Review of core tasks 'is not about cutting jobs'

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The Independent Online
THE GOVERNMENT is not carrying out a secret privatisation of the police service, Michael Howard said yesterday, writes David Connett.

The Home Secretary denied that a Home Office review of police 'core tasks' was about shedding large numbers of officers in order to save money.

The Police Federation fears that the review is an attempt to reduce the traditionally wide range of duties performed by officers by forcing them to concentrate on essential tasks. Services deemed 'non-essential' would be farmed out to private security firms and other social agencies.

The federation believes the good relationship between police and public will be undermined if officers are left only with responsibilities which bring them into confrontation with people.

Mr Howard, who received a polite welcome from the conference, said that the demand on police services was 'almost unlimited'.

The aim of the review was to free officers from unnecessary burdens. He claimed that unless priorities were set the quality of the services they provided would suffer.

'It is crucial that we keep the style and character of British policing - that we retain the human and humane face of policing,' the Home Secretary said.