On 2 March 2011, the Home Secretary set out the government's new approach to tackling crime.
Increasing government interference in recent years has meant that the police and community safety partnerships (CSPs) have become responsive to targets and bureaucracy rather than people's needs. This has left communities disempowered from the fight to cut crime.
While government has interfered too much in local policing, conversely it hasn’t paid enough attention to tackling serious and organised crime at the national level.
The government's new approach to fighting crime involves a radical shift in power from Whitehall to local communities. The police and their partners will be given far greater freedom to do their jobs and use their discretion. The public will have more power to hold the police and community safety partnerships to account and feel empowered to reclaim their communities. This shift will be accompanied by a new and overdue focus on serious and organised crime at a national level.
A new approach
The police now have only one objective: to cut crime. The extent of what we want community safety partnerships to do is similar – solve problems, work together, cut crime.
- we will not tell CSPs how to operate or manage their performance – we are scrapping the old reporting arrangements and targets (such as public service agreements and local area agreements), stripping away unnecessary prescription and simplifying funding
- CSPs should be action-orientated and should look to communities, not to Whitehall, for advice on what crime issues to prioritise
We will give the police and their partners far greater freedom to do their jobs and use their discretion - we will cut bureaucracy and give them greater discretion to use restorative justice responses.
- we will ensure professionals have the tools and support they need to deal with antisocial behaviour, youth crime and violence
- we will give local authorities more powers to deal with alcohol-related crime (for example, through refusing and revoking licenses) and we will promote local recovery systems to reduce drug-related offending
We will give the public more power to hold the police and community safety partnerships to account and feel empowered to reclaim their communities. From May 2012, the public will elect police and crime commissioners making the police accountable to the communities they serve.
- new street-level crime and antisocial behaviour maps give the public up-to-date, accurate information on what is happening on their streets so they can challenge the police at mandatory beat meetings
- we will encourage the public to participate in Neighbourhood Watch schemes and volunteer as special constables, magistrates and victim support volunteers.
We will establish the National Crime Agency - a powerful body of crime fighters led by a senior chief constable. The agency will:
- strengthen the operational response to serious and organised crime and better secure our borders
- consist of an number of operational commands (including a new border policing command) and will harness synergies between them to get the best outcomes
Success will not be judged by a myriad of centrally mandated targets.
It will be judged by the public on the simple fact of whether crime has fallen.