for Home Office Ministers,or a professional association protecting senior officers’ interests? Is it a national policing agency, or is it a pressure group arguing for greater police powers?”

ACPO has the ear of the Home Secretary and this, in combination with its influence over senior officers (and those wishing to become senior officers), means it is a prominent voice in determining policy.

If the Home Secretary wants to ensure the adoption of a policy idea, he will “strike a bargain” with ACPO to ensure its implementation. ACPO is the driving force behind policy, and the Home Office succumbs, either because of its own autocratic instincts or because the police
are exceptionally good at pushing through the things they want.

This focus of ACPO on national policy means that individual Chief Constables are left focusing on administrative matters and equipment choices. In fact
this situation should be reversed:

ACPO could take a useful national lead on administration and interoperability while Chief Constables focus on their
forces’ operations.

The NPIA is a scandalous waste of resource and taxpayers money. Rather than setting a fine example to the service, is disgracing it still further with its “gravy boat” culture at the very top of British policing.


There was a time when the distinction of high rank in public service, together with the job security and the prospect of a gong, was thought compensation enough for a chief constable’s modest pay. But now that is clearly no longer enough for them.

Alas, the same is true everywhere in the upper echelons of the state sector, where the spirit of public service has been supplanted by naked greed.

There is undoubtedly a great deal of good work done by ACPO, the APA and the NPIA. However, for public confidence to be fully restored, accountability must begin at the top, with full transparency and independent scrutiny of each agency to assess its viability and value to the srvice and tax paying public.

The HMIC headline their activities with 'forces should provide value for money'.

The example MUST come from the very top. ACPO, NPIA & the APA should be pressured into showing the value for money they represent. None of them would stand up to close scrutiny.

No suprise that the head of the APA sees no useful purpose in any reforms in his sector, as even the most basic level of scrutiny would reflect serious doubts as to whether the APA, ACPO & NPIA serve the useful purposes they would kid us they provide. Do they represent value for money? I seriously doubt it.

Anonymous said...

moral could not be lower if it tried politcal correctness,health and safety has killed the job
and now no overtime or lack of it
no confidence in the SMT or ACPO
massive buget cuts in training, manpower and equipment.lowering of standards to get in the job PCSO who get laughed at,and what's worse the public expect what and get a service or lack of it.if the public want a POLICE FORCE then
stop the interference and stupid rules by the goverment and do gooders and let the police do the job they want to do