This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Rusticated crime policy

A few days ago, I blogged about the new definition of 'Rural Crime' now being used in Thames Valley which has been derived in response to the PCC's focus on the matter. In response, I was asked by James Ingham (BBC reporter for BBC South etc.):
Do you think the very idea of focusing on rural crime is wrong or just way they're doing it?
It was a good question. Here is how I responded:
Good Q. 
1) In essence I think that scarce police resources should be deployed proportionately to harm/risk of harm
2) Except democratic legitimacy requires a small degree of disproportionality in favour of areas of low risk but high interest
3) But 'keeping the balance' between rural & urban crime was a manifesto promise. Promises should be kept, naturally
4) Prioritising rural crime when trend is going down is, I would argue, breaking that promise.
5) And on top of this my hunch is that current definition of 'rural' crime is not what people thought they were voting for...
Sorry for long answer but, as I say, good Q & it's complicated!
James then tweeted back:
Do u think others share ur concerns? Should imagine people in towns like Reading, Aylesbury, Slough, not that impressed?
To which I said:
Possibly so - you may wish to inquire... Scarce resource deployment is THE critical issue for this new governance model imo
It would appear we could have
  • The Thames Valley PCC failing to follow his manifesto commitment ("to maintain the balance between urban and rural policing") by giving more priority to rural crime (to "tackle rural crime through intelligence, enforcement and prevention" as part of his "Priority 1")
  • A policy which could result in fewer resources going to areas of higher crime with consequences to the lives of people there.
  • A very disgruntled electorate who thought they were voting to maintain a focus on crime in rural areas but in fact may well be getting a greater focus on thefts (etc.) from only agricultural properties
What does the Police & Crime Panel think of that?

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