PCC responds to HMIC State of Policing report

Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said:

 "The Chief Inspector's comments show, again, a partial and flawed understanding of policing.  Unfortunately, his approach is not without consequence.  His imposition of Force Management Statements lands a large, uncosted administrative burden on policing with little or no gain for preventing crime or public confidence. 

 

His assertion that the total demand for policing can be objectively and quantifiably measured is false.  For example, he suggests that 'demand' for policing of modern slavery could be better understood.  At one level, he is right; modern slavery is a wicked crime to which we all expect a response.  In reality however, the more resources policing allocates to modern slavery, the more crimes are identified.  In this, as in many other areas such as most organised crimes, the more resources policing allocates to a particular form of criminality, the more that criminality is discovered.  Demand for policing is therefore often created by policing, not reduced by it.

 

Similarly, despite the Chief Inspector's assertions, there are no reliable models for predicting future levels of the totality of demand.   New forms of criminality emerge - such as cyber dependent crimes, or keyless car thefts - and overall crime rates are affected by wider social, economic, political and cultural factors over which policing has little influence.  Equally, changes to services provided by partners also affect crime rates. 

 

The Chief Inspector's belief in 'demand' shows he has a very particular view of what policing is and what it does, and his belief that market-driven ideas like 'demand and supply' can be applied to the strategic direction and operational leadership of policing.  He is missing the core purposes of policing however.  How much demand is there for crime prevention?  How much demand is there for confidence in policing, or people feeling safe on the streets after dark?  The totality of policing's effect is not the sum of its measurable activities, but the social value of policing's part in making people feel more confident and safe, preventing crime, protecting the vulnerable and bringing offenders to justice.  Policing doesn't just 'meet demand', it is part of the values and norms of the society we want to live in. The Chief Inspector's comments expose his dogmatic belief that policing is just another service sector industry, the same as running a railway or a water company.  He is wrong."