I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer, and of course we all welcome this reform and the opportunity for front-line officers to prioritise and concentrate on emergencies, rather than on less important incidents. Does he agree that other reforms, such as the democratisation of our police forces with police and crime commissioners, may need to go further to limit the policy-driven Association of Chief Police Officers, which is unelected, undemocratic and, in some cases, does not provide the leadership needed by officers on the front line?
We are committed to setting up a professional body for policing and to ensuring proper accountability in policing. The non-emergency number is just part of our reforms to ensure that the public have better access to the police and can hold them to account, and the link between the police and the public will be strengthened.
Last year Lancashire police announced the closure of Lytham police station in my constituency. Does the Minister agree that the 101 number will not only make it easier for my constituents to get hold of the police, but free up police resources in order to get them on the front line serving my constituents?
Yes, I agree. It is important that we make available through new technology and better systems different ways of getting hold of the police. Another example is our street-level crime mapping service, to which the Home Secretary referred. It has received more than 450 million hits, or about 45 million visits, since it was launched, and it gives the public information about their local policing teams and how to contact them.