Published 30 March 2019
At Crest Advisory, we want to create safer communities by helping criminal justice organisations to think, speak and act more clearly. We believe in challenging outdated thinking, providing credible advice, acting in a collaborative way and being courageous when looking for solutions. That’s why we felt it was important to contribute to the Parliamentary inquiry by the Home Affairs Select Committee on ‘Policing for the future’.
The inquiry seeks to understand the challenges and opportunities facing policing, as seen by a wide range of organisations across the public, private and voluntary sector. Because we often work with police and crime commissioners (PCCs) our evidence focuses on how they have set their policing priorities and engaged with communities.
Drawing on our previous analysis of Police and Crime Plans we have sought to help inform the Committee about how policing is adapting to changing crime and demand.
In the absence of a single national framework for determining policing priorities and policies, the Police and Crime Plans published by PCCs will play an increasingly important role in shaping the way the police respond to changing crime/demand and how we assess their performance.
Our analysis of the latest published plans shows that the level of clarity, detail and ambition remains variable. In particular, only a minority of PCCs appear to have: - Set strategic priorities that reflect the changing nature of crime - Set out clear performance measures against which success can be judged
A strategy for improving performance across the non-policing parts of the criminal justice system
Moreover, it is clear that the way in which PCCs communicate with and engage local communities varies enormously. Too much of the engagement is narrow, passive and decontextualised.
This is likely to be a reflection of the relative infancy of the role of PCC, rather than on the individuals elected in May 2016. Nonetheless, we believe there is a case for greater support to be offered to PCCs (and their staff) in the development of these plans. In order to provide effective oversight of police performance, PCCs need consistent access to relevant local policing data, knowledge and reporting.
Too often, PCCs are forced to ‘start from scratch’ and/or draft their plans within a vacuum, rather than being able to access a broader network of knowledge based on evidence of what works and/or lessons from regional colleagues.
In a world in which policing decisions are more devolved, it is vital that PCCs are equipped with the resources they need to develop plans that enable the police to meet the challenges of the 21st century.