The police mission

London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing, Stephen Greenhalgh, has questioned why, at a time of dramatic budget cutbacks, taxpayers are still being asked to pick up the bill for policing crowds outside large events such as football matches. In a major new report, Greenhalgh and co-author Blair Gibbs, call for a public debate on the police’s role, arguing that it is time to look again at costs imposed on the police and what can be done to encourage collaboration to support the police in preventing crime and meeting public demands.

Opinion poll results

The Deputy Mayor’s call for a rethink on police priorities is supported by a national opinion poll, commissioned by Reform. The opinion poll shows public satisfaction with police performance has remained constant since 2010, despite them facing unprecedented budget cuts. The exception being in London where 40 per cent think performance has stayed the same and almost a third (29 per cent) believe policing has improved.

The poll also shows that over three-quarters of the public agree that event organisers should pay more of the cost of policing large events.

“A second phase of police reform”

The report shows that the first phase of police reform has been successfully delivered, with Police and Crime Commissioners forging important new relationships to improve public safety. The authors say:

“We are entering a second phase of police reform which must be about function, not form. About what the public can realistically expect from the police, what the policing function is beyond fighting crime, and how the police can be equipped to deliver their core mission in an era of complex threats, high public demand, and shrinking budgets.”

The report’s key recommendations are:

  • Greater clarity of the police mission which draws some boundaries and gives officers a clearer sense of their role and where they really add value.
  • A rebalancing of the time and effort of the police back towards crime prevention in line with public expectations, and aided by technology.
  • An active pursuit by the police of collaboration, to aid them in managing demand better and reducing it in the long-term.


For more information, please contact Richard Harries on or 020 7799 6699