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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

What do the police do?

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Chief Constable Alex Marshall (the chief exec of the College of Policing) argues that the changing mix of crime means that over the past 10 years, investigating and preventing crime is become more complex with crime such as child abuse and domestic violence taking up much more police time.

First analysis of national demand on policing published

A recent report by the National Audit Office found that the Home Office did not have sufficient information to understand the impact of the recent funding cuts. The NAO found that only 10 out of 43 forces had a sophisticated understanding of the demand for police services.

So a new report from the College of Policing is extremely well-timed. It provides the first national picture of the breadth and complexity of the work undertaken by the police.

The College of Policing analysis shows the incoming and ongoing work of the police and suggests an increasing amount of police time is directed towards public protection work such as managing high-risk offenders and protecting victims who are at risk and often vulnerable.

These cases are often extremely challenging and require considerable amounts of police resource.

The analysis shows in the past five years the number of police officers has fallen by 11 per cent. On a typical day in a typical force there is approximately one officer on duty for every 1,753 people living in a force area. The infographic below provides an excellent summary of the typical daily demand on a typical police force. In order to present “typical” information, the College of Policing looked at data for the police area which had the median level of demand for each of the different activities. [Click on the graphic to see it in full size or right click and download the image to peruse at your leisure.]

 

COP_infographic_Art08

Conclusion

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has recently based her argument that cutting funding from the police is safe on the continuing reduction in crime. However, the College of Policing argues that while the number of crimes has fallen, the level of demand on police resources has not reduced in the same way. Chief Constable Alex Marshall (the chief exec of the College of Policing) argues that the changing mix of crime means that over the past 10 years, investigating and preventing crime is become more complex with crime such as child abuse and domestic violence taking up much more police time.

More information about the demand on police forces will be invaluable as the government decides whether to rationalise 43 services into one national police service as has already been done in Scotland.

 

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3 Responses

  1. Classic example of the one way demand valve in public services. When demand rises eg crime, the case for extra resources is based on that rise. When it starts to fall – in the case of crime, halves – some other demand is found to justify all the resources which have been put in to date on the basis of rising crime. Thus, no public service can ever be called on to reduce resources. An extra touch, that the service’s defence of its resourcing is mounted simultaneously with the NAO’s conclusion that the service simply doesnt understand the demands on it.

    1. Perhaps Julian the case should be put that when crime goes up, extra resources are needed to tackle the increae and this results in the fall, if then the resources are reduced the crime would in all probability start to rise again, surely, having achieved a reduction the level of resources should be maintained to hold on to that reduction…worth thinking about !!

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