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Where Are All The Police? – An Analysis of Police Resources


As police spending is under extreme scrutiny under the new government, the Federation is supportive of any changes that improve service and are cost effective. However, they question why police staff numbers are increasing so dramatically when spending is under the microscope and if such roles have been properly evaluated. Surrey Police calculated that the performance of their Targeted Patrol Team could be improved by cutting officer numbers by 11 PCs and recruiting support officers at no extra costing. In order to properly evaluate this as being the ‘best option’ the Federation believe it is essential to not only examine performance but also factor in actual staffing costs of officers and staff over a period of time such as training, overtime and turnover.


The research states: “We are aware of no example where a force has offered definitive proof, substantiated by detailed and accurate analysis being data over a sufficient period of time.” Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the Federation, said: “We need to evaluate all these roles people are being employed to do in the police service in view of the economy and public finances, it is crucial they are involved in helping the police not in roles that are superfluous.”


Another knock-on effect of modernisation is that forces are actually reducing police officer posts to fund‘ cheaper’ police staff posts in order to become more efficient but there is little evidence to say whether this has actually been effective in improving service to the public. The report cites the Overall there are potential dangers to the very nature of policing by consent, by allocating certain tasks to non warranted staff forces risk a less flexible workforce and working in silos. The research states: “PFEW is particularly concerned about this because we fear that if officers ultimately only perform roles that require warranted powers this will largely consist of tasks that entail conflict with members of the public.”


EXTRACTS FROM RELATED REPORTS


“Policing for the people” – Nick Herbert. An interim report from the Police Reform Taskforce. Links to the full document are contained in Appendix C


Chapter 2 - Where are the police? As police stations have closed and foot patrol has given way to modern policing methods, the police have become increasingly alienated from the public. The way to rebuild public confidence and tackle crime is to have police officers on the streets. But the re-introduction of community policing has been inadequate. Record numbers of officers have not been reflected in officers on the beat, and key Government programmes such as promised Police Community Support Officers and the national non- emergency number have been scaled back.


Chapter 3 - Today’s challenges


The core roles of the police are to prevent crime and bring criminals to justice. They are not social workers – other agencies must play a more effective part in the fight against crime. The police currently face five key challenges: terrorism, serious and organized crime, establishing community policing, strengthening local accountability, and delivering improved value for money. The police face several obstacles to meeting these challenges, including excessive bureaucracy and central intervention, an inflexible workforce, and inefficient procedures.


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