The Independent Police Commission
Last week saw the launch of a flagship new report by the Independent Police Commission: “Policing for a Better Britain”. The full report runs to 226 pages but you can also read a summary with the key recommendations.
So, who are the Independent Police Commission?
Essentially, a quasi Royal Commission set up by the Labour Party – in the person of Yvette Cooper, Shadow Home Secretary – and chaired by Lord Stevens. Lord Stevens used to be plain John Steven and was Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police from 2000-2005.
The Commission was to design a police service which faced up the challenges of the future while remaining based on the British model of policing by consent introduced by Robert Peel. The Commission was specifically asked to undertake its work on the understanding that there would be no extra investment in resources in the foreseeable future.
How did they produce the report?
There were 40 member of the commission, made up mainly of politicians, retired senior police officers from different countries, sentencers, journalists, Think Tanks, private industry etc. – you can see a complete list starting on page 182 of the full report.
The commissioners held six days of witness hearings, undertook eight surveys and held seven regional meetings. There was impressive take-up of the surveys with 30,000 service police officers and staff and 2,000 members of the public getting involved.
There was also significant academic input with 47 scholars from 28 different universities writing 31 positions papers to underpin the work of the Commission.
What did they recommend?
You will be aware of the some of the high profile recommendations already from the media coverage. These include:
- A focus on neighbourhood policing as the core building block of fair and effective policing
- The abolition of Police and Crime Commissioners
- An overhaul of police standards
- New media guidelines to ensure that journalists can hold the police to account
- Police should not have the right to strike
However, the report – described as being one of the most thorough reviews of the police in modern history – goes far beyond these headlines.
Eight key themes
The report claims to set out a bold and radical vision of how to deliver fair and effective policing in straitened times. It proposes a programme of reform framed around the eight themes set out below:
- A Social Justice Model of Neighbourhood Policing
- Creating effective partnerships
- Achieving better democratic governance
- A new deal for police officers and staff
- Building a police profession
- Raising standards and remedying misconduct
- A structure fit for purpose
- Making savings and efficiencies
The report has already stimulated plenty of discussion and it looks as if “Policing for a better Britain” may be a key document which shapes the debate on the future of policing and, indeed, the broader criminal justice system – the probation service is mentioned 13 times in the report.
In order to contribute to this debate, I intend to run a series of posts looking at each of these eight key themes in turn every Tuesday for the next two month.
Please contribute your views via the comments section below.