Policy paper

2010 to 2015 government policy: policing

Updated 8 May 2015

This is a copy of a document that stated a policy of the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government. The previous URL of this page was https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/helping-the-police-fight-crime-more-effectively. Current policies can be found at the GOV.UK policies list.


The police can’t fight crime alone. They need the support of the public. They also need the right structures, powers and skills. We are helping to put these in place.


The Home Office is helping to change the way the police work by:


Launched in 2010, our consultation Policing in the 21st century sought opinions on the future of policing set out our proposals to reform policing to help the police fight crime more effectively and making the police more accountable to the communities they serve.

The resulting strategy set out a new programme of reform to re-establish the link between the police and the public, deal with organised crime and protect our borders.

The main elements of the strategy included:

  • the election of police and crime commissioners to hold police forces to account and strengthen the bond between the police and the public
  • creating of a National Crime Agency to lead the fight against organised crime and strengthen our border security
  • phasing out the National Policing Improvement Agency

Also under consideration is how the police are funded.

Bills and legislation

Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 is an important part of our programme to reduce central bureaucracy for the police, increase democratic accountability and give the power back to local communities.

The act makes the police service more accountable to local people by replacing police authorities with directly elected police and crime commissioners.

Protection of Freedoms Act 2012

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 includes new provisions about police retention of fingerprints and DNA data.

Appendix 1: College of Policing

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The College of Policing, established in December 2012, will enable the police to implement the standards it sets of for training, development, skills and qualifications. The college will develop the police’s professionalism and provide support to help them meet the challenges they face.

The College of Policing will have 5 main areas of responsibility:

  • setting standards and developing policy and guidance for policing
  • developing the evidence base to inform policing methods and how the police and their partners deal with crime reduction
  • supporting the professional development of police officers and staff
  • supporting the police, other law enforcement agencies and those involved in crime reduction to work together
  • acting in the public interest

Appendix 2: police and crime commissioners

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

In November 2012, 41 police and crime commissioners (PCCs) were elected across England and Wales to give the public a say about cutting crime. In London the Mayor of London has the powers of a PCC.

Police and crime commissioners will cut crime and provide an effective and efficient police service in their area. They will do this by:

  • holding the chief constable to account for policing in your area - including appointing and, where necessary, dismissing them
  • setting and updating a police and crime plan
  • setting the force budget
  • regularly engaging with the public
  • working with partners to find better ways to prevent crime

The policing protocol sets out how the new policing governance arrangements work, including clarifying the role and responsibilities of PCCs.

PCCs will be responsible for the full range of policing work, including national responsibilities and local priorities. The Home Secretary has issued a strategic policing requirement to help the police protect the public from threats like terrorism, civil emergencies, public disorder and organised crime.

PCCs accountability

Every PCC will answer to the public for the performance of the police service in their area. PCCs are required to publish certain information so they can be held to account. Police and crime panels, made up largely of local councillors, will scrutinise the actions of PCCs and make sure this information is publicly available.

Appendix 3: Police ICT Company

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The police ICT (information and communications technology) company was incorporated in 2012. It will help police forces improve operational effectiveness and get better value for money and innovative ICT.

When fully operational, the company will be owned by police and crime commissioners, with police forces and other law enforcement agencies as its customers. For now, the Home Office and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, as joint owners, are supporting the development of the company.

Until the new company is operational, the police ICT company directorate within the Home Office continues to:

  • provide essential frontline services, including the Police National Database

  • take on the procurement, implementation and management of complex ICT contracts

  • provide market-leading strategic ICT advice

Appendix 4: reforming police work conditions and pensions

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

In 2010 the Home Secretary appointed Tom Winsor to lead the independent review of pay and conditions of service for police officers and staff. He was asked to consider:

  • fair and reasonable remuneration
  • modern management practices
  • deployment of officers and staff to frontline roles

You can read further information on the Winsor reports, the reforms and recommendations.

First Winsor report

The first of the 2 Winsor reports was published in 2011. It covered short-term reforms aimed at making the police service more efficient, effective and economical. These include modernising police pay and conditions so that they are fair to officers and to taxpayers. The majority of these recommendations have now been implemented.

Second Winsor report

Tom Winsor’s second report considered longer-term improvements to police remuneration and terms and conditions. These include:

  • proposals to reform officers’ pay structures
  • changing the ways to join and leave the service
  • a new system for determining pay and conditions

He was also asked to consider the findings of the Independent Public Service Pensions Commission, led by Lord Hutton, concerning the normal pension age for police officers. Winsor’s final report recommended a pension age of 60, in line with the Hutton findings.

More details of police pension reform, the changes, accrual and revalutaion rates, schemes and contributions are available.

The Secretary of State sent the recommendations from Winsor’s second report about changes to the structures for pay, conditions, careers and leadership to the Police Advisory Board for England and Wales (PABEW) and the Police Negotiating Board (PNB), among others, for consideration.

The PNB was unable to come to an agreement on certain Winsor proposals, so the matter was referred to the Police Arbitration Tribunal (PAT) on 24 July 2012. You can read about the tribunal’s recommendations in the December 2012 report.

A failure to agree was registered in relation to the pay-related elements of the recommendations on restricted duties and these were referred to PAT for a second time. PAT’s final decision was sent to the Home Secretary on 20 December 2013.

Appendix 5: implementing 101, the police non-emergency number

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The telephone number 101 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

When a member of the public calls 101, they are connected to their local police force.

This new number:

  • helps communities to keep their neighbourhoods safe by giving them an easy way to contact their local police and to report non-emergency crime and disorder
  • reduces pressure on the 999 system and helps in allocating resources where they are needed most

In 2012, the Home Office worked with all police forces to implement the 101 number and provided information about when to use it.

Appendix 6: National DNA Database

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The National DNA Database provides police with the most effective tool for the prevention and detection of crime since the development of fingerprint analysis over 100 years ago.

Since 1998, more than 300,000 crimes have been detected with the help of the database.

The Home Office is responsible for operating and maintaining the National DNA Database, while the National DNA Database Strategy Board oversee it.

The Home Office is also responsible for accrediting all the scientific laboratories that analyse DNA samples.

Find out more about the DNA Database, including the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012: DNA and fingerprint provisions.

Independent oversight

The Biometrics Commissioner provides independent oversight of the retention and use of DNA and fingerprints. The Biometrics Commissioner, Alastair MacGregor QC, can be contacted at: enquiries@biometricscommissioner.gsi.gov.uk.