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Police Officer Safety

Part of Community Pharmacies – in the House of Commons at 4:36 pm on 2nd November 2016.

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Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing and the Fire Service) 4:36 pm, 2nd November 2016

My right hon. Friend makes a very good point, which goes part of the way to answer an earlier point: it is important that we do not control policing centrally; we should resist the urge to centralise everything on the assumption that we know best. It is for local police forces and local chief constables to know their areas best and to look at what they need to do with their police forces for the benefit of their community and indeed their staff.

It is the responsibility of chief constables, as employers, to keep their workforce safe. In that aim, we fully support their making best use of new technology, wherever possible. Although it is an operational decision for chief officers, the use of body-worn video can be a powerful tool. As rightly outlined by the hon. Member for Hackney North and Stoke Newington—we do not often agree, but we agree on this—it can provide reassurance to both the police and indeed the public about the way in which both parties are working and acting.

In this vital task of keeping their workforce safe, chief constables are held to account by their democratically elected police and crime commissioners, and supported by the College of Policing, which sets the standards that the chief constables are charged with implementing. That is why I have written today to Chief Constable Sara Thornton, the chair of the National Police Chiefs Council, to encourage forces to adopt the new crime classification as soon as possible. In my letter, I have taken the opportunity to stress the importance that this Government place on police officer safety, as I did in my conversation with her earlier today.