Theresa May claims that Coalition Government has â€œproved critics wrongâ€ and that reform programme has improved policing.
Theresa May (pictured) has said that in the face of significant criticism from the Police Federation, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Labour Party, the current government has proved that â€œchange is possibleâ€ through its reform programme.
In a recent speech Mrs May reiterated that police reform is working and that crime continues to fall.
She said: â€œWhen I first launched my programme of police reform, many denied the need for change. When I announced that central government police budgets would be cut by 20 per cent in real terms over four years â€“ they said it couldnâ€™t be done.
â€œThe Police Federation, ACPO and the Labour Party were united: the frontline service would be ruined and crime would go shooting up. Labour called it â€œthe perfect stormâ€, the Police Federation said it would be â€œChristmas for criminalsâ€.
â€œBut in all these areas, we are delivering better value for money, more effectiveness and greater accountability. And we have proved â€“ against all the critics â€“ that change is possible.â€
Speaking at the Police IT Suppliers Summit Mrs May highlighted how police reforms have â€œcut excessive and unnecessary bureaucracyâ€ in addition to scrapping national targets in a bid to free up police time.
We have proved that most important of lessons â€“ this it is possible to deliver more for less
She added: â€œSo central government funding to the police has reduced by Â£1.2 billion over the Spending Review period even as crime has fallen by more than a fifth, according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales.
â€œAnd that isnâ€™t some abstract number, itâ€™s 962,000 fewer criminal damage incidents, 413,000 fewer violent incidents and 160,000 fewer domestic burglaries in England and Wales in the past year compared with 2010.
â€œBy getting rid of government imposed targets and unnecessary bureaucracy we have saved 4.5 million police hours â€“ the equivalent of 2,100 full-time officers. And Her Majestyâ€™s Inspectorate of Constabulary has shown that the proportion of officers on the frontline has risen from 89 per cent to 91 per cent.
â€œSo police reform is working: crime is falling, and we have proved that most important of lessons â€“ this it is possible to deliver more for less.â€
However, Steve Evans, Vice-Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said that the quality performance achieved in policing is down to the â€œsheer professionalismâ€ of the police officers that remain.
In an interview with PoliceOracle.com Mr Evans said: â€œThe improvement or performance that the Home Secretary refers to is in our view, down to the sheer professionalism of the police officers who still remain in post, rather than police reforms.
â€œOur officers have gone the extra mile despite the effects of the cuts.
â€œWhat needs to be considered is that the policing world is much more complex â€“ so even if a crime is going down in one area, each incident is more complex and takes more time because peopleâ€™s expectations of policing are higher.
â€œIn order to satisfy the high demand expected of us â€“ each crime is more complicated to follow up. The demand on officers is still rising.
â€œThere is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to get the very best out of the resources you have â€“ it is the definition of professionalism. But police numbers have a critical mass and it can get to a stage where the public will not get the service they need if there are not enough officers.â€
John Apter, Chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, said of the Home Secretaryâ€™s speech: â€œThe rhetoric that comes from the Home Office is typcial of a government who are out of touch with the reality of policing.
â€œI know that police officers have never felt so under-valued, unsupported and demoralised. If that is success then congratulations the government have succeeded.â€
From Police Oracle