A radical new
programme of reform to change the face of policing and
re-establish the link between the police and the public, tackle
organised crime and protect our borders was unveiled by the Home
Policing in the 21st Century: Reconnecting Police and the People
sets out how the police service in England and Wales will become
more accountable to the public and responsive to local people,
more focused at a national level and more effective at tackling
crime, as well as providing better value for money.
Key elements of the new strategy include:
• the first election of Police and Crime Commissioners, to hold
police forces to account and strengthen the bond between the
police and the public, in May 2012;
• a powerful new National Crime Agency to lead the fight against
organised crime and strengthen our border security;
• greater collaboration between police forces to increase public
protection and drive savings;
• phasing out the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA);
• cutting bureaucracy, removing restrictive health and safety
procedures and freeing up officers’ time; and
• a clear role for everyone, including members of the public, in
cutting crime through beat meetings, neighbourhood watch schemes
and voluntary groups.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
"It is vital that police officers are free to tackle
the crime and antisocial behaviour that matters most to people,
not tied-down by bureaucracy and form-filling. The fundamental
reforms we are announcing today continue our work to deliver a
police service that is visible and accountable to the very people
it serves in communities up and down the country.
"By replacing invisible police authorities with directly
elected Police and Crime Commissioners, we can forge a direct link
between the police and the public, ensuring that the public have a
voice in setting police priorities and have the power to hold the
police to account for keeping our streets safe and secure."
Home Secretary Theresa May said:
"For too long, people have been faced with crime levels
that are too high and a police service that has been too focused
on Whitehall targets to really get to grips with what matters locally.
"Today, I am starting an ambitious programme of reform
for policing in the 21st Century. At the strategic level, this
includes a new National Crime Agency to strengthen the fight
against organised crime and toughen policing at the border. On a
local level, it will put local people at the heart of policing by
giving them the power to elect Police and Crime Commissioners.
"I am also setting out how we will ensure police forces
work more efficiently to strengthen the fight against crime while
providing taxpayers with better value for money in these tough
The publication of Policing in the 21st Century marks the start
of a public consultation on key features of the Government’s
reform programme, including directly elected Police and Crime
Commissioners who will hold forces to account, and in turn be
directly accountable to the public. This will focus the police on
local people’s priorities rather than responding to what national
politicians and civil servants think these priorities are.
This radical new approach will ensure that everyone has a say in
how their area is policed, via their local commissioner, and that
everyone plays their part in cutting crime within the Big Society.
This includes more opportunities to get involved in keeping
neighbourhoods safe through attending beat meetings and being
members of Neighbourhood Watch. It will also provide more
opportunities for citizens to volunteer with the police service,
and within the wider criminal justice system.
The strategy also sets out how the Government will tackle the
bureaucratic burden on police officers by returning more
responsibility to the police to charge in minor offences,
scrapping unnecessary paperwork like the ‘stop’ form, and
abolishing central targets.
The Government will also work with the police service and the
Health and Safety Executive to strengthen guidance on applying a
common sense approach to health and safety. This will include
scrutinising procedures that act as a barrier to intervening and
recognising those officers who put themselves in harms way.
A new National Crime Agency will lead the fight against organised
crime, protect our borders and provide services best delivered at
a national level. It is envisaged that the new Agency will be made
up of a number of operational ‘commands’, under the leadership of
a chief constable. This powerful new body will harness and exploit
the intelligence, analytical and enforcement capabilities of the
existing Serious Organised Crime Agency and the Child Exploitation
and Online Protection Centre and better connect these capabilities
to those within the police service, HM Revenue and Customs, the UK
Border Agency and a range of other criminal justice partners.
The policing landscape will be further simplified through the
phasing out of the NPIA and clearer roles for the Association of
Chief Police Officers and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.
Police and Crime Commissioners will be required to ensure that
police forces work more efficiently by collaborating with each
other across a much wider range of policing functions than at
present, to strengthen public protection, but also ensure better
value for money.
Many of the proposals will feature in the Police Reform and
Social Responsibility Bill, to be published in the autumn.
Ahead of the launch of this Bill, the Government is seeking the
views of both the public and professionals across the criminal
justice system on specific aspects of the reform programme.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The full document and consultation can be viewed online at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/policingconsultation
2. The public consultation will run until 20 September 2010.
Responses will be published in due course.
3. IPSOS MORI research conducted in 2008 revealed that only 19
per cent of those polled disagree that “a politician should be
elected by local people to the Police Authority to represent
concerns about crime and policing in their area”.
4. Cabinet Office research conducted in 2007 showed that only
seven per cent of the public would go to their police authority if
they are unhappy with their policing, while 68 per cent of people
agree or strongly agree that there should be a person elected by
local people to hold the police to account on behalf of the community.
5. Home Office research in 2009 found that only eight per cent of
wards in England and Wales have a councillor on their police
6. For more information contact Home Office
press office on 020 7035 3535.
Home Office Press Office
Phone: 020 7035 3535