Primary Objects

Last updated on September 19th, 2023 at 05:47 pm

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According to Sir Richard Mayne The primary object of an efficient police is the prevention of crime: the next that of detection and punishment of offenders if crime is committed. … The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions

According to the House of Lords (Lord Hope of Craighead) It is the first responsibility of government in a democratic society to protect and safeguard the lives of its citizens. That is where the public interest lies. It is essential to the preservation of democracy

In 2010 the British government broke away from both of the above Primary Objects by drastically and recklessly slashing the number of Police Officers available within England and Wales to actually protect the public. Since 2010 we have lost approx 21,000 warranted Police Officers, approximately 7,000 Police Community Support Officers, about 12,000 Police Staff (I have seen a much higher figure quoted elsewhere), approximately 4,500 Special Constables and up to 650 Police Stations (plus ancilliary buildings) have been sold off

primary objects
The Shrinking Size of Police Family
Shrinking Police Service
Primary Objects
Shrinking Police Service
Crime in England and Wales
primary objecta
Crime in England and Wales
Crime Under The Tories
Police Strength versus crime England and Wales
primary objects
Police Strength Versus Crime England and Wales
Knife crime vs Reduced Manpower

What happens to Knife-Related Murders with a (2014) government diktat to reduce the number of Stop/Searches conducted?

Knife Related Crimes England and Wales
primary objects
Knife Related Crimes England and Wales

I have plenty more delightful charts that I won’t bother you with, but I think that the point has been made. The UK government has demonstrably abandoned its primary responsibility to protect its citizens. Why? For my money it stems back to Theresa May’s time as Home Secretary when the Police Federation showed their disaproval of her and her approach to Policing. She took it personally and seemed to set about an agenda based more on Revenge than Reform, but hey, that’s just my opinion.

The first responsibility of government in a democratic society to protect and safeguard the lives of its citizens

Has Theresa May and Government UK achieved that single ideal?


Instead Theresa May and her government have engineered a situation whereby the Police Service is unable to achieve Sir Richard Mayne’s Primary Object, and seemingly made sure that the Police Service got blamed for it. Fortunately (I hope) there are sufficient right-minded folk who can see through her Smoke and Mirrors

Her time is up now fortunately but vanity and arrogance seem to be the trademarks of her various positions within government. In my opinion she has failed at everything she has sought to achieve. EVERYTHING. Time will tell me if I am right.

Whoever her successor turns out to be, regardless of their support-seeking rhetoric, will have a huge problem on their hands in trying to undo the untold damage that has been wrought at the hands of a Home Secretary and latterly Prime Minister that does not seem to have succeeded at anything.

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8 thoughts on “Primary Objects”

  1. These are shocking figures. I joined the Met in 1959. At Peel House were were instilled with the primary object of policing ~ the prevention of crime ~ and to this end, every beat, patrol and protection post, when I was posted to AD, was manned 24 hrs a day.
    Three years ago, I and a former Canon Row colleague, walked from Liverpool St Stn to Waterloo to attend a reunion lunch. Through the City, down Ludgate Hill ~ Fleet St, The Strand, Whitehall and across Westminster Bridge. On our journey we saw only single police officer ~ City or Met. The only representative was a mounted constable returning to her stables in Gt. Scotland Yard.
    Public safety and confidence in the police can only be achieved by the presence of visible, approachable officers who can be made aware of unusual/suspect activity on their beats. But by their very presence they contribute enormously to the prevention of crime. (The strength of the Met in 1959 was 26,000 officers.)

  2. Glenn Tomlinson

    Thanks for the update Alan. As always a well researched and astute piece that only an ‘insider’ or former-Met Officer can truly articulate; there’s just no substitute for the experience gained throughout a career in the Job – something politicians should keen in mind before they make their, often, ill-informed forays into policing or so called ‘reforms’ to policing which they inevitably lead to a further decline in the service that the Job is able to give to the public. No criticism from me about the sterling work undertaken by the author, Alan, here; as he tirelessly works to correct the lies and misinformation spread by those who have a responsibility to govern our society, about our depleted and demoralised Police; once the envy of the world.

  3. Glenn Tomlinson

    One figure that is missing and which is hugely relevant, are the numbers of civilian, so called ‘back office support’, who played a vital role in supporting police work. Their numbers of also been slashed but the work they did hasn’t gone away; if anything it has hugely increased over the past 10 years. This has led to police officers having to be redeployed to do vital support roles, which has previously released them to return to operational police work – such as being visibly out on the streets patrolling. Case Progression Units, for example, were a teams of civilians and some police officers that facilitated the completion of enquires thereby releasing the arresting officers to quickly resume patrolling; they were cut and so that work fell back to the arresting officers, leading to lengthy delays as they completed the copious enquiries and paperwork that even the simplest of cases demands these days. Or it has led to them being giving additional work loads that reduces the time they are able to be operational – ie out on patrol – as they sit in front of a computer completing the endless stream of paperwork and bureaucracy that is a further blocker to the police being able to be out on the streets, doing the job they and the public expect them to do.

    1. RetiredAndAngry

      Sorry Glenn, I had that figure but obviously forgot it again. It’s in the order of 24,000. I will rectify that omission forthwith.

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