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


NOTE: This table compares crimes per warranted officer. As we reported in figure 4, the more accurate reflection of police workload is to compare crimes per visible officer. The most recent crime statistics, weighed against visible officer numbers,


reflect that each visible officer is responsible for dealing with 303 crimes. Accountability at national level


Ensuring standards The quid pro quo for trusting professional leaders is that there must be clear information for the public and a regime of robust public inspection.399 Any performance management framework must be carefully constructed to ensure that the police are measured on what the public want them to do, not proxy indicators of this. Sir Robert Peel’s ninth principle of policing was that “the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it”. However, this is not reflected in the current performance management framework of the police.


Professor David Bayley has differentiated between direct performance indicators, such as crime rates or fear of crime, and indirect performance indicators, such as the number of police or detection rates.400 Direct measures focus on what the police have actually achieved, indirect measures are proxy indicators.


For example, the public wants the police to catch criminals, and serious ones in particular. The current performance measure – sanction detection rates – is imperfectly designed because the police can simply increase their rates by issuing cautions and warnings for generally unpoliced crimes such as cannabis possession and speeding. In England and Wales the current framework focuses too much on indirect measures. The core tasks of the police are to: reduce crime and catch criminals; protect the public and their property from serious crime, organised crime and terrorism; respond to emergencies, and tackle low level local criminality. These goals must be at the heart of any police performance management framework.


A new Inspectorate Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary is too close to the Government and police forces.


There needs to be a more independent and rigorous inspectorate that will serve as a champion of the people rather than the police. HMIC has a relatively small budget of £10.9 million, and only 144 staff. This compares to OFSTED’s budget of £220 million. Of HMIC’s staff, almost half – 71 – are employed by the Home Office, while 67 are seconded from the police and other Government departments. Six are Crown appointments made by the Home Secretary. HMIC is in no position to drive through improvements in the policing system because it is part of the system.


A leaked Treasury document criticised HMIC for lacking “the capacity to provide real impetus for reform even when the solutions are widely agreed upon.


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