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New landscape of policing?

Tuesday September 27th, 2011

By Morven MacNeil, GO Content Editor 

The Commons Home Affairs Committee has examined the Government’s proposals for policing reform in a new report published this week.

The New Landscape of Policing report found that more than a year after the Government announced it was phasing out the National Policing Improvement Agency, it still has not announced any definite decisions about the future of the majority of the functions currently performed by the Agency.

In Spring 2012 is when the Agency is due to be phased out. The committee has said it is not persuaded that the Government can meet this timetable and has recommended that it delay the phasing out of the Agency until the end of 2012.

The Committee also found that, after the Olympics, the Home Office should consider making counter-terrorism a separate command of the New National Crime Agency. Counter-terrorism is currently the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police.

The Government must urgently appoint a head of the new National Crime Agency, according to the Committee. A Professional Body for policing, as proposed by Peter Neyroud, could ultimately become a useful part of the policing landscape, but the Government will need to win the hearts and minds of police officers and staff to promote the nature and role of the new body.

The Committee also found that the proposed new Professional Body must be inclusive from the outset and not just involve officers of ACPO ranks.

Collaboration between police forces should also offer clear financial and operational benefits. The report states that the Home Office should be more active in encouraging and supporting forces to collaborate with one another.

IT across the police service as a whole is not fit for purpose and is a detriment of the police’s ability to fulfil their basic mission of preventing crime and disorder, according to the Committee. The Home Office must make revolutionising police IT a top priority.

Chair of the committee, the Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP said: “We are deeply concerned that more than a year after the publication of the consultation paper, many of the details of the Government’s proposals are still unclear. This is extremely unhelpful, both for the police service itself and for the other bodies involved in the criminal justice landscape.

“We are also concerned that the Government may not be able to meet its own timetable for introducing the changes, and urge it to issue a revised timetable as soon as possible.”

He added: “The police perform a difficult and dangerous task on behalf of the public and the continuing uncertainty about the future of many of the bodies involved in policing has the potential to be very damaging.”

To view the report, please click here.

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