This one’s going to be short and sweet:
1.4 Reform the police
Empowering beat officers and freeing up police time must be accompanied by real measures to ensure that these new powers are used properly. We need a culture of proactive policing.
Yet as the Association of Chief Police Officers has noted, “the police workforce model is in any respects obsolete, with inefficient and restrictive practices causing waste and suppressing latent capacity.”
If the police force is to meet today’s challenges it will require a workforce that is flexible, highly skilled, well motivated, fairly paid and representative of the population it serves.
A Conservative Government will introduce immediate workforce reform, with a new focus on training and leadership and easier entry for talented individuals. The overriding focus of the reform will be to get officers out of police stations and on the beat.
What has any of this got to do with Cameron or a future Tory government?
Let me put it this way. Suppose ‘Call me Dave’ nips into his local Tesco for a few groceries and finds that the checkout girl’s a bit surly, the aisle staff are unhelpful and don’t know where things are and the store has a couple of university graduates stacking shelves: what does he do?
Does he pop up on the Today programme the next morning and announce he plans to introduce immediate workforce reform, better training and a new graduate entry programme at Tesco?
Of course not… because its not a damn thing to do with him.
He could complain to the store manager, contact head office or maybe even have a quiet word with Terence Leahy next time he runs into him at a function, but otherwise sorting out Tesco’s staff training and development systems is just not the job of the government, its the job of Tesco’s management team.
And the same should go for the Police. If there’s a need for reorganising the workforce, putting in place better training and development and fast tracking graduates up the ladder then the responsibility for that lies with the police itself, with the buck stopping at the Chief Constable/Commissioner.
So far as government is concerned, it has a role only if any of the issues raised by ACPO, and which the Tories quote above, stem from statutory legislation/regulations that are getting in the way of police making the improvements they think are necessary, in which case its down to government to give the regulations a quick once-over and strip out anything that’s causing a problem and that could reasonable be done without – if there’s even anything to do in that respect.
And if not, then leave it alone, give ACPO a bit of public backing if its needed and let their members get on with doing their jobs – that’s, after all, what we pay them for.
If Cameron’s so desperation to tinker with the way the police organises and trains its workforce he should be applying for a job as a Chief Constable, not trying to become Prime Minister.