News Archive

Call For Local Policing

by msecadm4921

National targets for the country’s police service should be scrapped, a local government body claims.

National targets for the country’s police service should be scrapped in favour of a more flexible system that allows local police services to tackle those issues most important to their local communities, said local government leaders today in their response to the Home Office’s consultation on the Police Reform White Paper.

With local councillors recognised as key community figure-heads often approached for advice and guidance, the Local Government Association is calling for the police service to be made more accountable to local communities and for a joined-up approach to reducing crime and disorder.

Cllr Bryony Rudkin, Chair of the LGA’s Safer Communities Board, said: “Everyone has a right to feel safe, and it is crucial that local councils can work together with the police, fire service and other local partners to reduce crime and disorder and promote safer communities at a local level. But for this to be truly effective, the police must first be freed from restraining national targets to be able to divert resources to those issues most important to their own individual localities.

“As democratically elected bodies, engaging with local people and addressing local needs is a priority for all councils. The involvement of local authorities in consulting communities and shaping community safety policy is fundamental to their community leadership role.”

As well as its own submission, the LGA also gave a joint response with the Association of Police Authorities (APA) in areas of mutual interest. This joint response says that it should be for local authorities to decide appropriate councillor representation on police authorities. Political balance, appropriate weighting between various levels of local government, involvement in and knowledge of community safety issues should all be considered to ensure that police authorities are reflective of the communities they serve.

“The role of local councillors on police authorities is fundamental to ensuring local democratic accountability,” added Cllr Rudkin. “As members of the public elected to represent the views of local people, councillors must have a direct say in how local police serve local residents. This means that national targets should be phased out, with performance based on how well police services do in meeting locally determined targets.”

In its response to ‘Building Communities, Beating Crime: a better police service for the 21st century’, the LGA has welcomed the recognition the government has given to the role local government can play, and to the importance of partnership working for the success of any effort to combat crime and disorder.

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