Reform Is Working (NOT)
Now I know what Theresa May is referring to when she or one of her cohorts trots out the Reform is working, Crime is Down mantra.
Silly old me thought that she meant that the government reforms were working, and we all know that they are not.
No, it seems she was referring to Reform, that well known Think Tank.
Reform have come out with an absolute corker
— Policing Insight (@PolicingInsight) September 25, 2015
Charlotte Pickles from the Reform Think Tank is of the opinion that Policing is no longer ‘fit for purpose’.
With the benefit of my One Man Think Tank Head on I’ll hazard a guess that might be BECAUSE of government reforms.
So, what little gems does Ms Pickles come up with to pronounce that Policing is no longer fit for purpose?
Currently, in forces around the country, officers are spending hours every shift returning to stations to fill out multiple forms – often duplicating the information they are entering. In some forces, paper forms are being completed, scanned and sent to police staff to input into online data systems. Information that could be accessed online via a mobile device at the site of an incident instead has to be obtained via radio calls to a back office team. The potential productivity gains from modernising these archaic processes are considerable.
Has she never heard of mobile data terminals? Even in DeadBadgerShire the cops have data terminals in their cars so that they only have to find a convenient layby to submit their crime reports etc, thus eliminating the need to return to base. As a very unscientific straw poll maybe you could indicate in the “Comments” section whether your Force has, or is in the process of getting, mobile data terminals in cars or hand held?
Likewise the gains from ensuring the interoperability not just of cross-force systems, but of cross-criminal justice systems. The inefficiencies in the transfer of information between police and the Crown Prosecution Service is of particular frustration for forces.
Add to this the potential of face and voice recognition technology, predicative analytics and electronic monitoring tags and technology becomes not just a time saver, but a crime-fighting tool.
There’s a lot of psycho-babble buzzword bingo words in there, some of her suggestions are not the responsibility of the Police (e.g. Tag Monitoring), so the Police should not be branded not fit for purpose on that score, whatever her point is, Intelligence Units are being CLOSED in some Forces because of the cutbacks so Predictive Analytics are hardly likely to come into play there, again, blame the government. Face and Voice recognition technology? Limited use surely, hardly part of Front Line policing.
The police service remains largely built around traditional, but declining, crime types. Complex and serious crime accounts for an increasing proportion of police demand. This coupled with a shifting ‘frontline’ – one that is increasing off the streets and behind closed doors – means that forces need to reshape their workforce. The ‘sacred cow’ of neighbourhood policing must be challenged, as must the focus on officer numbers. A new operating model is needed.
So, off you go chaps and chappesses, go challenge your sacred cow of Neighbourhood Policing, I’m sure that Joe Public will love you for it. It has taken generations for the Police Service to stop dictating to the public what sort of service it will get and consult on what they actually want, and Ms Pickles comes along and tell us to challenge it. Any members of the public NOT want Neighbourhood Policing, speak now before reform get their way.
There is no doubt that the coming years are going to be extremely challenging for the police service. There is also little doubt that the current model of policing is unsustainable. It is also true to say, however, that cuts or not, the current model is no longer fit for purpose. To meet changing demand the police service must reform, and in doing so there is significant scope for further efficiency gains.
There you have it, significant scope for further efficiency gains, it must be true, a Think Tank tells us it is true. Time to tell your Senior Management that you are being inefficient and need a new Policing Model, that will hardly make you unpopular at all.
So who exactly is Charlotte Pickles and what are her qualifications for telling us that our Police Service is not fit for purpose?
The Reform website tells us this about her;
Charlotte joined Reform as Senior Research Director in August 2014. She has a particular focus on welfare reform, criminal justice and cross-cutting issues.
Prior to Reform Charlotte worked in a variety of roles covering working-age welfare and pension reform, criminal justice, poverty and social exclusion, and service delivery. She spent two years as Expert Adviser to Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, helping to design and deliver the Government’s welfare agenda. Before that she was Policy Director at the Centre for Social Justice where she authored several publications, including a major report on street gangs.
Charlotte also spent time advising a major police force on their approach to young people and youth crime. Most recently she worked as a management consultant in the public sector practice of a global consultancy firm.
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