A senior police officer has said that 15 years of chasing performance targets has created a “generation of bean counters” in the police.
‘(This) has created a generation of people who are great at counting beans but don’t always recognise that doing the right thing is the best thing for the public,’ Superintendent Irene Curtis told Police Federation Magazine.
Superintendent Irene Curtis said that performance targets were rooted in the culture of policing, despite the Home Secretary saying they should be scrapped.
Theresa May has repeatedly said that police should concentrate on “cutting crime”. But Supt Curtis said that the target culture could not be scrapped overnight.
The president-elect of the Superintendents’ Association told the latest edition of the Police Federation magazine Police: “Despite assurances from the current government about the removal of central targets there is still a really strong performance management culture in the service.
“(This) has created a generation of people who are great at counting beans but don’t always recognise that doing the right thing is the best thing for the public.”
In 2010, the Home Secretary told the Association of Chief Police Officers’ conference that she was getting rid of “centrally driven statistical performance targets” and the 2008 Policing Pledge, an initiative to restore public faith in the service.
She said: “Targets don’t fight crime. Targets hinder the fight against crime.
“In scrapping the confidence target and the policing pledge, I couldn’t be any clearer about your mission: it isn’t a 30-point plan; it is to cut crime. No more, and no less.”
Front-line police are said to be sceptical that their bosses will get rid of targets, saying it is “inbred” into bean-counting officers.
A serving inspector, who calls himself Inspector Gadget on a blog, said earlier this year that the plan to get rid of performance targets was a fantasy.
He said: “Two of the biggest lies peddled by politicians for the last two years are that ‘red tape has been swept away’ and that ‘we have scrapped all targets from policing’ and that forces should focus on crime reduction only.
“Every single serving police officer and member of staff knows this is utter fantasy.”
Police targets created ‘generation of bean counters’