‘Reform Policing Or Put Public Safety At Risk’
POLICING needs ‘profound and far-reaching reform’ or public safety will be put at risk, the latest HMICFRS report has warned.
HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Thomas Winsor said police leaders, PCCs and the Government need to make bold and long-term decisions to avoid facing ‘unacceptable compromises in quality of service levels of public safety’.
Writing in the 2018 Annual Assessment of Policing in England and Wales report, Sir Thomas added that despite the incredible pressure forces are under most are performing well and he praised officers for their ‘integrity and bravery’.
Reform should investigate scrapping the 43-force system and returning policing to single law enforcement function among other measures the report concluded.
“There are indications that some forces are straining under significant pressure as they try to meet growing complex and high-risk demand with weakened resources,” Sir Thomas wrote.
“I believe that some profound and far-reaching aspects of police reform are called for. For these reforms to take place, leaders in central government, PCCs and chief constables will all need to make bold, long-term decisions.
“If they don’t, the windspeed of police reform will fall to a flutter, leaving the police service increasingly unable to meet the demands it faces. The inevitable legacy of such an approach would be unacceptable compromises in both the quality of service the police can offer the public and the level of public safety and security the police can uphold.”
Other areas which need reforming the report said include considering new mandatory standards to prevent inefficiency and ineffectiveness in the service, legislation to strengthen the role of the Forensic Science Regulator, multi-year financial settlements for the most efficient forces and an investment in new tech such as body worn video, AI and hand-held devices.
“If the reforms I have set out in my assessment are carried out, competently, comprehensively and with resolve, they will secure major improvements in police effectiveness and efficiency,” Sir Thomas continued.
“The widening gap … between the public’s needs and the police’s capacity and capability, will begin to narrow. And the police service will be better able to adapt to face the demands of today and tomorrow, to the great benefit of all of us.”