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Front-line Policing

Volume 508: debated on Monday 22 March 2010

20. What assessment his Department has made of the relationship between the number of police officers in police forces and their effectiveness in carrying out front-line policing. (322960)

The Government’s investment in the police is at record levels. There are record numbers of police officers and police community support officers on the streets. Crime is down by 36 per cent. and confidence in police is increasing. Fifty per cent. of the public agree that antisocial behaviour and crimes that matter to them are being dealt with effectively. I think that that demonstrates the relationship between the issues that the hon. Gentleman mentioned.

There are wide discrepancies in efficiency or effectiveness between one force and another. For example, the detection rate for violent crime in the Met is just 37 per cent., compared with more than half in other urban forces. What is the Home Secretary doing specifically to improve lagging forces so that they meet the standards of the best?

I hope that the hon. Gentleman knows that we have encouraged inspections of police forces and police authorities to ensure that we examine discrepancies and value-for-money issues when they arise. There has been a recent police report card from Denis O’Connor, Her Majesty’s inspector of constabulary, and there has been the same—and will be again—for police authorities. We want to encourage openness about performance so that we can improve it and understand where forces are failing.