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23 April 2021
Introducing league tables for forces will bring back a damaging target culture in the police service, the secretary of Hertfordshire Police Federation has warned.
Al Wollaston has voiced his concerns over the Government’s plans to rank police forces on their success in an attempt to cut serious crime.
It has been confirmed that Home Secretary Priti Patel is working with the Home Office on a league table which will focus on six crime types including homicide, serious violence and cyber-crime. The performance of forces will then be compared against national benchmarks.
Al says he is firmly against the plans: “This will undoubtedly create a damaging target culture within the police service. I just don’t see how it will improve the service that we already provide for our communities, in fact, I am certain it will just serve to have the opposite effect.
“If officers feel the pressure of being measured in certain areas, then this could impact on the other vital work that they do, with other jobs slipping down the list of priorities.
“This is not the way forward and I strongly urge the Government to have a re-think.”
National Federation chair John Apter has also criticised the plans, saying scrutiny and accountability were already a large part of policing.
“Re-introducing targets in policing would be a damaging and retrograde step. In previous years when they have been used, we have seen forces focus on targets to the exclusion of other issues. This is not good for the public and certainly no good for the victims of crime,” he explained.
“These league tables would also restrict the ability of forces to focus on local issues, because chief officers would be chasing targets which were judged on criteria set in Whitehall. If, despite these warnings, this is pursued it will fail, and it will be damaging.”
Targets were introduced by the previous Government in 2007 but the Federation successfully campaigned for them to be scrapped.