All you need to know about policing:
Here you can find over 100 posts tracking every major development in policing since 2011. You can trace the impact of staffing cuts, follow the debate about the role of modern policing and keep up with the latest in digitisation, use of drones & other innovations. If you’re looking for something in particular, try the search box below:
It will be interesting to see if PCCs build on this promising start and make the voluntary sector a keystone of their work in tackling crime locally. They will face two substantial challenges over the next two years. Firstly, the outcome of the general election will have a significant impact.
“It is not the force which pays the highest price of crime-recording failures, but those victims and the wider community to whom justice may be denied. This can be especially true for the vulnerable, and those who suffer more serious crimes. Failure properly to record crime today may not only fail today’s victims; it places others at risk of becoming victims tomorrow.”
Y-STOP recently publicised a useful infographic showing information about the number of young people under 18 stopped and searched in the year up to March 2014. Just 11% of these stops led to arrests and the Metropolitan Police carried out 39% of all stop and searches on young people.
Police officers will use their professional judgement to assess an offence, taking into account the wishes of the victim and the offender’s history, in order to reach an outcome which best meets the needs of the victim and of the public. Of course, many police services have been using these community resolutions
Hidden in the text of the article is the rather less sensational and more welcome finding that gun crime has been falling rapidly with only 127 shots fired in the first half of 2014 with just one related death. What is perhaps most startling is the way that the police have reduced shootings without entering into a gun battle with criminals.
At present, there is no specific offence of domestic abuse outlining that coercive and controlling behaviour in an intimate relationships is criminal. The behaviours are captured in stalking and harassment legislation, but do not explicitly apply to intimate relationships. Some experts have argued that this means the law is ambiguous and perpetrators of domestic abuse are committing criminal acts but not being brought to justice.
The digital justice system is slowly becoming a reality. Police now transfer more than 90% of case files electronically to the CPS and there are digital Court pilots in Birmingham and Bromley. The next priority is to digitise evidence with police officers’ notebooks being overtaken by tablets and body worn video cameras which should not only streamline but also improve the quality of evidence.
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has acknowledged openly that police use of Stop and Search remains problematic. Official data from the Home Office last year revealed that Black people aged 10 years or older were SIX times more likely to be stopped and searched than their white peers.
One of the difficulties in getting a more efficient police force that spends a larger proportion of its funds on policing rather than administration is getting rid of an excessively bureaucratic culture. The Stevens report treads a fine line here as some its remedies, to my mind, seem to imply introducing a number of new systems which will struggle to streamline procurement and cut waste.
The report asks how we reconcile the need for police services to be locally accountable while facing up to the fact that the current structure of 43 separate forces in England and Wales is no longer cost effective, nor equipped to meet the challenges of organised and cross-border crime.
This is a challenge which also faces the modern probation service.
This seems to be a particularly bold and radical approach to addressing two separate problems. The Stevens Report makes a very strong recommendation that this new ISPC should be entirely independent of the police service. This seems to me to be absolutely right in terms of the investigation of serious complaints. However, although the inspection function would benefit from a broader perspective, surely the intimate knowledge of police officers is absolutely key to make inspections a helpful and constructive exercise, rather than just a bureaucratic requirement?
This approach clearly brings benefits to police officers in terms of elevating their professional status and celebrating the high standards already embraced by many. The flipside of the coin is that there would be much more openness about the inner workings of the police, particularly in terms of misconduct and press relations.
The report acknowledges the Winsor review, supports some aspects of it and rejects others. It criticises the way that Winsor has been handled and says their needs to be much more engagement and discussion with police officers themselves. It’s attitude to Winsor is summarised as…
There is a strong emphasis throughout the report on community engagement and neighbourhood policing and there is a specific recommendation to ensure that accountability goes down to the neighbourhood level by establishing “participatory budgeting units” to ensure greater local community involvement in allocating resources.