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Public expectations of the police 'not being met'

The Government aims to replace the top-down police targets with locally set priorities and to encourage greater use of officer discretion, backed by more effective supervision.

In this Report, 'Policing in the 21st Century' (HC 364-I), the Home Affairs Committee states that - at present - public expectations of the police are not being met, with the public wanting the police to put a greater focus on minor crime and anti-social behaviour.

The Committee sets out a number of conclusions and recommendations in this Report, including:

  • The police need to be more visible and responsive to the public and give greater consideration to the needs of the victim when investigating crime.
  • Police resources have been put under greater pressure particularly where foreign nationals need to be processed. Funding shortfalls have been exposed where rapid population change has occurred due to immigration.
  • The Committee highlights a concern over the deployment of police for longer periods dealing with alcohol-related crime due to the changes in the licensing laws and is not convinced of the effectiveness of Alcohol Disorder Zones.
  • The Committee expresses concern about the large number of murder suspects released on bail but do support amendments to the bail laws to take into account the capacity of the police forces to monitor offenders, and a presumption against bail in murder cases.
  • There are also examples of effective police approaches in reducing gang-related knife and gun crime, combining diversionary activities and targeted intelligence-led campaigns against known offenders.
  • The police need to find ways though to free up resources and the Committee expresses disappointment at the lack of progress in reducing police bureaucracy.
  • Centralisation of the development and purchase of technology through the National Policing Improvement Agency should reduce costs and ensure systems are integrated and prevent duplication.
  • More control should be given to local forces, with greater accountability of policing at a local level.
  • The Committee also identifies a gap in provision for tackling serious and organised crime.

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Law-Making Explained

This is a House of Commons paper (HC 364-I, 2007-08). It is a Report from the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee.

Find out more about House of Commons papers.

How does it affect me?

If you are concerned about gun and knife crime, anti-social behaviour, serious organised crime and the efforts of the Police to tackle such issues, this affects you.

Further Reading

Find out more about the Home Affairs Committee

Find out more about the Police from the Home Office


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