23 April 2021
Federation Chairman: I've lived through league tables for policing didn't work then, and they won't work now
“League Tables for policing? Targets? I’ve lived through this before and it didn’t work then. And it won’t work now.”
The Government must reconsider its plans to re-introduce league tables into policing, which would risk returning to a damaging, target-driven culture.
That is the message of the Police Federation after reports that Home Secretary Priti Patel is drawing up league tables which would rank police forces on their success in cutting serious crime.
According to the Times newspaper, police chiefs have been told they will be measured in their success in cutting six crime types including homicide, serious violence and cybercrime. The Home Office will compare their performance against national benchmarks in what it said was a “relentless focus on cutting crime”.
Adam Commons, Chair of Leicestershire Police Federation, said: “It’s disappointing to see the news today that the Government could be planning a return to league tables, or if you’re of my generation, “KPI’s” – or key performance indicators if you have had enough of your acronyms watching Line of Duty.
“The wheel does tend to come around again in policing, I’ve lived through this before and it didn’t work then. And it won’t work now.
“My colleagues should not be worried about getting to the end of a month and needing another arrest just to satisfy statistics. When you pressure people into something it doesn’t show accountability, it further skews the numbers and is still a false representation of what is happening.”
In a letter seen by The Times, Police Minister Kit Malthouse said that the measures would provide “national accountability and collective responsibility” while supporting and collective responsibility” while supporting and challenging forces. He said forces would be judged on their ability to reduce homicide, serious violence, drug supply, neighbourhood violence and cybercrime. They will also be measured on victim satisfaction.
National benchmarks will be based on traditional data such as recorded crime, as well as new measures including the number of police referrals into drug treatment programmes and hospital admissions for youth stabbings.
In 2007, when targets were introduced by a previous Government, the Police Federation successfully pressed for them to be scrapped after it led to "ludicrous" decisions such as arresting a child for throwing a cucumber slice.