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.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

So this British Bill of Rights... the cost?

As you might expect, I have very deep misgivings about abandoning our foundational involvement in the European Convention on Human Rights (which we led the formation of, back in the 1950s). Nonetheless, our government has been elected to fulfil its promise to:
scrap the Human Rights Act and curtail the role of the European Court of Human Rights, so that foreign criminals can be more easily deported from Britain. (Conservative Manifesto 2015)
I am not going to go into the arguments for and against this proposal, there are people far more qualified than me to put those arguments forward (such as Liberty and Amnesty International)

But... remember when the Human Rights Act came in and every police officer and staff member went through training on it? As did people involved in mental health services, prison & probation services, social services etc etc etc....

So if a new 'British Bill of Rights' is established: how much is it going to cost to bring everyone up to speed on it? Are all public service officials going to be attending training in how to adjust their professional practice in the light of the new laws? And if people say, it won't be that different to the ECHR/HRA rights, then what's the bloomin' point in changing things in the first place?

Have these costs been factored in, Mr Gove? 

Monday, May 25, 2015

No crying wolf here....

I know, it has been more or less radio silence on these pages for a few months. I have been pursuing other ventures involving local politics and such like. The issue of policing & justice, of course, while not much mentioned during the general election, is never far from anyone's minds... With a 'continuity' Home Secretary at the helm, we can expect more of the same, it would appear.

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.

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.
and later she went onto say:
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 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.
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.

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?