Time for a full review into policing

12 April 2017

Calls for a review into policing

A call has been made for a “long overdue” full review into policing.

It was among a number of issues raised by the Police Federation of England & Wales (PFEW) in its response to Home Affairs Select Committee following the launch of its  Policing for the Future inquiry.

National chair Steve White said: “For more than a decade, we have been demanding a holistic and independent review of policing in order to properly determine what the public want and expect of their police service.

“While appreciating this would need to be balanced against the reality of the fiscal policy of the government of the day and its limitations on resources and capacity, it would, at the very least, be a starting point to ensure we have a police service fit for purpose and able to focus on those issues deemed to be public priority.

“If we were starting afresh today, we cannot see any logic or rationale in having this number of police forces. We maintain that a Royal Commission on Policing looking at the entire structure, function, roles and funding of the police service is long overdue. This would address the points raised and allow radical, long-term, strategic thinking, rather than knee-jerk responses and tinkering based on political whim.

“We need police officers to remain at the heart of policing, to retain the model of policing by consent and to ensure that those tasked with protecting our communities have the support of the law, are given the appropriate protections, equipment and training to do the job and are valued, motivated and fairly rewarded.”

Commenting on a range of issues, the PFEW highlights current and future crime trends and their implications for policing under-reported types of crime, the extent to which the police are sufficiently equipped to deal with these changing patterns of crime and other operational demands (such as mental health crisis work), and where gaps in capacity and capability are likely to lie.

Issues such as proactivity from the top of policing, equipment, training, accountability and a long-term strategy for the future of policing are also discussed in the submission, which can be seen in full on the Home Affairs Select Committee website.

The Committee is also looking at police funding levels, efficiency and cost-effectiveness, including the role of police and crime commissioners (PCCs) in driving innovation and reform, and the role of digital technology in policing, including take-up, risks and barriers to use.

* This item is adapted from a story from the latest edition of POLICE magazine.