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Chasing targets - not criminals

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Chasing targets - not criminals

 

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Officers say their morale has been sapped by chasing targets

The government has promised that it will liberate police officers from chasing meaningless targets.

 

A policing green paper, From the Neighbourhood to the National, published a month ago, promised to cut red tape and give the police more time to get on with their jobs catching criminals.

 

In a series of interviews, reporter Andy Hosken spoke to some of the serving police officers who have seen the effect of Home Office targets on their daily workload.

 

They describe how ordinary law abiding citizens are being criminalised, and how the culture of targets and statistics is destroying police morale, meaning criminals are getting away.

 

POLICE OFFICER ONE

 

We feel utterly demoralised. If it's not government imposing things on us - telling us we should do this, we should do that - then it's the force. I've lost count of the number of re-organisations we've had.

 

In my force we took our eye off the ball several years ago. I felt we had our priorities completely wrong. The number crunching and the chasing of sanctioned detections was part of it and I just felt that I don't think that's what we're there for.

 

Do we spend a lot of our time worrying about what people think about how we do things, than we do actually doing them? Yes we do

Police inspector

 

The theft of a milk bottle by a juvenile counts the same as a multi-million pound fraud. Certainly we are trying to look after the easy detections.

 

I am aware that officers in a town just north of where I live have been told to go out on patrol deliberately to try and search for cannabis just so they can do a street warning for cannabis which is a sanctioned detection. They are literally told to go out and search a few people and try and find some cannabis so they can give a street warning and get a detection out of it.

 

POLICE OFFICER TWO

 

We are hitting Mr and Mrs Joe Average on the road and hitting them hard, so we can get a little tick in the box to say that we've issued a fixed penalty, when the people who we should be targeting are the people we know are causing the offences, who are causing the burglaries, criminal damages and theft.

 

The whole idea is to go out and get as much process and as many arrests as you can. That is to the detriment to the public because at the end of the day the vast majority of the public in the UK are law abiding citizens and we really don't need to hit them with a sledgehammer to attain these so called performance figures.

 

POLICE OFFICER THREE

 

We've got to have a means of recording how well we do, but there is a problem with that if you have a particularly good year.

 

I remember dealing with a burglar who admitted in excess of 100 burglaries, which is great - that made our results look good at the end of the year. But the following year, the results dropped down so somebody was caning the senior officers for their poorer performance.

 

When someone's arrested it takes up to two hours to process and put them into custody. The computer demands that level of activity. In my day, you put somebody into custody and you were allowed to get on and interview them and do the necessary things.

 

POLICE INSPECTOR

 

Approximately 40 police officers work for me on my team. We could come into work on one day and spend the entire tour of duty looking for a missing person. We get no recognition for that effort.

 

The following day, as a middle ranking police officer, I'll be held to task over why my team didn't get any sanctioned detections the day before, why we didn't get any arrests, we didn't do any stop searched.

 

Detecting crimes is everything, stop and search is everything. Arrests, everything. The way that we have our customer focus, everything.

 

The number of key performance indicators at any one time ranges between 20 and 30, which is a farce. You're running around like a headless chicken worrying about them all.

 

The job could be done a whole lot better, if we could add something back into the equation which was there when I first joined, which was discretion. We don't have that luxury anymore.

 

There is a huge problem with drugs, a huge problem with knives which we are simply having no impact on, and a huge problem with violent crime which I believe is increasing not decreasing

Police inspector

 

I wonder whether or not the people across our city actually appreciate it when the boss stands up there and says we've increased sanctioned detections by 0.1% in the last six months. I'm not actually sure that they care about that. What they want to know is that they feel safe and that they get a good quality service.

 

Do we spend a lot of our time worrying about what people think about how we do things, than we do actually doing them? Yes we do. Proportionately we spend more of our time doing that than we do going out policing, which is a real crime in itself.

 

We don't have the respect of the majority of the people we have to deal with on a day to day basis. Young people are not afraid to speak to us.

 

It's far easier to be able to tell you about what we're doing pro-actively, to go into all these minor criminal offences, than to actually deal with the reality of what is actually out there. There is a huge problem with drugs, a huge problem with knives which we are simply having no impact on, and a huge problem with violent crime which I believe is increasing not decreasing.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsi...000/7559395.stm

 

 

For short of attention span:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsi...000/7560165.stm

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Police chief criticises targets

_44925478_6b9d8849-fddd-4e0d-94dd-c116c90bd19a.jpg

Chris Sims said public confidence in the police was crucial

 

A senior police officer has criticised some Home Office targets, saying they have had a damaging impact on policing in England and Wales.

 

Chief Constable of Staffordshire Chris Sims said they encouraged a "policing to targets" culture, rather than one focusing on the public's needs.

 

He said he welcomed a government green paper aimed at cutting police red tape.

 

Home Office minister Tony McNulty said targets had improved "productivity", but it was "time to move on".

 

"Chris Sims said at its worst it was policing to targets. At its best, actually, it has turned in a performance over the last four, five years that has been incredible," Mr McNulty said.

 

Fifteen forms

 

Staffordshire is one of four constabularies taking part in the Public First Project - a government pilot scheme aimed at restoring common sense to policing.

 

Mr Sims said: "I think at its worst it allowed the 'policing to targets' culture to take hold, in the same way that we see in other public sectors at the moment - teaching to targets, teaching to tests - so at its worst, at its most extreme it encouraged that sort of policing to targets.

 

"Certainly, when I took over in Staffordshire about a year ago I was very clear that we needed to move away from that to focus very much on giving people the policing that they needed and absolutely, I think that that's the position that the green paper now supports and recognises."

 

At the end of the day it does lose people's goodwill

Sgt Richard Moores

Staffordshire Police

 

Sgt Richard Moores, from Staffordshire Police, told the BBC that currently any matter going to court could potentially involve filling in 15 forms.

 

"The paperwork certainly has changed in the 12 years that I've been in the job," he said.

 

"There seems to be more bureaucracy created and more forms that need to be filled in just as an auditable trail basically.

 

"It shows the defence whether or not there are any issues that might undermine our case."

 

'Chasing arrests'

 

The BBC's Andrew Hosken said some police officers felt Home Office targets had robbed them of their judgment and discretion.

 

A policy known as sanction detection was particularly unpopular. Sgt Moores said it encouraged officers to actively seek out arrests for any offence, no matter how minor, so they could be recorded against the target.

 

FROM THE TODAY PROGRAMME

 

More from Today programme

 

One example of this was in the handling of people caught urinating in public, he said.

 

"It was getting to the point where people were chasing detections, going down back alleyways trying to find people who weren't standing in the middle of the street, but had gone out of the way to try to find somewhere to go to the toilet," Sgt Moores said.

 

"At the end of the day it does lose people's goodwill."

 

Mr Sims said he was in favour of the green paper which makes "public confidence" the biggest priority influencing the relationship between the Home Office and the police.

 

Mc McNulty said the green paper would bring about a "revolution" in policing.

 

"I think I'm accepting what Chris Sims has said that round the edges, at its worst, there were perverse incentives in the target regime," he said.

 

For the first few years the efficiency of the service was lifted, but about 18 months ago my view was we passed a point of diminishing returns

Ken Jones

President of the Association of Chief Police Officers

 

"But what I'm saying is that I think the success overall of the target regime has got us to the stage where we can now confidently move on from that and set parameters for the coming period that are more about freeing up the police to do what their local communities want them to do."

 

Ken Jones, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, told the BBC that targets had outlived their usefulness.

 

"For the first few years the efficiency of the service was lifted, but about 18 months ago my view was we passed a point of diminishing returns.

 

"But we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that we've also brought to book a lot of people who wouldn't have been brought to book if we hadn't gone down that route."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7562477.stm

 

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsi...000/7562585.stm

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Police chief criticises targets

_44925478_6b9d8849-fddd-4e0d-94dd-c116c90bd19a.jpg

Chris Sims said public confidence in the police was crucial

 

A senior police officer has criticised some Home Office targets, saying they have had a damaging impact on policing in England and Wales.

 

Chief Constable of Staffordshire Chris Sims said they encouraged a "policing to targets" culture, rather than one focusing on the public's needs.

 

He said he welcomed a government green paper aimed at cutting police red tape.

 

Home Office minister ... McNulty said targets had improved "productivity", but it was "time to move on".

 

"Chris Sims said at its worst it was policing to targets. At its best, actually, it has turned in a performance over the last four, five years that has been incredible," Mr McNulty said.

 

Fifteen forms

 

Staffordshire is one of four constabularies taking part in the Public First Project - a government pilot scheme aimed at restoring common sense to policing.

 

Mr Sims said: "I think at its worst it allowed the 'policing to targets' culture to take hold, in the same way that we see in other public sectors at the moment - teaching to targets, teaching to tests - so at its worst, at its most extreme it encouraged that sort of policing to targets.

 

"Certainly, when I took over in Staffordshire about a year ago I was very clear that we needed to move away from that to focus very much on giving people the policing that they needed and absolutely, I think that that's the position that the green paper now supports and recognises."

 

At the end of the day it does lose people's goodwill

Sgt Richard Moores

Staffordshire Police

 

Sgt Richard Moores, from Staffordshire Police, told the BBC that currently any matter going to court could potentially involve filling in 15 forms.

 

"The paperwork certainly has changed in the 12 years that I've been in the job," he said.

 

"There seems to be more bureaucracy created and more forms that need to be filled in just as an auditable trail basically.

 

"It shows the defence whether or not there are any issues that might undermine our case."

 

'Chasing arrests'

 

The BBC's Andrew Hosken said some police officers felt Home Office targets had robbed them of their judgment and discretion.

 

A policy known as sanction detection was particularly unpopular. Sgt Moores said it encouraged officers to actively seek out arrests for any offence, no matter how minor, so they could be recorded against the target.

 

FROM THE TODAY PROGRAMME

 

More from Today programme

 

One example of this was in the handling of people caught urinating in public, he said.

 

"It was getting to the point where people were chasing detections, going down back alleyways trying to find people who weren't standing in the middle of the street, but had gone out of the way to try to find somewhere to go to the toilet," Sgt Moores said.

 

"At the end of the day it does lose people's goodwill."

 

Mr Sims said he was in favour of the green paper which makes "public confidence" the biggest priority influencing the relationship between the Home Office and the police.

 

Mc McNulty said the green paper would bring about a "revolution" in policing.

 

"I think I'm accepting what Chris Sims has said that round the edges, at its worst, there were perverse incentives in the target regime," he said.

 

For the first few years the efficiency of the service was lifted, but about 18 months ago my view was we passed a point of diminishing returns

Ken Jones

President of the Association of Chief Police Officers

 

"But what I'm saying is that I think the success overall of the target regime has got us to the stage where we can now confidently move on from that and set parameters for the coming period that are more about freeing up the police to do what their local communities want them to do."

 

Ken Jones, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, told the BBC that targets had outlived their usefulness.

 

"For the first few years the efficiency of the service was lifted, but about 18 months ago my view was we passed a point of diminishing returns.

 

"But we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that we've also brought to book a lot of people who wouldn't have been brought to book if we hadn't gone down that route."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7562477.stm

 

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsi...000/7562585.stm

:lol:mcnulty.jpg:lol:

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