Theresa May axes police performance targets

Police across England and Wales were told today that they must not chase performance targets any longer.

Home Secretary Theresa May announced the immediate abolition of the last remaining target, which was to increase public confidence in police.

She told senior officers gathered in Manchester that their role is simply to "cut crime".

Speaking at the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) conference, she said targets hinder the fight against crime.

Mrs May also axed the Policing Pledge, a 2008 New Labour innovation outlining the standards people can expect from their force.

She said: "I can also announce today that I am also scrapping the confidence target and the policing pledge with immediate effect.

"I know that some officers like the policing pledge, and some, I'm sure, like the comfort of knowing they've ticked boxes.

"But 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."

Mrs May warned that removing centrally-driven targets should not encourage chief constables to create new bureaucracy of their own.

She added: "When times are tight, when we are removing red tape imposed by the Home Office, it simply cannot be right that this bureaucracy is reinstated at a local level.

"Nor can it be right for remaining paperwork to be gold-plated by forces.

"So I call on all of you, chief constables and police authority members alike, to take the same, radical approach to cutting bureaucracy as we are taking in Whitehall."

The previous Government announced all forces must meet a single target of increasing public confidence in March last year.

The target was part of the policing pledge detailing what the public should expect from the police at both national and local level.

It included minimum standards for response times, the publication of crime maps and changes to police authorities.

In a wide-ranging speech, Mrs May urged senior officers to back changes to renove the "top down" culture of policing.

The Home Secretary underlined the dire economic circumstances and said officials will be "ruthless" at cutting waste.

She warned the "big" cuts will be "tough to achieve" and will fall on police as on other public services.

But Mrs May said she does not agree with comments by senior officers that forces must shrink and frontline numbers fall.

She said: "But these practical measures can only go so far, and together we have to make sure that - despite the cuts - policing must remain visible and available to the public.

"So we are going to have to make sure that every penny of your budgets is spent in the most useful possible way."

Mrs May added: "I am determined that frontline availability should increase even as budgets contract.

"I acknowledge that increasing the visibility and productivity of officers, PCSOs and other staff is a major challenge.

"But I firmly believe that it is a challenge that chief constables can - and must - meet."

Delegates heard that police officers and staff must be ready to "make sacrifices" and "accept pay restraint".

Mrs May criticised "institutionalised" overtime and said managers must examine opportunities to save cash by working together.

She said the Government is considering co-ordinating the procurement of items such as vehicles, uniforms and IT nationally.

Mrs May said forces must also look more closely at opportunities to outsource work other than human resources and finance.

But she said mergers will only be permitted between forces which volunteer and when they have the support of their residents.

It emerged that Acpo is drawing up a "national plan" examining how police forces buy goods and organise their resources.

Mrs May said accepting a new type of accountability through a directly elected individual was the price of ditching targets.

She said the new administration wanted police to answer to the people they served, not bureaucrats in Whitehall.

The Home Secretary said the independence of police to make operational decisions would not be compromised.

Mrs May said detailed proposals on how the new system would work would be unveiled "later this summer" and new legislation introduced.

She said senior politicians did not want to waste time as they created a "totally redrawn national policing landscape".

And that although "times might be tough" there was no reason for politicians to "check our ambition".

She added: "Some of you will no doubt argue that this timetable is too ambitious.

"Some have suggested that what we should do is set up a Royal Commission to think about these matters for a couple of years.

"Frankly, these issues are too important to be put on the back burner.

"In this age of spending cuts and policing on a budget, our programme of police reform becomes more urgent, not less. So we will get on with the job."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot