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Monday, December 11, 2006

24/7 Policing

24/7 Policing is in and out of the news on a regular basis.

There's an interesting programme on telly tonight featuring snippets from the Police Federation report 24/7 Response Policing in the Modern Police organisation – Views from the Frontline on Tonight with Trevor McDonald at 8pm on Monday 11th December on ITV.

The programme is titled Stretching The Thin Blue Line the programme synopsis reads:

Police numbers are at record levels according to MPs - but where are they when we need them most? Tonight investigates mounting concern about response times to 999 calls.

The Police Federation have issued the following press release:

New report warns Government of dangers of overlooking emergency policing

With record numbers of police officers you would be forgiven for thinking that dialling 999 would warrant a quick response.

A report commissioned and published by the Police Federation of England and Wales shows the shocking reality of the effects of government reforms on 24/7 policing today with many response teams understaffed, overworked, chasing targets rather than criminals and sinking in bureaucracy.

The disturbing findings of the new report ‘24/7 Response Policing in the Modern Police organisation – Views from the Frontline’ will be exclusively revealed on the ‘Tonight with Trevor McDonald’ programme being broadcast at 8pm on Monday 11th December.

The programme will focus on the key findings of the report which provide a clear insight into the pressures being faced by emergency response teams and the dangers this is inevitably placing on what is arguably the most important area of policing.

Emergency response teams from fifteen police forces took part in focus groups and revealed recurring resource issues in rural and urban regions alike. These include:

  • There is regularly only 50% of staff available at the start of the shift, so the department is only at half capacity before they get started and this inevitably depletes further as the shift continues.
  • Experienced officers are often ‘abstracted to specialist teams leaving the riskiest situations to be dealt with and managed by the least experienced, least trained and least resourced teams.
  • Ill-conceived government targets are adding further pressure to over-stretched resources and are resulting in lesser crimes being prioritised over more serious crimes in order to ‘tick ‘ the right boxes in as short a time as possible.
  • Crown Prosecution Service officials in police stations are placing an unnecessary burden on police officers by adding to the bureaucracy. They have their own targets and procedures to meet about cases going forward to court for prosecution, often placing greater burden on officers and in some cases duplicating investigative procedures.
  • The centralisation of custody suites is resulting in officers losing further amounts of time away from the frontline, as they often have to travel further with prisoners or wait in long queues to process prisoners
  • Pressures on call centres to clear calls to meet government targets often results in regarding calls which can place greater pressure on already overloaded frontline officers


Jan Berry, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales said:
“Some people will only dial 999 once in their life and when they do so they should get an urgent response if needed. Whilst the Police Federation entirely supports the rollout of neighbourhood policing teams the government failed to properly assess the impact this would have on response policing. Added to this the culture they are promoting of chasing targets rather than chasing criminals and it paints a bleak picture of 24/7 policing in England and Wales. For the sake of the safety of police officers and the public the government and chief officers must ensure that we always maintain sufficient 24/7 emergency response policing teams to deal with the ever increasing amount of 999 calls, as well as being prepared and ready for any unexpected incident that may arise. It’s what the service wants and what the public rightly expect.”

Click 24/7 Response Policing in the Modern Police organisation – Views from the Frontline for a copy of the report.

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