Police forces facing dozens of new performance targets

Home Secretary Theresa May The elected crime commissioner scheme was one championed by Theresa May

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Police forces in England and Wales have been set 178 performance targets by police and crime commissioners, despite a Home Office vow to cut red tape.

Last week Home Secretary Theresa May told senior police officers they "have only one target, to reduce crime".

BBC analysis shows 18 of the 41 PCCs have set targets or performance measures and others broader objectives.

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners said the targets bore "no resemblance" to past government goals.

In a reform championed by Mrs May, PCCs were elected in all police force areas outside London last November to replace police authorities.

They are responsible for setting a strategy for each force and holding chief constables to account. In the capital the mayor of London takes on the responsibilities of PCCs.

'Targets comeback'

Addressing last week's police superintendents' conference, the home secretary said she had got rid of action plans and would not micro-manage what individual forces got up to, but warned that she had noticed targets "making a comeback".

Forces setting specific targets

Avon and Somerset - 4

Cambridgeshire - 12

Cumbria - 20

Devon and Cornwall - 4

Hampshire - 5

Hertfordshire - 14

Kent - 5

Leicestershire - 26

Norfolk - 9

Northamptonshire - 1

Northumbria - 8

Nottinghamshire - 21

Thames Valley - 10

Warwickshire - 6

West Mercia - 15

West Midlands - 4

West Yorkshire - 1

Wiltshire - 13

The BBC examined police and crime plans, which all PCCs have to publish, as well as associated documents on their websites.

The extent of the performance targets and the language used to describe them varies significantly from one force to another.

Bedfordshire refers to "priorities" but lists no specific targets, whilst Cambridgeshire has a wide range of measures, including reducing burglaries, increasing victim satisfaction and improving the ratio of reported incidents of domestic violence to the number of prosecutions.

One of the objectives set for the Norfolk force is to reduce violent and sexual crimes at specified times of night, in patrol zones of certain towns, to no more than 450 crimes per year by 2015-16.

Leicestershire's 26 targets - the most of any force - are to be measured by satisfaction surveys and crime figures.

Meanwhile, Thames Valley Police has been set 10 crime reduction targets. These include a commitment to carry out at least 40 operations against metal theft and to "disrupt 20 problem and organised crime groups that prey on vulnerable people and isolated communities".

The four police forces in Wales have not been set specific targets, but the PCC for the South Wales force refers to targets that are to be set in general terms.

Local priorities

Mrs May has consistently spoken out against police targets and performance measures.

In May 2010, she told the Police Federation she would "look at dismantling the targets in disguise - the key performance indicators - which set national, one-size-fits-all priorities for local forces and instead allow you to pursue the crimes and criminals you believe you should".

A year later she told the Conservative Party conference that she "hadn't asked the police to be social workers... I've told them to cut crime" and earlier this year she told the Police Federation that she had "got rid of Labour's plethora of targets".

Tony Lloyd, Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner and chairman of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said PCCs worked closely with communities to identify what most concerned them about crime.

He said: "Police and crime plan objectives bear no resemblance to previous central government targets. Police and crime commissioners put their draft five-year plans out for public consultation and used the comments they received back to shape local priorities to fight crime.

"Police and crime plans are designed to reflect the views of local people and not constrain police officers from cutting crime."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    We'd be over the moon if they could just hit the three targets.

    1. Serve the public trust.
    2. Protect the innocent.
    3. Uphold the law.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Burgled once,car broken into 3 times and all I got on all 4 crimes was a crime number,never a visit from a police officer.Do 34 mph in a 30 and they will nail you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    These Police targets are the reason why you usually find them standing at the sides of roads with speed guns or hassling some people for smoking a bit of weed. They will go out and arrest decent hardworking citizens for next to no reason so that they will reach their targets and get their payments. This is no way to run a Police force, it's Serve and Protect not Meet the Targets

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    This is what happens when you put business minded politicians in charge, and not people with proper policing experience.

    This stinks of PCCs trying to justify their existence.

    How about improving performance by giving the police the funding and resources to do their job instead of having to spend an increasing part of their day doing paperwork.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Talk about over-hype. The Home Office have said there would be no national policing targets and, aside from 'cut crime' - there are none. How Police Forces and Commissioners then arrange themselves is now their decision, based on local needs and commitments. To suggest they "...face dozens of new targets" is therefore misleading - this is of their own doing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.


    And what exactly is that? Lieing? Cheating? Bullying? Corruption?

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Laughable, that people complain about the performance of the police yet if someone was being attacked infront of them they wouldn't have the backbone to do anything.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    @5.anneque2, As with all organisations there are a few rotten apples, but inthe main the police I've dealt with have been civil and professional, but then I dont give them verbal back chat and act like a barrack-room lawyer.

    It should also be noted that the targets are set by the PCC not the government, but as usual the article doesnt give any details on what these local targets include.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Did anyone seriously think that bringing in more management would not create more red tape?

    These days the country runs on monitoring and statistics - not doing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Looks like a case of 'the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing'. When are we to expect some joined up governing in this country? If the clowns in government and the PCCs were running a business they'd be bankrupt by now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    @3.The Liberator

    What evidence do you have that the private companies would provide a fair and balanced law enforcement rather than abusing the poisition to make more money? I mean is there a single moment in history where a company has put social responsibility in front of profit?

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Its pressure and targets which result in corruption and bad practises. They can’t be seen to have an unsolved crime(for now) or to have failed (we all fail) so they are forced to bend the rules like the nurses who bent the A&E times and education that cheat on results. Let them do their job and keep politics out of it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Targets, a politicians answer to everything it seems

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Re: "Police forces facing dozens of new performance targets"

    NO! not the "tick box" education and health service disasters all over again, do politicians and government learn anything?

    Please leave the Police to what they are good at.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    It just shows that the unwanted PCC's are nothing more than a further tier of government / law enforcement and that nothing changes at all.

    And a damned expensive one to boot - millions of pounds to put in place and millions more to administrate.

    From a clueless government big on talk.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    The police commissioners have to do something to justify their (and, in many cases several of their freinds') huge salaries. They were not wanted as shown by the very low turnout to vote for them and large number of spoiled ballot papers. Scrap them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    The police are supposed to be tackling crime..........Tories big on crime then decide to change the focus, WHY?

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    What's the point in giving them targets? They don't do the job now - too busy tasering blind men and shooting dead innocent civilians then lying about it is about their level, when they aren't "conferring" over their notes or "amending" witness statements as in Hillsborough, Tomlinson scandals.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Same old, same old - " a recent report", "statistics show", "increased target", "an enquiry has been launched" - and nothing ever changes. Same old MP's, same old lies, same old corruption. What muppets they much take us for.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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