How to run a country: crime and policing
Reform is this week publishing recommendations for the 2015 Spending Review. Each day we will publish analysis for each of the main areas of public spending.
Crime has been in decline since the mid-1990s, and continued to decline throughout the last Parliament, confounding two widely held beliefs: (a) that crime increases during a recession and (b) fewer police officers would mean more crime. The burning platform of austerity drove forces to deliver efficiencies, and the Coalition Government’s overhaul of policing bodies led to greater transparency and accountability. The scope and need for further reform is, however, considerable. Policing reform in this Parliament should be undertaken based on three key objectives:
- reducing high harm crime;
- creating a smaller, smarter and more flexible police service capable of meeting changing demand; and
- integrating policing with other key public services.
Achieving these objectives will require a much better understanding of police demand, both in terms of crime and non-crime incidences and the day to day allocation of police time. It will mean prioritising increases in productivity and capability. It also means shifting the debate from ‘how many forces should we have?’ to ‘how can we best meet changing demand?’. Delivering these reforms will not only enable further savings, but will lead to better outcomes for citizens.