Published on 11 March 2015
- Our Work
- The Reformer Blog
13 March 2015
In common with other public services, the police are adapting to financial pressures that are redefining the realities of policing delivery. In this new context, the role of the College of Policing, as a professional body, is to equip those in policing with the skills and knowledge to prevent crime, protect the public and secure public trust.
Part of our work over the last few months has been to establish how the demand on policing has changed. In January we published the first national picture of the breadth and complexity of the work undertaken by the police.
The analysis shows the incoming and ongoing work of the police and suggests an increasing amount of police time is directed towards public protection work such as managing high-risk offenders and protecting victims who are at risk and often vulnerable.
On a typical day, officers in an average force will make 50 arrests, deal with 101 anti-social behaviour incidents, respond to approximately 12 missing person reports, carry out 37 stop and searches, deal with nine road traffic collisions, and respond to 14 incidents flagged as being linked to mental health issues.
In addition to reacting to calls for service from the public, the police service will also be supporting 2,700 families enrolled in the Troubled Families Programme, approximately 1,600 domestic abuse victims, 1,000 children subject to Child Protection Plans and managing 1,189 sexual and violent offenders in partnership with other local bodies.
Both types of demand can be extremely challenging and require considerable amounts of police resource. However, our analysis shows in the past five years the number of police officers has fallen by 11 per cent.
These pressures on resources highlight more than ever the need for police to work with partners to solve problems, so that police focus their resources and efforts on effective crime prevention. Developing policing as a profession can help ensure that police interventions are delivered to a clear standard based on evidence and underpinned by licensing and accreditation, continuous professional development, and a code of ethics.
The launch last week of the College’s online evidence tool will provide those in policing with access to a clearly labelled online evidence base about what works, and what does not, at the click of a mouse. Over the next five years, the growing evidence base will be directly embedded into policing standards.
We are also drawing on technology as a tool to meet the challenges of the 21st century. An example of this has been supporting trials of body worn video cameras, to understand whether it improves police-public contact as well as helping officers gather quality evidence. The strength of the current leadership has meant forces have been able to manage big reductions in their budgets while reducing crime in most categories. But we are clear that the current leadership will need to change and adapt for the future. Meeting the challenge of directing resources to protect the public to the best of our ability with fewer police officers will necessitate good leadership at all levels.
The College’s Leadership Review, which will be publishing its initial findings in March, will take a forward look over the next decade to establish what skills and capabilities the next generation of police leaders need to be able to continue to cut crime and keep our communities safe. We hope that this and our other work will continue to provide evidence to inform the debate addressed today.
Alex Marshall QPM, Chief Executive, College of Policing