Throughout the UK many police officers, police staff their families and friends are baffled and angry at the way they perceive the government is treating them.
Some of the concerns are expressed in this Police Oracle cartoon.
But given the deficit, there is surely an economic imperative to tackle policing.
Speaking on 30th January 2012 the Home Secretary, Theresa May said
“When people talk about public service reform it’s often through the prism of cuts. With the deficit we have, that’s understandable, but it’s just not what our police reforms are about. Of course, the need to make savings makes reform more urgent than ever. But the aim of our police reforms is not just to save money, it’s to equip the police to face the future and make them more effective at fighting crime.”
To read the rest of the speech click here http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/media-centre/speeches/home-sec-police-reform
But is police reform actually about tackling the deficit? Well even the 20% cuts won’t make a big dent in the national deficit if one looks at this 2006 illustration from The Guardian.
Nor will it allow much room for tax cuts, if this feature from the Sun is correct.
In a speech to Crime Concern on 16th January 2006 David Cameron made it clear that in his view “You can’t be tough on crime unless you’re tough on police reform.” http://m.guardian.co.uk/politics/2006/jan/16/conservatives.ukcrime?cat=politics&type=article
But, is there any reference to the budget deficit? Can you spot him saving Tom Winsor time and money and many pages of work, by forecasting what will be in his two reports several years later?
You may find the 2007 Conservative party document, ‘Policing for the People’ of interest. Page 3 states
“David Cameron has made police reform a priority for the Conservative Party. On becoming Leader of the Party he appointed Nick Herbert as Shadow Minister for Police Reform with a brief to lead a Taskforce on the issue.”
This extract from page 48 is particularly interesting
You can read the full document at http://www.conservatives.com/pdf/policereform.pdf
This and the varying publications since from think tanks of all political hues clearly demonstrate that policing is becoming politicised.
This 2011 clip http://youtu.be/UA7nOn9KoeE shows Nick Herbert, Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice talking of the need for reform. The clip is from a lecture to the think tank Institute for Public Policy Research.
We need to know in an open and transparent way, who is influencing government decisions. Click here to see more http://www.lobbyingtransparency.org/
Isn’t it ironic that some of those who wax lyrical over the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioners and why they will be better than police authorities are neither elected nor accountable.
We genuinely do all need to work together to ensure that Police and Crime Commissioners do work and that the concerns we have previously blogged about are addressed.
We have seen repeated scandals in politics with cash for questions, MPs expenses and now the Cameron cash for access debacle.
Until such time as politics clears up its act and there is openness and transparency about the links (financial or otherwise) of all politicians with think tanks and the media and those bidding for increased private sector involvement in policing we have every right to be sceptical.
Especially when one considers that back in March 2005, when no one spoke of a government having to tackle the budget deficit we see the BBC reporting that
Tory quits in ‘hidden cuts’ row – Conservative deputy chairman Howard Flight has been forced to quit after he suggested the party’s true spending plans had been hidden from voters.
Everyone who cares about policing needs to make sure they contribute to the review of policing being conducted by Lord Stevens.
The Independent Commission on the Future of Policing
Chair: Lord Stevens
Lord John Stevens said on the launch of the Independent Commission on the Future of Policing:
“I am delighted to have been asked to chair this truly essential independent policing commission, the true importance of which is highlighted by the number of eminent experts who have agreed to be a part of the Commission.”
Yvette Cooper MP, Shadow Home Secretary, said:
“Policing in Britain now faces a perfect storm. The scale of the cuts, the chaos of confused reforms, escalating demands, and declining morale.
“We have a proud tradition of British policing and great successes including in recent years. However I am now worried about the future for policing and the risk of a growing gap between public concerns and the capacity of the police to deliver.
“Faced with these challenges I believe it is time for a new vision for the future of policing. 50 years on from the last royal commission into policing, we are setting up this independent commission to set out the role and purpose of policing in our communities for the 21st century and the reforms that are needed to deliver it.
“The police service needs support, its future role in society needs to be resolved, and the expectations the public have of the police need to be understood. That’s how we can produce a truly 21st Century Police Service.”
The Terms of Reference
1. The Challenges for Policing in the 21st Century – what is the role of the police and what is expected of the police?
2. How to deliver the workforce to best equip the police to cut crime and increase public confidence
3. The police’s relationship with the wider criminal justice system and the agencies of the state
4. Governance and accountability – how to ensure the police are both held to account but unencumbered by bureaucracy
5. Striking the right balance between the need for the police service to meet both local and national priorities, and the national structures to support that effort
6. Management of resources and the efficiencies to be found to get the most out of police spending
Membership of the Commission
Lord Stevens has brought together a wide-ranging team to work with him on the Commission:
Professor Jennifer Brown – Director of the Mannheim Centre for Criminology, London School of Economics and Political Science
Jessica de Grazia – Former First Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan DA’s Office in New York City
His Honour Sir Mota Singh QC LLD – Within 11 years of coming to the Bar, Mota Singh was appointed a Deputy Judge, Queen’s Counsel, a Recorder of the Crown Courts and then a Circuit Judge. This appointment was the first from a minority ethnic group
Mr Peter Neyroud QPM – Former Chief Constable of Thames Valley and former Head of the National Policing Improvement Agency
Professor Sharon Mavin – Dean of Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University
Pastor Nims Obunge – Chief Executive Officer of the Peace Alliance
Mr Tom Riordan – Chief Executive of Leeds City Council
Adele Anderson – Former CFO of KPMG and Non-Executive Director of easyJet plc
Ms Kathleen M. O’Toole – Chief Inspector of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate and former Commissioner of Boston Police
The Baroness Henig of Lancaster – Chair of the Security Industry Authority
The Baroness Harris of Richmond – Patron of the National Victims Association
Dr Tim Brain – Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Cardiff University and Visiting Professor at the University of Gloucestershire
Professor Ian Loader – Director, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford
Mr Rick Muir – In a personal capacity
Professor Mike Rowe – Professor of Criminology, Northumbria University
Mr Chris Gregg QPM – Former Head of CID at West Yorkshire
Professor Martin Innes – Director of the University Police Science, Cardiff University
Mr Peter Ryan – Chairman and Principle Consultant at Citadel International Business Developments Ltd and former Commissioner of New South Wales Police and International Expert on Policing
Mr Max-Peter Ratzel – Former Director of Europol
Mr Howard Safir – Former Commissioner of the New York Police Department
You may wish to contrast this approach with that taken in the 2007 Conservative party document, ‘Policing for the People’ of interest. On page 7 it states “ This report has been written by Nick Herbert with the help of Oscar Keeble, Aidan Burley and Blair Gibbs.” Please read the biographies on page7.
Policing is too important to be used as a political football kicked around by competing ideologies. The general public are owed more than that as are the loyal men and women who are police staff and police officers throughout the UK.