14 March 2022
The chair of Derbyshire Police Federation has called for the Government to urgently invest in policing to meet the needs and demands of 21st century policing.
Tony Wetton was responding Sir Tom Winsor, chief inspector at Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services HMICFRS), and his State of Policing report, which sets out an assessment of policing in England and Wales.
Tony said: “I agree with Sir Tom’s assessment that policing has come a long way in the last decade, but that we’ve still got a long way to go.
“The nature of the crimes we’re dealing with has changed considerably and we need the investment in policing now to meet those challenges.
“Sir Tom’s review highlights the need for investment, particularly in technology, to bring us into the 21st century. A decade of austerity, cuts and under-investment means we’re now playing catch-up.”
In his final report after almost a decade in post, Sir Tom commended the courage and commitment of police officers and staff.
He described how online crime is now the most prevalent type of crime; that public expectations can’t be met without sufficient funding and that the advancement in technology had provided opportunities for police but they’ve sometimes struggled to keep pace with criminals.
His report also drew attention to the load placed on police by “the chronically insufficient public provision of treatment of mental ill-health”, as well as the need for improved vetting of officers and staff, the state of the criminal justice system, and the system of police accountability.
Sir Tom said: “In the past 10 years, the police service has come a long way. Critical advances have been made in several fields of policing, including domestic abuse, child protection, the quality of some investigations, relations with the public and workforce diversity. Police officers and staff have a very great deal of which to be proud.
“But major shortcomings in policing persist, and these need to be addressed. Criminality is often now complex and far more sophisticated, and investigations can take far longer. If the police continue to use 20th century methods to try to cope with 21st century technology, they will continue to fall further and further behind.
“The police service cannot meet 100 per cent of public expectations for, say, 70 per cent of their efficient cost. The public, through their elected representatives, must decide how much risk and harm they are prepared to accept, and whether they will pay more for higher levels of public safety.
“One of the most important things the police must do, especially in London, is to rebuild public trust, which has recently been damaged. Public confidence in the police is more than precious, it is essential.
“As I reflect on the past decade in policing, I commend the courage and commitment of police officers and staff across the country. The severity of the problems that our police service now faces should not be underestimated, but the public should be reassured by the strong, pragmatic and professional approach of police officers and staff. They should stand in admiration of their fortitude and bravery in facing sometimes mortal danger and the worst things which happen to people and which people do to others.
“The public can, and must, trust the police.”
Tony added: “As a service we recognise the work needed to restore trust in policing, but the public can be assured that the vast majority of officers and staff are dedicated to serving them.
“Every day our members display incredible bravery and fortitude to protect the public and tackle crime. “