Superintendents: Policing in England and Wales needs a long-term plan

Policing in England and Wales needs a long-term plan to ensure the public are protected both now and in the future, says the PSAEW President.

Responding to the HMIC report, peel-police-efficiency-2015 Chief Superintendent Irene Curtis said that the police cannot be truly efficient without some agreement about what the purpose of the police is, and a vision for policing that looks many years ahead and enables forces to properly plan how they will deal with the demands on them.

Irene said:

“The number of forces rated good or outstanding following this inspection shows the service has made great strides towards becoming more efficient and delivering maximum value for money.

“However, as a publicly funded service, policing has a responsibility to be as efficient as it can be and it is clear that one factor hindering this is the absence of a comprehensive understanding of the demand faced by policing now and, more importantly, what it will look like in the future.

“In all of the debates about demand in policing, I believe that there is too much emphasis placed on categorising issues as either being ‘crime’ or ‘non-crime’. The reality is that as a service we need to agree two things: what the purpose of policing is, and what we mean by demand.  Having a clear understanding of this will then allow us to monitor how demand changes over time and plan effectively for dealing with it.

“The core of this work should be undertaken nationally, rather than the inefficiency of each of 43 forces doing it separately. Whilst collaborations and alliances may be seen by some as an answer to today’s efficiency challenges they are not a long-term solution.

“Policing desperately needs a vision and plan that has public support and looks five, ten or even twenty years ahead, and which lays the foundations for a new way of delivering services that will keep people safe both now and in the future.  At the same time, this means thinking differently about how all public services can be delivered in a better and more integrated way, to keep people safe and reduce demand across all services.

“Only then can we have a proper consideration of what skills and capabilities policing needs and how it should be structured and resourced. This will allow the service to start developing an intelligent plan for the future, where policing budgets are spent efficiently on keeping the public protected from all types of harm wherever demand is coming from.”