Police targets

August 14, 2008 11:33 AM

Until we get genuine local accountability for police forces, with elected chiefs, instead of the disaster of centralised targets that bizarrely distort police priorities Britain will be policed like this:

"The theft of a milk bottle by a juvenile counts the same as a multi-million pound fraud. Certainly we are trying to look after the easy detections.


I am aware that officers in a town just north of where I live have been told to go out on patrol deliberately to try and search for cannabis just so they can do a street warning for cannabis which is a sanctioned detection. They are literally told to go out and search a few people and try and find some cannabis so they can give a street warning and get a detection out of it."

Or this:

"We are hitting Mr and Mrs Joe Average on the road and hitting them hard, so we can get a little tick in the box to say that we've issued a fixed penalty, when the people who we should be targeting are the people we know are causing the offences, who are causing the burglaries, criminal damages and theft."

Or this:

"When someone's arrested it takes up to two hours to process and put them into custody. The computer demands that level of activity. In my day, you put somebody into custody and you were allowed to get on and interview them and do the necessary things."

Or this:

"It's far easier to be able to tell you about what we're doing pro-actively, to go into all these minor criminal offences, than to actually deal with the reality of what is actually out there. There is a huge problem with drugs, a huge problem with knives which we are simply having no impact on, and a huge problem with violent crime which I believe is increasing not decreasing."

All these stories were obtained by the BBC asking police officers about the state of British policing.  We need radical reform to put control of the police in the hands of local people.  This situation can't be remedied by Whitehall diktat.

Until we get genuine local accountability for police forces, with elected chiefs, instead of the disaster of centralised targets that bizarrely distort police priorities Britain will be policed like this:

"The theft of a milk bottle by a juvenile counts the same as a multi-million pound fraud. Certainly we are trying to look after the easy detections.


I am aware that officers in a town just north of where I live have been told to go out on patrol deliberately to try and search for cannabis just so they can do a street warning for cannabis which is a sanctioned detection. They are literally told to go out and search a few people and try and find some cannabis so they can give a street warning and get a detection out of it."

Or this:

"We are hitting Mr and Mrs Joe Average on the road and hitting them hard, so we can get a little tick in the box to say that we've issued a fixed penalty, when the people who we should be targeting are the people we know are causing the offences, who are causing the burglaries, criminal damages and theft."

Or this:

"When someone's arrested it takes up to two hours to process and put them into custody. The computer demands that level of activity. In my day, you put somebody into custody and you were allowed to get on and interview them and do the necessary things."

Or this:

"It's far easier to be able to tell you about what we're doing pro-actively, to go into all these minor criminal offences, than to actually deal with the reality of what is actually out there. There is a huge problem with drugs, a huge problem with knives which we are simply having no impact on, and a huge problem with violent crime which I believe is increasing not decreasing."

All these stories were obtained by the BBC asking police officers about the state of British policing.  We need radical reform to put control of the police in the hands of local people.  This situation can't be remedied by Whitehall diktat.

Latest Blogs:

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

Aid spending needs to be more transparent

4:55 PM 08, Dec 2016 Harry Fairhead

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

The sugar tax and the public finances

6:00 AM 05, Dec 2016 Harry Fairhead

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

Working for the taxman

6:00 AM 26, Nov 2016 Harry Fairhead

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

Further thoughts on the Autumn Statement

4:56 PM 24, Nov 2016 James Price