As crime and society change, so must the police. That was why we established the College of Policing to raise standards and the quality of training, and why we funded innovative schemes such as Direct Entry and Police Now, which are bringing in fresh skills and talent.
Will my right hon. Friend outline the specific measures that are being taken to recruit cyber and technical experts to crack down on the vile crimes taking place on the dark web?
I thank my hon. Friend for raising that fundamental point, because more and more of our constituents are vulnerable to crime online—crime enabled by the internet—and it is absolutely vital that our police forces have the right skills to tackle crime. That is why, as part of our £1.9 billion cyber programme, we are investing in awareness programmes such as CyberFirst and creating the cyber digital career pathways project to ensure that officers have the skills that they need to face modern crime.
Following the publication of the Government’s race disparity audit, what steps is my right hon. Friend taking to build on the work that has already been done to make sure that our police reflect the society that we all live in?
The Home Secretary and I attach great importance to this because we have policing by consent, and it is incredibly important that our police forces represent better the communities that they serve. They are more representative than ever, but are nowhere near where they need to be, and that is why the college, the police chiefs and the superintendents are working together to develop a national diversity strategy, which is being presented to chiefs this week. We attach huge importance to the strategy’s implementation so that our police forces can become increasingly representative of the communities they serve.
Will we be members of Europol next April, or will we have to recruit to fill the skills that will be lost without our membership?
We have said clearly that we want to preserve the capabilities that we have worked hard over many years to develop with our European partners. That is why we have proposed a comprehensive new security treaty, in the mutual interests of our European partners, who recognise—this relates to the right hon. Gentleman’s point about Europol, and I think we are its second biggest contributor—that our continued active presence in that agency, along with the other tools that we have developed over many years, are absolutely critical to our security going forward.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, recently said that the police need to be better trained to tackle and prosecute upskirting, but police and crime commissioners have argued that a change in the law is needed. Does the right hon. Gentleman agree with the Justice Minister or with police and crime commissioners?
I think that the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Louth and Horncastle (Victoria Atkins) colleague, who is responsible for crime and safeguarding, has agreed to meet the hon. Lady to discuss this important point further.