Police targeting trivial crimes

#21
Archimedes said:
It'd appear that four police forces have had enough of the Home Office and its targets:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article4036339.ece


I presume that this piece of management speak at the end of the article

A spokesman for the Home Office said that it was pleased at the four forces’ initiative but argued that they would have to continue to adhere to current practice in recording crimes. “The aim is to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy, with the agreed principle that all allegations of crime will be recorded to ensure compliance with the National Crime Recording Standards to ensure transparency, integrity and public confidence in the process,” he said.
Translates as 'A spokesman for the Home Office said '"Help! If the police do that nationwide and ignore all the meaningless paperwork we send out, thus cutting the bureaucracy by a vast amount I might lose my job. Eek!"'
Glad as we must be to see four sets of two fingers in the direction of the Home Office, cynics might wonder if it is, for example in the case of Surrey Plod, entirely divorced from the fact that, despite being at the top of the pack in terms of idiotic performance targets, Surrey Police have for years been vastly short changed by the Government because Surrey is seen as a green and leafy. Oh yes and full of rich Tory voters.

Right now Surrey is in the middle of a huge punch up over their ever decreasing funding with the Policing Minister, Tony McNulty. So no incentive to toe the idiotic Gobmint line for fear of having funding chopped because they are there already.

Chief Constable Mark Rowley said:

"The escalating problem of criminals targeting Surrey has been raised with the Government many times, and it continues to cause myself and my police authority colleagues’ grave concern. Around half of the criminal threat facing Surrey is from London and other neighbouring high crime areas, and we are now hitting the critical tipping point where the majority of our criminal threat comes from outside the county.

The previous Chief Constable Bob Quick, now in charge of Counter-Terrorism at the Metropolitan Police Service, wrote to the policing minister in January setting out the real risks facing the county if the funding formula was not urgently addressed. In spite of the metropolitan-type threats facing the county, Surrey Police remains funded like a rural force.

In fact, Surrey Police’s central grant allocation has decreased in real terms by approximately 25 per cent over the past ten years. However, our appeal for an interim special grant of £18m per year for the next three years, to take Surrey to the South East average of funding, was refused. The Authority had no option but to go to local people for financial help in addressing the risks we face.

The Authority and I are also asking the Government for pilot "foundation force" status to allow additional management flexibilities from current barriers in order to further increase our long-term efficiency and effectiveness.

Surrey was graded as the "top Force" following the most recent HMIC and Government performance assessments last autumn, gaining five excellent gradings out of the seven areas assessed. Our three year budget is challenging anyway, but any reduction from capping by Government will impact on frontline policing. If the Government goes ahead with capping, the consequences are likely to be potential reductions in neighbourhood policing and delayed and reduced implementation of new teams planned to combat cross-border crime and terrorist threats."


http://www.surreypolice.org.uk/news_...9771&division=
 
#22
Archimedes said:
It'd appear that four police forces have had enough of the Home Office and its targets:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article4036339.ece


I presume that this piece of management speak at the end of the article

A spokesman for the Home Office said that it was pleased at the four forces’ initiative but argued that they would have to continue to adhere to current practice in recording crimes. “The aim is to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy, with the agreed principle that all allegations of crime will be recorded to ensure compliance with the National Crime Recording Standards to ensure transparency, integrity and public confidence in the process,” he said.
Translates as 'A spokesman for the Home Office said '"Help! If the police do that nationwide and ignore all the meaningless paperwork we send out, thus cutting the bureaucracy by a vast amount I might lose my job. Eek!"'
What will happen quietly and out of the public eye is that the Home Office will apply pressure on each of the Chief Constables to conform with their policy targets by invoking the powers of the Home Secretary under the Police Act 1996, as amended by the Police Reform Act 2002. This, effectively destroys the capacity of the Police to act independently since it allows the Secretary of State for the Home Department to remove a Chief Constable from office. It completed the 'politicisation' Senior Police Officers and made their tenure of command subject to the gift of the Secretary of State for the Home Department.

Those with long memories will recall that David 'blind git' Blunket used these powers to order the Humberside Police Authority to remove the Chief Constable David Westwood from office who Blunkett blamed for the administrative errors which led to the Ian Huntley being employed as a school caretaker. It will be recalled that Humberside Police Authority refused to remove their top man and applied for judicial review. The High Court, taking one look at the legislative powers available to the Secretary of State and upheld the Home Office's view that the Police Authority were acting ultra vires the legislation.

In other words, the independence of the Police was destroyed by this legislation which passed through Parliament with little comment. It placed each of the Police authorities 'under command' of the Secretary of State' which, as was demonstrated with Mr Westwood' could be used capriciously to remove those who failed to 'tow the line'.

I fully anticipate that this rebellion will be quietly and effectively crushed by the Home Office and that this is the last the public will hear of a return to common-sense policing.
 
#23
Iolis,

there have been a few threads where you have quoted legislation which has compromised or will compromise the independance of the police and judiciary. Is there a web-site or some source for these laws and an idoits guide so I can understand the implications? I am in the mood to write to my MP and 'give him both barrels' so-to-speak.

Perhaps we could get an arrse campaign going to publicise these issues.

Ski.
 
#24
There is no idiot's guide other than the two main weapons available to anyone with a little 'nouse' about them. A long memory and 'google'. You will find the statutory provisions available in amended form by accessing the Statute Law database on the Ministry of Justice's website and you can access the case reports on BAILLI. Sources such as Wikipedia may serve as a useful 'base' for further research since not all entries there are accurate.

The Police Reform Act 2002 heavily amended the Police 1996. Section 36(1) of the 1996 Act (as inserted by s1 of the 2002 Act) gave the Home Secretary power set a national policing plan for each financial year. Section 37(1) allows him (now ‘her’) to set policing priorities for each police force area and, under section 38, set performance targets. Section 2 of the 202 Act inserted a new section 39A(1) into the 1996 Act giving the Secretary of State powers to issue codes of practice to each of the Chief Constables. Section 40(1) of the 1996 Act (as inserted by section 4 of the 2002 Act) allows the Secretary of State to issue directions to Police Authorities where, in the opinion of the secretary of State, remedial action is required.

Section 11 of the 1996 Act gives Police Authorities the power of appointment and removal of Chief Constables, while section 42(1) allows the Secretary of State the power to compel Police Authorities to exercise their power to call upon a Chief Constable to retire in the interests of efficiency or effectiveness. Section 42(1) of the 1996 Act (as inserted by section 34 of the 2002 Act) extended these provisions by allowing the secretary of state to set out the procedures to be followed for the removal of Chief Constables and it was the nature and the extent of these powers exercisable by the secretary of state that became the subject of judicial review in the case of the ‘spat’ between the Humberside Police Authority and Blunkett when the latter ordered the former to remove the Chief Constable from Office, leading to judicial review in R (on the application of the Secretary of State for the Home Department) v Humberside Police Authority and David Westwood [2004] EWHC 1642 (Admin).

Thus, the ability of the Home Secretary to set policing priorities (including, as recently announced by Jacqui Smith) harassing young people against whom they are unable to obtain evidence to secure a conviction in court, and to set targets has been set out by Parliament (or, depending on your view, by the executive who dominate Parliament). The Home Secretary has the de-facto power under the same legislation to hire and fire Chief Constables who may take it upon themselves to declare UDI and replace them with more compliant officers who will toe the line.

Laws like this commenced under the stewardship of the arch 'Prince of Darkness' - Michael Howard, when he was Home Secretary and have been greatly expanded under Zanulabour.

It is what happens when a docile public engages it's single brain-cell in 'celebrity big brother' and 'reality TV' and cannot be bothered to take an interest in the world beyond the 'X-box' and the 'off-licence' and when they do eventually stir from their self-imposed isolation from the world they inhabit, they wake up, complain when it is too late, and then go back to sleep again!

The upshot is, that unless the government decide to simply wake up and smell the coffee' and accept the actions of the three Police forces as accurately reflecting the public mood, the Police have no legal basis for their actions and each of the Chief Constables may find himself out of a job!
 
#25
Reading through all that does it mean that this story is more of the same or are they trying to expand their powers even more?

At the next general election one of the best vote winners I could see would be to implement something similar to like what Sussex police are doing in the article Archimedes posted. Announce the slashing of paperwork and petty targets and reintroduce common sense policing. Also promise to roll back a lot of the centralising of power over chief constables, I say a lot since no-one is going to ever give it all away.

Then we'd just have to deal with getting rid of the PCSOs and using the cash to hire full police officers to replace them, even if it does mean fewer of them. But I'll save venting my spleen over them for another time.
 
#26
Brick said:
Reading through all that does it mean that this story is more of the same or are they trying to expand their powers even more?

At the next general election one of the best vote winners I could see would be to implement something similar to like what Sussex police are doing in the article Archimedes posted. Announce the slashing of paperwork and petty targets and reintroduce common sense policing. Also promise to roll back a lot of the centralising of power over chief constables, I say a lot since no-one is going to ever give it all away.

Then we'd just have to deal with getting rid of the PCSOs and using the cash to hire full police officers to replace them, even if it does mean fewer of them. But I'll save venting my spleen over them for another time.
The provisions in the 1996 Act to which I have already referred allow for the provisions forming the subject-matter of the story to be put ino effect in any event. The powers of a Police Authority are already greatly circumscribed. Moreover, section 50 the 1996 Act (as amended) gives the Home Secretary extremely broad powers to reduce them further. Although in theory, statutory instruments made pursuant to enabling sections within Acts are subject to the approval by both Houses, the reality is that they receive even less scrutiny than primary legislation and often go through 'on the nod'. If she wanted to, Jacqui Smith could, under section 50 issue a statutory instrument changing the colour of the uniform from blue to black (with white facings!).

The Police are, as a matter of legal fact, simply a unified paramilitary branch of the Home Office. They exist to project and enforce state authority under the overall command of a 'Gauleiter'. The old days of fully-independent regional police forces invested with discretionary powers, invested with the office of constable are long gone. The majority of our Police are decent hardworking men and women of integrity but decency and integrity on a personal level is subsumed and rendered irrelevant by the rules under which they are compelled to operate. It is the structure around them and within which they are employed which has become corrupted by the gradual accretion of power and authority residing in the hands of a single individual who answers to a Prime Minister with monarchical powers rather than a Parliament which has become largely sidelined and irrelevant!
 
#27
Interesting post.

Nobody is denying that all this political interference with the police is causing a loss of morale, dissent within the ranks and fuelling a great deal of public concern. And from what you say, few can argue that the police are very much under the control of the Home Office in the form of that doyen of Zanulabour, Jacqui Smith.

That said, the right of employers to measure performance against some form of productivity criteria cannot be denied. But it does seem a curious coincidence that those who are the most opposed to the use of performance measurement strategies all seem to be employed in the public sector (e.g. NHS, education, police, etc, etc).

Some system of measurement of performance against expectations seems inevitable, no matter how unpopular it is. It seems to me that the wrong measurement criteria is therefore being applied.

For example, the amount of time a patient spends in hospital is immaterial if a greater percentage of patients are dying in the weeks following discharge than ever before. Similarly, the crime resolution (clear-up) rate is immaterial if, for example, only minor crimes are being resolved and a greater proportion of serious crime are left unresolved.

And these performance criteria are being set by? You guessed it, the Home Office, generally using independant "consultants" at vast cost to the taxpayer and with little consideration to the experinced people on the ground.
 

mercurydancer

LE
Book Reviewer
#28
The salient point about the police is that they work to put themselves out of business. Any officer wants crime and disorder to reduce to zero. Targets for the main run against this principle. If a set of police officers can keep decent order in a town city of village then the more they achieve this objective the LOWER the targets get.. not the other way round!

I know this is simplistic but the prinicple holds. Principles can, however be distorted. In principle I have no objection to PCSOs. They have a valid job to do but they are NOT police officers. To substitute PCSOs for police officers is a retrogade step. The same principle applies to ASBOs. An ASBO is useful to sort out behaviour that isnt actually criminal. I approve of that. Someone playing loud music on his car stereo till 4 am and urinating on my drive deserves some intervention but a criminal case isnt the solution. Unfortunately the ASBO system was used as an alternative to the court sysem and allowed much criminal activity to be dealt with in an inadequat manner. I know of people who have been given ASBOs for violent crimes. Worse, ASBOs didnt work for the majority of the time so there were other initiatives started, such as the Acceptable Behaviour Contracts. This initiative further distances criminal behaviour from criminal justice.
 
#29
pyrogenica, has made many see the light,
Plod must find it hard to do a good job when he has to choose "their" way as opposed to , what he knows as the "right"way.
But, as recent events with 4 police authorities have shown, Plod knows this government is on its way out and can choose to do things the right way, without risking "the wrath of Brooon"
Plod might just be seeing his first sunrise ...
 
#31
Iolis, you're correct, of course, about the pressure that can be applied. However, there would be considerable danger in the Home Office doing this with the four forces having gone public over the matter.

I daresay that the slightest attempt at coercion would be leaked and then plastered over the front of the Times (and other 'papers) with headlines to the effect that Brown and the Home Office are more interested in seeing people fined for what are perceived to be (and usually are) trivial offences and actively blocking the efforts of the four forces to deal with the more serious, recidivist offenders.

The response 'welcoming' the initiative suggests that there may be a whiff of panic in the air - the government can hear the sounds of nails being driven into its political coffin and probably fears that attempting to block what the public will perceive as a return to 'old fashioned, common sense policing' may- to extend the carpentry metaphor beyond its limits - be the point at which the joiner turns round to the undertaker and says 'That's the last nail I can fit in, guv.'
 
#32
Bandalong said:
dingerr said:
But, by your own admittance you were not a law abiding citizen. You failed to renew your application in time. You feel harshly done by, but it was a slap on the wrist (admittedly £80 is more a kick in the balls). How are the authorities meant to differentiate between you and the millions of other motorists that you say are illegal.
No offence mate but that’s a load of crap.

It’s typical of the system that only punishes the law abiding citizen as an easy target whilst letting all the real scrotes loose simply for the benefit of both easy income and positive crime results.

Meanwhile the streets are over run by feral mongs and druggies.

I honestly believe that unless something drastic is done within ten years then we will see some real civil disorder.

The annoying thing is that the majority of the population will support the actions required but it’s just the loud minority that get their way as always.

And as always the politicians are only looking into the trough and maybe until the next election.

Long term policy and some balls required methinks.
No offence taken. I'm playing devil's advocate on this one so expect some incoming.
 
#33
Oh really, so what do the general public expect ? They expect to walk down the street without fear or abuse from the feral, baseball capped, numpty nut F/wits who are causing chaos here.

They also expect to see yobbo's sorted out and put in their places ie. nicked or squared up.

Fancy talk costs nothing, inaction costs lives.
 
#34
Everyone who came out on licence or on parole got a visit. " Just breath or make a slip and you will be fcuked "

Goodnight, see you tomorrow maybe..!
 
#35
Archimedes said:
Iolis, you're correct, of course, about the pressure that can be applied. However, there would be considerable danger in the Home Office doing this with the four forces having gone public over the matter.

I daresay that the slightest attempt at coercion would be leaked and then plastered over the front of the Times (and other 'papers) with headlines to the effect that Brown and the Home Office are more interested in seeing people fined for what are perceived to be (and usually are) trivial offences and actively blocking the efforts of the four forces to deal with the more serious, recidivist offenders.

The response 'welcoming' the initiative suggests that there may be a whiff of panic in the air - the government can hear the sounds of nails being driven into its political coffin and probably fears that attempting to block what the public will perceive as a return to 'old fashioned, common sense policing' may- to extend the carpentry metaphor beyond its limits - be the point at which the joiner turns round to the undertaker and says 'That's the last nail I can fit in, guv.'
It would certainly be nice to believe that central government would acquiesce in such an endeavour but the difficulty for it is that if the Police Authorities in question are allowed to unilaterally cast off the distorting effect of target-driven policing, what is to be the response of the government when NHS trust managers follow their example? The issue becomes more complex when central government funding is allocated on the basis of targets being met.

I would agree with you that the effect of the Police action has been to send a very powerful political signal to the government which I think has it's origins in the current 'spat' between the Police Federation and Jacqui Smith as evidenced by the drubbing she was given recently over the government's refusal to honour it's commitment to them over their staged pay award.

The working relationship between the Home Secretary and the Police is not a good one at the moment and there would appear to be an element of brinkmanship in this area which, I suspect is not wholly to do with an overwhelming desire to return to 'common-sense' policing!
 
#37
Oh I think people may form their own view as to whether CIVITAS is a 'Right Wing' think tank or not. They have published a great many research papers that have not found favour with the government since the subject-matter of such research tends to involve issues that politicians shy away from, such as this one. The insidious rise and corrosive effect of political correctness was another such paper that was taken apart and rubbished on the BBC 'Today' programme.

An executive summary of the report: The Public and the Police to which the newspaper refers is available.

It is distinctly odd though that the police authorities should announce their abandonment of targets at more or less the same time that the CIVITAS report is published.

Agenda?

Could be!
 
#38
The Executive Summary of the recent Civitas Report says it all really:

Executive Summary

Never has the police service had so much money, so many officers or such access to technology. Yet never has public dissatisfaction with the police been so widespread. Complaints against the police have increased.

Traditional supports, the law-abiding middle classes, complain of rudeness and neglect of duty. It is hard to get the police to respond to reports of crime and anti social behaviour. Investigations are frequently lacklustre and often abandoned.

Unlike the USA, the public here lacks the power to get the policing they want. Neither the public, their democratically elected local councillors nor their MP have any influence over the strategy of their local force, its funding or the appointment or removal of its Chief Constable. Since the Police Act 1964 successive government have accrued power to the centre.

The police, in their turn complain of central control and ill thought out government policies. All interviews were characterised by a high level of bitterness and frustration. Bonuses are paid to senior officers based on how they comply with targets. As in the NHS bad targets are coercing otherwise ethical public servants into unethical behaviour. Serious crime is ignored and minor crime elevated to the serious in order to satisfy the measurement regime. One office said: 'We are bringing more and more people to justice - but they are the wrong people.' Targets and increased central control are turning what should be an independent police force into what another officer described as, 'an extension of the government.' At the same time too much paper work sees officers spend only 14% of their time on patrol. Police numbers may be historically high but they are low compared to other countries while the ratio of crimes to officers is now overwhelming.

Targets miss the point of what the public wants. The Home Office judges each police force by how many crimes they detect and clear up. The public wants something different. They do not want the crimes happening in the first place. The absence of crime and disorder is not a target. As one constable wrote, 'I remember when it was a matter of pride to come back after a night shift to find no crimes had happened. Now all we are asked is why no one was locked up.'

The police are one part of the criminal justice system which includes the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts. All three work to different targets in conflict with each other and, too often, with the victim's quest for justice. The CPS is judged, amongst other things, by the number of successful prosecutions. This means it drops cases it is unsure of winning. As the first point of contract, the police get the blame. 'I get fed up', said one Chief Superintendent, 'with apologising to the public for the failures of the criminal justice system.'

Police officers swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen not the Prime Minister. Unlike many other police forces, British police were not intended to be servants of the state but of the communities they serve. Their powers are personal, used at their own discretion and derived from the crown. This essential feature of British policing - policing by consent - is now in jeopardy.
 
#39
well, these issues between the police and the government will only serve to ensure that the police will be on the side of the people come the revolution! :twisted:

On a more serious note. Is there any milage in creating a brief 'root cause analysis' for these problems the police face? If we could create something which would be easy to email to people so they understand the issues, perhaps the wider public could be informed. Iolis mentioned there is no idiots guide, (for people like me) perhaps that is part of the problem. If we can put out the message in a form that everyone can relate to, we can 'spread the good word' and let everyone see the government for the control freaks they are. - and place the blaim where it belongs.

Ski.
 
#40
The problem with the Police 'Service' is not the blokes,but their leadership.Look at people like Bliar of the Mets.The notion that ''he works for us'' is patently ridiculous.
 

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