Annual Report by Chief Inspector of Constabulary

Part of Policing and Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 12th April 2016.

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Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice 3:00 pm, 12th April 2016

Let me say from the outset that I recognise the importance of understanding the demand on police forces, which is exactly where the shadow Policing Minister is coming from. However, I do not see the need for new clause 10, as we are actually doing many of the things that the shadow Minister has asked for.

It is for a chief constable to assess the demands that their forces face and ensure that resources are allocated accordingly. The purpose of inspectors of constabulary is clearly set out in section 54(2) of the Police Act 1996. Their role is to inspect the “efficiency and effectiveness” of every force. Section 54(4) and section 54(4)(a) of the 1996 Act require the chief inspector of constabulary to prepare an annual report, and for that report to include his assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness of policing in England and Wales.

Reliable, independent information is crucial in understanding the demands on the police force. It is for this reason that the Home Secretary asked the inspectorate to introduce annual, all-force inspections, which has led to the development of the Police Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy—commonly called PEEL—programme. As part of the efficiency assessment, the inspectorate assesses how effectively each force understands and is responding to the demand that it faces. The inspectorate also works with forces to support them to better understand the demand that they face. There is work going on as we speak, including from the College of Policing, which I think everybody accepts has been a great success.

That includes the development of force management statements, which will be prepared with chief constables, and are intended to ensure that information on a force’s available resources and the demand they face is produced annually to an agreed standard—ensuring the same across all forces—and is accessible to chief constables, PCCs and, most importantly, the public. I accept that this is a work in progress, but it is in progress, and the police are doing it themselves with the inspectorate and the College of Policing so, respectfully, I do not see the need for new clause 10. I hope that the shadow Minister understands that.