One year on from the inaugural Police and Crime Commissioner elections, Policy Exchange has published a collection of essays by a cross-party group of PCCs sharing their perspectives on their first year in office, highlighting the key initiatives they are leading, outlining the challenges and opportunities facing policing, and describing how their new leadership can help the service to succeed.
The election of the first 41 PCCs last November presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the balance of power in a criminal justice system currently almost bereft of local control, financial responsibility or democratic accountability. Power Down sets forth a series of responsibilities that should gradually be devolved to PCCs and recommends that 10 existing PCCs volunteer to pilot these new responsibilities on an accelerated timeframe.
Future Prisons calls for the government to shut more than 30 run-down and poorly-located prisons and replace them with 12 state of the art ‘Hub Prisons’, containing up to 3,000 inmates. The new prisons would lead to huge costs savings, a reduction in reoffending rates and a better quality of life for prisoners and prison staff.
Rebooting the PC urges police chiefs not to put ‘buildings before bobbies’. The police could save money and offer a better service to the public by closing out of date police stations and opening more local police offices in shopping centres and other popular public locations.
Expanding Payment-by-Results argues that plans to privatise the probation service, underpinned by a ‘payment-by-results’ mechanism, will only work if the prisons system is wrapped into the reforms and prison governors are directly incentivised to cooperate with the new private and voluntary providers who are due to take over probation services.
In the Public Interest explores the role and responsibility of the Crown Prosecution Service. It says the prosecution service should retain its powers but calls for more transparency and accountability when it comes to measuring the organisation’s successes and failures.
Policing 2020 looks at the landscape of policing over the next ten years, calling for a return to Sir Robert Peel’s core principles of crime prevention by restoring the link between the public and the police. The report recommends replacing neighbourhood police officers with new Crime Prevention Officers and the establishment of Citizen Police Academies.
Future of Corrections shows that the current system of tagging is in desperate need of reform. A more effective use of tagging, where police and probation officers are directly involved in keeping track of offenders and recommending to prison governors and the courts which criminals should be tagged, could save hundreds of millions of pounds and help the Coalition achieve its goal of stabilising the prison population by 2015.
New analysis by Policy Exchange shows that there is widespread and inconsistent use of out-of-court disposals such as cautions and penalty notices. Proceed with Caution also finds that some serious offenders are escaping justice by avoiding prosecution or because many simply do not pay a penalty notice.
Police Officer Pensions: Affordability of current schemes reveals that the cost of police officer pensions has increased markedly over the past 15 years from under £1 billion in 1995/6 to £2.5 billion in 2009/10 and recommends the development of a New Model Police Pension scheme that is more affordable for officers and taxpayers alike.