Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Worrying trends - No. 3 ~ Upholding the Queen's Peace

The Police are the sharp end of law enforcement and it is fortunate that they continue to enjoy the general support of the public in their work as was recently demonstrated in Manchester - BBC 3rd October and BBC 4th October.  Nevertheless, the Police are facing enormous changes and the future seems to be an uncertain one with morale reportedly at very low ebb - Telegraph 3rd November.  Whilst there is almost always some room for efficiency improvement, the recent cuts to budgets seem to be a huge gamble with public safety in the aftermath of the disorder in 2011.  Furthermore, due to austerity, certain forms of crime appear to be on the increase - (e.g. Austerity triggers economic crime wave).  The implementation of Police and Crime Commissioners (and the abolition of Police Authorities) is part of the coalition government's reform agenda but the implementation appears rushed with relatively minimal effort being made to adequately inform the public of the implications of these powerful Commissioners and the associated Police and Crime Panels - see Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.

Upholding the Queen's Peace: towards a new consensus on Policing is the title of a recent publication by the Police Federation which states: 

"The police service is going through a period of rapid change.  The creation of the National Crime Agency, the election of Police and Crime Commissioners and the establishment of a new College of Policing all individually herald fundamental change to the structure and governance of the current model of policing in England and Wales.
Against a backdrop of austerity and reductions to police force budgets, together with the Winsor Review and changes to pay, pensions and other conditions of service, this combination of structural change to the police service could have far-reaching implications.
It is for this reason that the Police Federation of England and Wales has published a collection of essays in which contributors explore different aspects of the question of what the landscape of policing could and should look like in the years to come."

In 2011, the Labour Party set up an Independent Commission on the future of Policing under the Chaiormanship of Lord Stevens.  It is expected to report in 2013.

HMIC - Policing in Austerity: One Year On

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