Parliamentary Committees and Public Enquiries
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MPs publish report on new landscape of policing
In a new report, the Commons Home Affairs Committee examines the Government's proposals for policing reform and calls for it to revise its timetables for introducing the changes.
Key points made by the committee include:
It is unacceptable that, more than a year after the Government announced it was phasing out the National Policing Improvement Agency, it still has not announced any definite decisions about the future of the vast majority of the functions currently performed by the Agency. Spring 2012, when the Agency is due to be phased out, is little more than six months away. The committee is not persuaded that the Government can meet this timetable and recommends that it delay the phasing out of the Agency until the end of 2012.
After the Olympics, the Home Office should consider making counter-terrorism a separate command of the New National Crime Agency. Counter-terrorism is currently the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police.
The Government must urgently appoint a head of the new National Crime Agency.
A Professional Body for policing, as proposed by Peter Neyroud, could ultimately become a useful part of the policing landscape, but the Government will need to win the hearts and minds of police officers and staff to convey coherently the nature and role of the new body. The proposed new Professional Body must be inclusive from the outset and not just involve officers of ACPO ranks. Individual police officers and staff need to believe that this is their body.
Collaboration between police forces offers clear financial and operational benefits. The Home Office should be more active in encouraging and supporting forces to collaborate with one another.
IT across the police service as a whole is not fit for purpose, to the detriment of the police’s ability to fulfil their basic mission of preventing crime and disorder. The Home Office must make revolutionising police IT a top priority.
The committee states that Tom Winsor's review of pay and conditions is having an inevitable impact on morale in the police service, but believes it is possible to do more to mitigate this.
The committee commends the work of Jan Berry, the former Reducing Bureaucracy in Policing Advocate, in emphasising that reducing bureaucracy in the police service is not simply about reducing paperwork but addressing the causes of that paperwork and bringing about a change in culture in the police service. The committee urges the Home Secretary to meet Jan Berry to discuss how to take her work forward.
Comments from the Chair
Chair of the committee, Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP said;
"The Government’s changes are the most far-reaching that have been proposed since the 1960s and among the most significant that have been proposed since Sir Robert Peel laid the foundations for modern policing nearly 200 years ago.
We are deeply concerned that more than a year after the publication of the consultation paper, many of the details of the Government’s proposals are still unclear. This is extremely unhelpful, both for the police service itself and for the other bodies involved in the criminal justice landscape.
We are also concerned that the Government may not be able to meet its own timetable for introducing the changes, and urge it to issue a revised timetable as soon as possible.
The police perform a difficult and dangerous task on behalf of the public and the continuing uncertainty about the future of many of the bodies involved in policing has the potential to be very damaging."