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Police Performance Assessments 2006-07

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

Today I have published “Police Performance Assessments 2006-07” 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 third year that such assessments have been published. Copies will be placed in the House Library and in the Vote Office. 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.

As in last year’s report, tables have been used to provide an understandable summary of performance for each of the 43 police forces in key performance areas. Forces are assigned the clear judgments “excellent”, “good, “fair” and “poor”. The publication is complemented by comprehensive information (including data and technical definitions) available via the Home Office website at: http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/performance.

However, this year’s assessments reflect new arrangements for inspection. Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary (HMIC) has moved to a programme of risk-based inspection, focusing less on high volume, low risk issues and probing instead those areas which pose a major risk of harm to individuals. The results of this new inspection programme are included within the assessment, providing a rounded assessment of policing across England and Wales.

For this year, the focus of inspection has been on protecting the most vulnerable, and on ensuring the successful delivery of our programme of neighbourhood policing. Results for these inspection areas are included within the assessment for each force. Our progress towards the national roll-out of neighbourhood policing was marked when we achieved our target to recruit 16,000 police community support officers, providing valuable local resources to build relationships and address problems in local communities.

These 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 have a statutory responsibility to provide local information to every household in their communities on the policing priorities for their area, and to explain who is responsible and accountable for their delivery, as well as reporting on how effectively these policing priorities have been discharged.

This framework ensures that local police forces can be held to account for delivery of key services to local communities. It also provides a mechanism for improving performance, and has enabled forces—with the support of their police authorities—to identify strengths and weakness across their responsibilities, thereby reducing the need for external inspections, reviews or other interventions.

As we move forward—and as noted in the Home Office reform action plan—the assessments will be developed further into a broader framework for crime, drugs and policing. 2006-07 is the first transition year towards this new framework, which is planned for introduction in 2008-09. This broader framework will be the means by which we assess not just the success of the police service, but also the way in which police and other local delivery agencies work together in partnership to make communities safer.