Today I have published “Police Performance Assessments 2005-06” covering the 43 individual police forces in England and Wales. This publication has been brought together by the Home Office’s Police and Crime Standards Directorate (PCSD) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and this is the second year that such assessments have been published. Copies will be placed in the House Library. The publication of these assessments represents an important part of the Government’s reform programme for public services. We want to see policing which is visible, accessible and responsive.
Together with the countrywide programme to introduce neighbourhood policing and achieve consistently high quality of service standards, the assessments are intended to provide the public with a clear view on how well policing is being delivered in their area. In addition to these assessments, police authorities are also now obliged to provide even more local views to every household in their communities on the police priorities for their area, and to explain who is responsible and accountable for their delivery, as well reporting on how effectively these policing priorities have been discharged.
As in last year’s report, tables have been used to provide an understandable summary of performance for each of the 43 police forces across seven key performance areas. Forces are assigned the clear judgments ‘excellent’, ‘good’, ‘fair’ and ‘poor’ and are also compared against previous performance to determine if they are ‘improved’, ‘stable’ or ‘deteriorated’. The publication is complemented by comprehensive information (including data and technical definitions) available via the Home Office website.
The continued application of this framework sets a benchmark for future policing performance and ensures that local police forces can be held to account for the delivery of key services to local communities. It provides a mechanism for improving performance and for increasing responsiveness to the public. It has also allowed forces—with the support of their police authorities—to identify strengths and weaknesses across their responsibilities, thereby reducing the need for external inspections, reviews or other interventions.
Going forward—and as noted in the Home Office reform action plan—the assessments will be developed further in 2007-08 into a simplified performance framework covering crime, drugs and policing. This will streamline the mechanisms in place to monitor police performance and should reduce the inspection burden on police and their partners.