I am today (29 June 2010) setting out some further details of the government’s approach to police reform. Policing governance has become distorted and over-centralised in recent years and the government is committed to ensuring that accountability and transparency are firmly at the heart of policing.
The first step for reform must be the return of proper operational responsibility to chief constables and their teams and that for this to work effectively there needs to be a redesign of the current performance landscape. The police service needs more freedom from central control - fewer centrally driven targets and less intervention and interference from government. That is why I am announcing that we are abolishing the centrally imposed target on police forces to improve public confidence and we will scrap the Policing Pledge. Police forces need to be
accountable instead to their communities.
To achieve greater accountability, the public need better information about their police and about local crime. This is why we will make sure that crime data is published at a level that allows the public to see what is happening on their streets, enabling the public to hold the police and other local agencies to account for how they are dealing with problems in their area. We will also require police forces to hold regular ‘beat meetings’ to provide residents with the opportunity to put forward their concerns and hold the police to account.
In the future, the establishment of a directly elected individual at force level, setting the force budget, agreeing the local strategic plan, playing a role in wider questions of community safety and appointing - and if necessary removing - the local chief constable, will strengthen local accountability for policing. We will publish further details on our reform of policing later in the summer, which will assist our discussions with the public and our partners, and inform the government’s preparations for the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill in the autumn.
29 June 2010