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Strategic Policing Priorities 2010-11

Volume 501: debated on Wednesday 2 December 2009

In accordance with the provisions of section 37A of the Police Act 1996, as inserted by paragraph 25 schedule 2 of the Police and Justice Act 2006, this statement sets out my strategic policing priorities for the police service for 2010-11. These priorities provide the national framework for policing for the next financial year, within which police authorities will set their local plans.

Last year, the priorities reflected the radical vision for policing at the heart of the Government’s Green Paper, “From the Neighbourhood to the National: policing our communities together”, and other national strategies, aimed at putting the public much more at the centre and empowering them to work with us to tackle local crime and ASB. The effect of these initiatives is now starting to be seen. They include the introduction of the Policing Pledge and crime maps in all forces in England and Wales, providing the public with a set of national minimum policing standards to which they are entitled and access to information about crime in their area and empowering them through involvement in neighbourhood policing meetings. Through the “Justice Seen, Justice Done” campaign we have raised public awareness of the rights they should expect.

Elsewhere we are rolling out a programme of police authority inspections and continuing important work on reducing unnecessary bureaucracy and workforce and performance management reform. The policing White Paper will take the principles of the Policing Pledge further with clear standards that the public can expect from other agencies that help to keep them safe and ensure that justice is done.

The thrust of all this work is to allow police officers and police staff to focus on the public’s priorities and provide an accessible, transparent and consistent service that meets public needs and expectations. All but one of the top down numerical targets for police forces in England and Wales have now been removed. The remaining target is to increase the public’s confidence that the police and their partners are identifying and addressing the crime and ASB issues that matter most locally.

My strategic policing priorities for 2010-11 include particular reference to the single remaining national target on generating public confidence but generally retain the broader vision of the current priorities. This vision focuses on the strategic context in which action is taken at the right level. The priorities acknowledge the policing White Paper and the current set of PSAs and reflect the recently updated crime strategy. Central to this is a renewed focus on tackling the harms caused by antisocial behaviour and requiring victims’ concerns to be taken seriously. The Government will continue to monitor performance to ensure PSA commitments are met and provide strategic leadership. However, local accountability and planning should be undertaken so that forces tackle the issues that are most important to their local diverse communities, including hate crime, and get best value for money for the public from the resources devoted to policing.

Forces should continue to work collaboratively with local partners (including through Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships and Community Safety Partnerships and Local Criminal Justice Boards) to meet shared local objectives. In England this includes those objectives that are agreed through local strategic partnerships within local area agreements.

Serious and organised crime is a constantly evolving problem. I believe there is a continuous line stretching from the local to the regional and on to the national which needs a continuum of effective policing in response. The Home Office/Cabinet Office strategy for tackling serious organised crime which was published in July recognises the importance of close working and effective collaboration and coordination between partners; and that means forces and authorities working outside and across individual force boundaries where necessary.

My expectation is that forces and authorities will continue to work in the interests of regions and the country and build on existing collaboration to achieve improvements. Collaboration takes various forms, from tackling serious and cross border crime to the development of the national counter-terrorism network in bringing together intelligence, investigative and operational activity against the terrorist threat. This relies heavily on confidence in policing. The success of a key component of our counter-terrorism strategy—Prevent — depends, in part, in the confidence local communities have in their police service.

The priority must be how building confidence in the service leads to a more effective police service at all levels. There is little benefit in increasing public confidence through local policing and ignoring protective services. These may be services with less of a public face and more uncertain demand, but they have the potential to impact heavily on public confidence if they fall short. Greater collaboration across the police service is essential to mitigate this risk and to realise the necessary improvements in protective services. The same emphasis should apply for specialist crimes.

The police service shares the public service duty to maximise value for money. Locally, it is the responsibility of police authorities to set ambitious targets for the efficiency and productivity gains to be achieved by their forces and to hold chief officers to account for delivery. Senior policing leaders must help drive the organisational change required to make significant improvements in value for money, both in their forces and authorities and working with others taking into account the policing White Paper and the forthcoming report of the High Level Working Group on police Value for Money. This includes getting better value from spending on goods and services through collaboration and by making use of national or regional contracts. As part of the much more robust inspection regime for the service the new police authority inspections will probe how authorities manage resources and people and all forces will be inspected on value for money. During 2010-11 Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary will test that the police workforce is led, organised and developed to be productive through the Working for the Public Inspection.

In summary, the SPPs for 2010-11 are to:

Continue to increase public confidence so that by March 2012, 60 per cent. of the public agree that the police and local council are dealing with the antisocial behaviour and crime issues that matter in their local communities.

Work jointly through partners and local communities to reduce and prevent crime and antisocial behaviour and the problems caused by drug and alcohol misuse and youth offending, in line with PSAs 14, 23 and 25, and in a co-ordinated approach with other CJS partners deliver an effective criminal justice response in line with PSA24, putting the needs of victims, including young victims, at its heart.

Work jointly with police forces and other agencies, such as SOCA and UKBA, to ensure that the capability and capacity exists across England and Wales to deliver effective protective services, including tackling serious and organised crime.

Work jointly with and through partners and local communities to tackle terrorism and violent extremism in line with the counter terrorism strategy (CONTEST) and PSA 26.

In all of the above, ensure that value for money is central to the strategic vision for improving policing; that best use is made of resources in line with the policing White Paper and the Efficiency and Productivity Strategy for the Police Service, both within forces and through collaboration between forces and with the wider public sector; and that chief officers and senior leaders are visibly associated with this organisational priority.