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Home Secretary challenges police to be answerable to the public with the new single confidence target

Home Secretary challenges police to be answerable to the public with the new single confidence target

HOME OFFICE News Release (037-09) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 5 March 2009

Publishing the single national target for the police, Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith today challenged the police service to answer to the public - and not Government. From today the only national police target set from Whitehall is to increase public confidence by 15 percentage points so that the crime and anti-social behaviour issues that matter to them locally are being addressed.

Home Office figures published today show that confidence levels currently vary across the country, with the latest national average at 46 per cent. The new national target announced today is 60 per cent.

The single national target is just one part of the Policing Green Paper, published last summer, which signalled a fundamental shift in police accountability and reporting. It is now local people, rather than central government, telling the police what service they need and holding them to account via the policing pledge.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said:

"I have a single-minded focus on building public confidence in policing and that means the police should be answering to the public, not the Government. That is why I have scrapped all but one central target for the police - to raise public confidence.

"I have always been clear that this target needs to be challenging if we are to see real change in public confidence in the police. By 2012 I want to see at least 60 per cent of people confident that the police are addressing what matters locally.

"I am committed to ensuring police forces are working with local crime fighting partners to deal with the crime and anti-social behaviour issues that matter most to communities so that the public can get on with their lives - and have the confidence to play their part by reporting crime when they see it. The Policing Pledge, now in operation in all 43 police forces, for the first time makes clear what the public can expect from the police nationally and locally - such as minimum standards on response times, crime maps, local crime information and monthly public meetings. We have also made radical cuts in police red-tape to free up police time.

"I know that the police are ready to meet this challenge and that the changes we have made will help them to do so."

Police forces and authorities have also been set a level of confidence that they should reach by March 2011. Both this, and their 2012 target, will be measured by questions asked in the regular British Crime Survey.

To support the police in delivering this new target we have already announced a package of slashes to red tape which will save the equivalent of a whole week each year for every police officer to patrol your street more often and tackle the crimes that matter to your community. By freeing up the police we are returning to common sense policing - trusting officers to use their professional judgment to build the confidence of their communities and to deliver the service that the public want.

Notes to Editors

1. Table of force level targets:


                                 End of March   End of March
                                       2011           2012
      FORCE                Baseline    Target         Target
      Avon & Somerset      40.6%       54.4%          59.4%
      Bedfordshire         45.9%       53.9%          58.6%
      Cambridgeshire       44.1%       52.6%          57.6%
      Cheshire             43.5%       53.5%          58.5%
      Cleveland            54.0%       62.0%          66.0%
      Cumbria              52.8%       60.8%          64.8%
      Derbyshire           45.5%       55.4%          60.4%
      Devon & Cornwall     53.2%       61.2%          65.2%
      Dorset               49.4%       57.4%          61.4%
      Durham               51.3%       59.3%          63.3%
      Dyfed Powys          43.8%       51.8%          56.7%
      Essex                45.8%       54.4%          59.4%
      Gloucestershire      45.8%       53.8%          58.3%
      Greater Manchester   43.3%       53.8%          58.8%
      Gwent                39.3%       52.0%          57.0%
      Hampshire            47.3%       55.3%          59.3%
      Hertfordshire        49.7%       57.7%          61.7%
      Humberside           39.2%       50.7%          55.7%
      Kent                 44.2%       55.1%          60.1%
      Lancashire           51.0%       59.0%          63.0%
      Leicestershire       46.3%       54.3%          58.7%
      Lincolnshire         38.0%       53.1%          58.1%
      Merseyside           50.9%       58.9%          62.9%
      Metropolitan Police  47.4%       55.4%          59.4%
      Norfolk              48.2%       56.2%          60.2%
      North Wales          44.7%       54.3%          59.3%
      North Yorkshire      50.8%       58.8%          62.8%
      Northamptonshire     41.1%       53.1%          58.1%
      Northumbria          48.8%       56.8%          60.8%
      Nottinghamshire      43.6%       52.7%          57.7%
      South Wales          38.7%       54.2%          59.2%
      South Yorkshire      41.4%       54.0%          59.0%
      Staffordshire        46.9%       54.9%          58.9%
      Suffolk              50.9%       58.9%          62.9%
      Surrey               51.9%       59.9%          63.9%
      Sussex               45.0%       53.6%          58.6%
      Thames Valley        46.0%       54.2%          59.2%
      Warwickshire         41.7%       53.3%          58.3%
      West Mercia          42.5%       54.3%          59.3%
      West Midlands        46.2%       55.9%          60.9%
      West Yorkshire       44.1%       53.0%          58.0%
      Wiltshire            41.1%       53.3%          58.3%
      National Target      45.0%       55.0%          60.0% 

2. From today, each police force, working closely with key local partners, will be expected to increase their own confidence rating by at least 12 percentage points from its current level to reach the national 60 per cent target by 2012 - those forces with the lowest level of confidence will be expected to make the greatest improvement.

3. Police forces are being empowered to engage with the communities they serve and tackle the issues that matter most to them. The Government has already made radical reductions in cutting bureaucracy to free up police time so the police can focus on what matters to local people.

4. The new confidence target is part of wider measures introduced to help cut bureaucracy including:

* Scrapping the annual police activity analysis form - a police timesheet - freeing up an estimated 260,000 police hours to focus on cutting crime and driving up public confidence;

* Axing the foot-long stop and account form earlier than promised - saving 690,000 hours per year;

* Reducing by 80 per cent the amount of form-filling police must do when recording 80 per cent of crimes; and

* 10,000 extra hand-held devices are now available with further investment made to deliver 30,000 devices by March 2010. This £80million investment in mobile data devices will save officers up to 30 minutes per shift as they send and receive information while on the beat.

1 Force level baselines have been calculated on the basis of a year's BCS data (from October '07 to September '08) - representing a national figure of 46%. The national PSA baseline is 45% as this was calculated on the basis of six months BCS data (from October '07 - March '08).

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