Our Founder writes in today’s Telegraph about the need for police chiefs to refocus on crime:
“The recent figures on police performance will come as little surprise to a public frustrated by an often depressing response to crime and anti-social behaviour.
Police chiefs and their command teams must accept their share of responsibility. Their leadership provides the most immediate impact on performance – which a small but growing number of police chiefs recognise.
Top of the Telegraph’s table yesterday of police metrics was the strong performance of Chief Constable Lee Freeman when he was in Humberside. Meanwhile, at the bottom end, the back-to-basics turnaround of Greater Manchester Police is underway thanks to Chief Constable Stephen Watson. But they stand in stark contrast to their predecessors, and to other seniors who appear to believe that crime is like the weather: beyond their control.
Too many police chiefs see little or no gain in supporting their officers and staff to fight crime. Far easier to appease the social justice activists and surrender the streets. Far simpler to convene a talking shop on social justice rather than fix practical things that frustrate crime-fighting cops on a daily basis: inadequate IT, gargantuan bureaucracy, buildings that leak and flood, poor communications.
And, with nobody really carrying the can for crime in the force, it’s left as the abandoned metric. It is everyone’s responsibility, and nobody’s.
We see this defeatism writ largest in the Met where, even as knife crime surges up 15 per cent year-on-year, the use of stop and search continues to collapse, dropping 19 per cent over the same period. Some London Boroughs – including Croydon, billed as “London’s knife crime capital” – might go days without any under 18s being stopped and searched at all. Do London’s local commanders or the Met Commissioner feel under any obligation to fight crime?
Going soft on crime might play well to London’s mayor, who famously promised “to do everything in my power to cut stop and search”, but does nothing to make London’s population any safer.
How is it that our policing leaders seem more in love with strategies of appeasement than in strategies of crime reduction?
Bill Bratton, with the backing of a tough-on-crime mayor, famously revolutionised policing and made New York City safer by applying statistical comparisons and “broken windows” to dramatically cut the crime that was immiserating the city. But such crime-fighting talk is more likely to induce rashes, migraines and embarrassment than inspire change among senior officers on this side of the Atlantic.
We shouldn’t be surprised that police leadership is so deficient. We have a College of Policing – presiding over the selection and promotion of police constables through to police chiefs – that seems to believe prison increases crime and appears to subscribe to critical race theory.
Little surprise, then, that our police forces are some of the least transparent across the Anglosphere when it comes to crime data. It’s not just the public who lack situational awareness on crime – forces routinely fail to equip their own officers and staff with crime-fighting insight and data.
Senior officers must shake off their obsession with social justice and get back to the basics of fighting crime. Politicians must do the same – both in Westminster and beyond. Elected mayors and police and crime commissioners have a critical role to play in getting policing back on track and reasserting common sense.
Our current and future police chiefs must jettison the comfort blanket of appeasement and refocus their forces on fighting crime if we are to have any chance of making the UK a safe place to live, work and raise a family.”