Police should investigate every crime, says ex-Met boss Lord Stevens in call for more 'bobbies on the beat'

In long-awaited report, Lord Stevens calls for a radical overhaul of the way forces operate

Whitehall Editor

Britain’s police forces have retreated into a “discredited, narrow and reactive” response to crime that is failing local communities, the former head of Scotland Yard will caution this week.

Lord Stevens will give a warning that police forces have presided over a collapse in “bobbies on the beat” as they reduce staff numbers in the wake of government cuts, and will call for communities to be given a guaranteed minimum level of policing.

Lord Stevens, who was head of the Met from 2000 to 2005, has been leading an independent commission into the future of policing set up by the Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper two years ago. The commission, which will report tomorrow, is to recommend a radical overhaul of the traditional “responsive” policing model.

“The police are not simply crime fighters,” the report says. “Their civic purpose is focused on improving safety and well-being within communities and promoting measures to prevent crime, harm and disorder. 

“The Commission recommends that the social purpose of the police should be enshrined in law. This will help to bring much-needed consensus to the question of what we expect the police to do.”

Among its recommendations are:

* A request to the police for assistance or reporting a crime will be met by a mandatory commitment to a specific response time.

* All reported crime will be investigated, or an explanation given of why it is not possible to do so.

* Victims are to be regularly updated, by right, on the progress of an investigation.

“The protection of neighbourhood policing demands that the legislated national purpose is backed up with a set of national minimum standards of police service which everyone should be entitled to receive, and which local police forces and those who call them to account must deliver,” the report will say.

Labour is expected to endorse the findings and will confirm that it will not abolish the Police Commissioners set up by the coalition. The party has also released figures showing the loss of more than 10,000 police officers from the frontline since 2010.

The report is understood to suggest that significant savings could be made by forces sharing procurement, IT, and other functions, to pay for new front line policing.

These are likely to be controversial as they will again call into question the purpose of having 43 separate forces – with many functions unnecessarily replicated. But successive governments have failed to rationalise policing structures.

“This is about having very strong local policing while merging functions which can best be done at a national level,” said one source close to the commission.

“We are well aware of the need to change the police within existing budgets, but we do believe there are savings that can be made which will allow us to restore neighbourhood policing, which has been disappearing at an alarming rate.”

Chaired by Lord Stevens, the members of the commission included the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, Lord Carlile, the former heads of Europol and Interpol, and the former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2014:
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Life and Style
fashion
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there