(2) how her Department plans to assess each police force in order to determine whether it is meeting the police pledge.
The Home Office will not directly assess forces on whether they are meeting the policing pledge. The pledge is a commitment from the police to the public and sets out clear minimum standards and public entitlement to services. All 43 chief constables have committed to deliver the pledge by the end of the year.
If the public do not feel these standards are being met they can raise it locally with the police themselves or through their police authority.
The Policing Green Paper explained the new relationship between the Government, police and public. The Home Office has now adopted a more strategic role allowing for grassroots accountability and an enhanced role for HMIC in providing public assurance about the quality and standard of policing in all forces. HMIC will therefore validate the delivery of the pledge by forces through their inspection process. Police authorities will also wish to be satisfied that the pledge is being delivered for local people.
My strategic policing priorities (SPPs) provide a national strategic context within which police authorities set their local policing plans. The SPPs for 2009-10 emphasise the strategic context for local planning and accountability, as set out in the Policing Green Paper, so that forces tackle the issues that matter most locally in that national context and get best value for money for the public from the resources devoted to policing.
The aim is to move to a system in which the police service is held to account much more at a local level. Police authorities are already required to issue a strategic plan which identifies the force's priorities and objectives over a three year rolling cycle and which must take into account my strategic policing priorities. Local accountability will be enhanced through the introduction of the policing pledge, to be underpinned by a set of local priorities, the publication of local information on crime and police activity and through raising the capacity and influence of police authorities to hold forces to account. A strengthened HMIC will act as guarantor of the public interest in inspecting forces and authorities.
Policing performance is measured through the Assessments of Policing And Community Safety (APACS) framework, which contains key performance indicators for the police working alone or in partnership. However, as set out in the Policing Green Paper: ‘From the Neighbourhood to the National: Policing our Communities Together’, the Home Office will in future no longer produce graded assessments against those indicators, which have been interpreted by some as de facto targets. Instead, HMIC will take the lead in making and publishing assessments of forces' overall performance, drawing on APACS performance indicators and other information.