Although, her reception at the Police Federation conference was a little less frosty than last year: a little chilly or even chilling perhaps but no longer Siberian (even if that is where Theresa May might like to send some police officer representatives..!)
There was very little in the Conservative Manifesto to really understand the drift of government policy in the realm of policing, community safety and criminal justice. I guess we are going to have to wait for a green paper or two.
The Home Secretary's speech to the Fed conference can be found in full here. She said (among other matters):
That’s why today I am announcing two things to further free up police time. First, on the 27th May in the Queen’s Speech we will introduce a new Policing Bill, which will allow us to go further and faster with reform freeing up police time and putting policing back in the hands of the professionals.and later she went onto say:
We will extend the use of police-led prosecutions to cut the time you spend waiting for the Crown Prosecution Service. We will overhaul the police complaints and disciplinary systems and make changes to the oversight of pre-charge bail.
And we will include measures to reduce the amount of time the police spend dealing with people suffering from mental health issues – while ensuring that these individuals still receive the support they need at a time of crisis.
The Bill will therefore include provisions to cut the use of police cells for Section 135 and 136 detentions, reduce the current 72 hour maximum period of detention for the purposes of medical assessment, and continue to improve outcomes for people with mental health needs by enabling more places, other than police cells, to be designated as places of safety.
The second announcement I want to make goes back to that original deal in 2010. As I have said, when I became Home Secretary, I abolished Home Office performance targets and told chief constables that they had one single mission – to cut crime.I am genuinely not quite sure how all of this only amounts to two things... perhaps one of the reasons the Home Sec wants to do away with targets is that counting is one of her fortes? But seriously - there is some substance here... but not much.
I called upon chief constables and Police Authorities, as they were then, to take the same radical approach to cutting targets and bureaucracy.
Because targets don’t fight crime, they hinder the fight against crime.
We will be talking more about targets and things as time goes by. In the meantime, you might be interested in an earlier blog based upon my article of 2003 where I had a rant against targets then. I wonder what Ms May thought of targets then?