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 202.

    Typical tory bunkum and how that useless woman keeps her job, let alone gets touted as a potential "leader" beggars belief.

    They're trying to trash the police service in the same way they trashed the NHS. Localism is not a concept that should be applied to policing and these commissioners are just unecessary baggage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 201.

    Won't work. They introduced performance management for support staff in schools and everybody knows it's just a box ticking exercise that is of no benefit to anyone, least of all the kids. I've no problem with setting standards and expectations but this sort of nonsense is what happens when people who have certificates in HR and no real work experience flex their muscles. Waste of time and money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 200.

    How about a target that allows the police to get on with the job of apprehending law breakers and sets them free from endless paper work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    The problem with all of our public services is the same POLITICS.No matter what party is in power.It comes down to box ticking to give the hordes of bureaucrats some thing to do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    One plus living on in N. Europe is knowing the country's police targets probably do include eg.
    1) Financiers whose fraud destabilised the economy.
    2) Politicians who helped.
    3) Big drug dealers, even if friends of the above.
    4) Paedo rings even if.......
    5) Press barons who abuse the public, even if.......
    6) Politicians' illegal wars.
    7) Knife thugs
    Rather than picking on plebs for trivia.

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    Message to HM Govt ministers, civil servants. Let the police, teachers, nurses, doctors do their jobs. Stop interfering with stupid, banal objectives to satisfy the Whitehall penny pinchers and the waste of time PCC's. The nanny state is too interfering, Just back off and treat them like the professionals they are. Concentrate on getting the UK off its knees, that's your priority. Rant over.

  • rate this

    Comment number 196.

    How can any organisation concentrate on 170+ targets. Luncy

  • rate this

    Comment number 195.

    Seemed to be doing a top notch job on GTA the other night had a mishap when driving through town with a bystander and boom four cop cars where after me in the local area I tried to get out of dodge a failed effort as within minutes the police helicopter was above me pinging bullets off my hood I dont remember what happend after that woke up outside hospital $15 dollas down it was a bad day :(

  • rate this

    Comment number 194.

    Targets, targets and more targets ... I know where I would like to stick a target.

  • rate this

    Comment number 193.

    very simple if they arent doing their job or only investigiating 40% of crime as per greater manchester police of course they need to be monitored, it is our money they are paid by

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    Here in Cardiff they have closed my local station and now we have soring burglary and car crime and violence and open drug dealing Canton us to be a nice place to live but since canton police station closed the footfall and vehicle traffic has dried up leaving the criminals to do what they want the police have an office in the local library but not for contacting them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    Can't the police just be given sufficient resource to be allowed to catch villains rather than having hundreds of targets to achieve!

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    Sorry folks but the police, just like any other public or private organisation, need targets simply to ensure it is delivering what it needs to.

    Now. Having nonpolice staff (eg Mps) interfere is another matter entirely and this type of interference can make such an organisation lose its direction, or worse, completely derail it. If you need evidence of this then just look at the nhs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    We should have performance targets? Don't most voters vote for a party, rather than a candidate? Why are MPs allowed to steal from taxpayers other public sector employers would be sacked? Where else can you 'work' while getting drunk and then get told what to vote for?

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    I think we must already have targets in Yorkshire.
    Last night 8.30 two traffic wardens standing in a dark alleyway off the main street waiting to catch people stopping at the local chip shop.
    What an absolute joy

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    target is another way of saying how much tax they will raise in soft crime areas
    No targets for fraud,murder,rape even domestic abuse,because these crimes involve spending lots of money with little return
    were speeding parking a profit can be made
    our police forces have been reduced to tax collectors,worse corruption & other crimes now pays because their to costly to police properly

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    Now here you are Mr. Cameron, a chance to make a name for yourself.
    Sack all P.C.C.s and admit it was a mistake !

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    I've always been very suspicious of the targets culture.The targets become the main issue,encouraging people to cut corners and fiddle the system in order to tick all the right boxes.They also seem to put staff under unnecessary pressure and priorities become warped.

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    what a farce this country is becoming , we cut the armed forces then try and get into every war available , cut back police then complain they are not catching enough crooks but if they do well pc comes into play and a tap on the wrist , the cops must be tearing their hair out, more and more red tape and excuses government afraid to do anything just in case someone gets upset . we need proper law.

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    How about the plebgate performance? This scandal happened a year ago but now it's gone quiet. Not that I'm a fan of the tory they accused of pleb abuse, but it's a glaring example incompetence. The video showed there were no public there and the police version of the altercation was clearly wrong so he took them to court. Police officers were arrested but then nothing... no charges. Nothing.


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