Police force 'league table' plans would 'be damaging and fail'

22 April 2021, 19:58

The Police Federation&squot;s chairman voiced fears about the impact of a reported "league table" ranking for forces
The Police Federation's chairman voiced fears about the impact of a reported "league table" ranking for forces. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

Reported plans for a "league table" system ranking police forces will "fail" and prove "damaging" if implemented, the Government has been warned.

Police Federation chairman John Apter urged ministers to "stop and think" over the plans, which The Times said would see services ranked on six crime types.

These include homicide, violence and cybercrime – but Mr Apter warned it would see forces focusing on Whitehall targets over local issues.

He said: "Scrutiny and accountability are already a large part of policing, so these proposals for league tables would risk a return to a very damaging and target-driven culture.

"Mechanisms for holding individuals and forces to account are in place, and we are already amongst the most scrutinised professionals in the world."

He added: "These league tables would also restrict the ability of forces to focus on local issues, because Chief Officers would be chasing targets which were judged on criteria set in Whitehall. If, despite these warnings, this is pursued it will fail, and it will be damaging."

Read more: Man who hit police officer with pole in 'terrifying' attack jailed

The Government was asked to rethink plans for a force league table
The Government was asked to rethink plans for a force league table. Picture: PA

The Home Office has insisted the plan does not represent a return to numerical targets for each force and figures will be drawn from Office for National Statistics data.

Force-level data will not be published, and instead Police and Crime Commissioners will report to the public on how their service is performing.

Mr Apter said: "My message to Government would be to stop and think before returning to the mistakes of their predecessors.

Read more: UK police officer who sent 'grossly offensive' George Floyd meme acquitted

"Reintroducing targets in policing would be a damaging and retrograde step.

"In previous years when they have been used we have seen forces focus on targets to the exclusion of other issues. This is not good for the public and certainly no good for the victims of crime."

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The public expects the Government to work with the police to cut crime and keep them safe."

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