Search

Police Suggest Home Secretary is Interfering with Operational Independence 

police

Police chiefs have suggested the home secretary is interfering with their operational independence by demanding forces pursue all reasonable crime leads at a time when their resources are being outstripped by a rise in offences.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) raised serious doubts about an initiative Suella Braverman used to launch the Government’s crime week as she proclaimed that all thefts should be investigated as there was “no such thing as minor crime”. Braverman instructed forces to follow all evidence such as footage from CCTV, doorbells and dashcams, as well as phone data, to find a suspect or stolen property.

Crime Week

The commitment to follow all reasonable lines of inquiry – agreed by the Home Office, the NPCC and the College of Policing – comes as part of a “crime week” of policy announcements planned by the government. In an effort to improve investigations and drive down crime rates, this initiative is said to make policing services more consistent across the country and provide the public with more faith in the police.

In her announcement, Suella Braverman said she had “heard too many accounts from victims where police simply haven’t acted on helpful leads because crimes such as phone and car thefts are seen as less important”, adding that this is “unacceptable” and “has damaged people’s confidence in policing”.

Suella also posted the announcement on X, with the hashtag ‘common sense policing’.

The move comes on top of a previous commitment for forces to attend every home burglary in a new set of standards announced last year.

The NPCC’s response

In an open letter to Suella Braverman and policing minister Chris Philp, NPCC chair Gavin Stephens warned that pressures on policing was having an impact on the criminal justice system as a whole and that “more needs to be done together”. He explained how he welcomed the Government’s commitment to recruit 20,000 police officers in England and Wales, as the number of police officers since 2010 has only increased by 2.6% while recorded crime has risen 25%.

However, Stephens added that while the NPCC and the College of Policing had worked together to update the guidance on reasonable lines of inquiry, “consistency across forces vary”.

“Growing demand as well as the increasing and changing nature of crime means consistency across forces varies and approximately 21 of 43 forces still have less officers than in 2010,” he wrote. “It is therefore right that police chiefs have operational independence and are responsible for making difficult decisions around how best to respond to the breadth of priorities of local communities.”

The NPCC chair described neighbourhood policing as the “bedrock”, adding “we believe that the number of neighbourhood officers should be increased.”

Criticism from the Labour Party

In response to the Government’s launch of Crime Week, Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary, branded the announcements a “staggering admission of 13 years of Tory failure on policing and crime”.

“Pursuing reasonable leads like CCTV is what the police should be doing, but – because of abysmal Tory management – over 90% of crimes go unsolved, the proportion of crimes prosecuted has dropped by more than two thirds and more criminals are getting off” a Labour spokesperson said.

“The fact that the Tories are boasting about asking the police to do the basic minimum that victims of crime should rightly expect, whilst failing to tackle the underlying problems they have caused shows how badly they have failed over the last 13 years.”

Final thought

It is crucial that the police maintain a level of independence and it is understandable that limited funding will make investigating all crimes impossible. More funding is needed to allow the police to effectively investigate thefts and ensure consistency in tackling crime.

Share

Related Topics

Latest

Video Features

On the Campaign Trail with Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Bromsgrove, Bradley Thomas

On the Campaign Trail with Labour PPC for Swansea East, Carolyn Harris

Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Newark, Robert Jenrick

Marie Goldman

Subscribe to our newsletter for your free digital copy of the journal!

Receive our latest insights, future journals as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Never miss an issue by subcribing to our newsletter!

Receive our latest insights and all future journals as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Never miss an issue by subcribing to our newsletter!

Receive our latest insights and all future journals as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Newsletter Signup

Receive our latest insights as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.