(POP0074)

 

 

 

Written Evidence submitted by the Home Office (POP0074)

 

 

Summary

 

This Government’s policing priorities are to cut crime, make the safer streets the public deserve, and deliver justice and high-quality outcomes for victims.

 

When reading the Home Office’s response to the inquiry it is important to note that the crime that police are fighting is changing. We have outlined the nature of this change and how we are supporting the police system to adapt to growing areas of demand, while also continuing to fulfil essential local law enforcement functions and tackle offending. As set out below, we are taking action to ensure that police have the resources they need, through delivering extra capacity via the Police Uplift Programme; improving the quality of leadership; promoting consistent standards across the workforce; and investing over £350 million in 2022-23 to provide police with the tools and skills they need to meet the technological challenges of the future.

 

We work with the sector to set the strategic direction and provide oversight, setting clear priorities for policing. At the same time, we must maintain the operational independence of police and the model of local accountability. The Home Secretary’s Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR) sets out the national threats and corresponding national police capabilities which police leaders must have regard to. Our Beating Crime Plan (BCP) sets out our strategic approach to cutting homicide, serious violence and neighbourhood crime, and we have put in place national measures to focus the system against them. Our Serious and Organised Crime (SOC) improvements programme will support policing in tackling the threat posed by SOC to communities. The evidence also demonstrates how we hold the sector to account at a national level in delivering our key policing commitments through the National Policing Board and its sub-boards. It also highlights our whole system approach to crime. Crime is complex with a multitude of drivers. We have therefore brought together a wide range of departments to support our priorities in preventing crime.

 

Following a series of high-profile policing failures there has been a decline of public confidence in the service. The section ‘trust and confidence in policing’ outlines the actions underway within Government to improve community policing and to rebuild trust. We are taking measures to improve accountability and tackle disparities in response to the independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, as well as taking specific actions to improve trust amongst women and to focus on tackling Violence Against Women and Girls. A package of reforms has also been introduced to strengthen the police complaints and disciplinary systems, ensuring that officers are held to account when their behaviour falls below acceptable standards. Moreover, we have set out improvements we expect to see delivered by the new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

 

Finally, we have set out the work underway across the Criminal Justice System to improve public confidence in the system and criminal justice outcomes. This includes improved partnership working and a strengthened response to hidden harm crime types.

 

 

 

 

The Changing Nature of Crime

 

  1. Over the last three decades, crime has changed significantly. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), since peaking in the 1990s, crime has fallen significantly, largely driven by reductions in violence, vehicle crime and burglary.  Over the last decade, there have been three broad trends.  First, according to the CSEW overall crime excluding fraud and computer misuse has continued to fall: between 2009-10 and the pre-pandemic year 2019-20 overall crime in England and Wales fell by 41%[1]. Second, there has been an increase in police recorded offences for hidden crimes such as sexual violence and domestic abuse, due to improvements in police recording practices and increased reporting by victims. Third, the scale of fraud and computer misuse has become more apparent in CSEW figures. 

 

  1. Those trends have accelerated since the beginning of the pandemic. Following the restrictions introduced by the Government to tackle the spread of Covid-19, more traditional types of crime, such as burglary and vehicle crime fell significantly. Estimates from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) show that Neighbourhood Crime fell by 20% in the year ending June 2022 compared to the year ending December 2019[2]. Police recorded rape increased by 16% over the twelve months to June 2022[3], and now stands at its highest ever level. This increase is potentially as a result of wider events, such as the tragic murder of Sarah Everard and greater media coverage, resulting in an increased willingness to report incidents to the police. There have also been increases in people coming forward to report ‘hidden’ crimes, such as modern slavery and sexual offences - in the year to June 2022, police recorded modern slavery offences increased by 8%[4] and police recorded sexual offences increased by 20% compared to the year ending June 2021[5]. The period since the ending of national lockdowns has seen fraud return to pre-pandemic levels. Estimates from the CSEW show that there were 3.8 million fraud offences in the year ending June 2022 - a 4% increase but this was not statistically significant compared with the year ending March 2020 - and computer misuse offences decreased by 27% in the year ending June 2022 (to 641,000 offences), compared with the year ending March 2020[6].  However, most of this fall can be attributed to a 72% in “Computer virus” offences (a 72% fall from 360,000 to 102,000 offences).

 

  1. The leading measure of serious violence, hospital admissions for injuries caused by a sharp object for under 25-year-olds, showed a 21% reduction between year ending December 2019 and year ending July 2022 across England[7]. However, police recorded homicide in England and Wales rose by 13% in the year ending June 2022 compared to the year ending June 2021 (from 599 to 679 offences). While this increase is significant, the previous year covered periods where COVID-19 public health restrictions were in place, which led to a reduction in non-domestic homicides in that year. The number of homicides in the latest year was 4% lower than the pre-pandemic year ending December 2019 (when 707 homicides were recorded including 39 victims from the Grays Lorry tragedy). Violence with injury and without injury rose by 6% and 15% respectively between the year ending December 2019 and year ending June 2022 and now exceed levels seen before the pandemic[8]. These changes, together with those we have seen with regards to previously hidden harms, indicate that the police are dealing with a more complex caseload resulting in more difficult and more resource-intensive investigations.

 

  1. We are continuing to work with the policing system to support them to respond to these new and evolving crime trends and demands on their resources. We continue to share information to help them align their resources accordingly and provide direct, targeted support to those areas where we know that government intervention can make a crucial difference.

 

A modern police workforce with the right skills and technology

 

  1. We are taking action to ensure that police have the resources and tools they need to respond to the evolving profile of crime. We have committed to delivering extra capacity to better protect our communities through the Police Uplift Programme (PUP) which is supporting forces in the unprecedented recruitment of an additional 20,000 police officers by March 2023. As at 30 September 2022, 15,343 additional uplift officers have been recruited in England and Wales through the Police Uplift Programme, 77% of the target[9]. We have also strengthened our response to organised crime groups (OCGs) through PUP, increasing the capacity of Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUS) and equivalent capability in London forces[10] by almost 50% between April 2021 and March 2023[11].

 

  1. Policing needs an adaptive leadership cadre with flexibility of thought, high quality leadership skills, and the ability to build legitimacy across all communities. We have invested £1.1m in 2021-22 and a further £2.25m in 2022-23 for the College of Policing (the College) to create a National Leadership Centre which will develop standards and a leadership development framework at all ranks, supporting better talent management across policing.

 

  1. Consistent standards and professionalism across all forces are vital to ensure that the workforce can meet the challenge of changing crime demand and take a more proactive response to managing that demand. That is why the College has introduced the Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF), a standardised national training programme. The PEQF entry programmes ensure that initial police training is consistent and keeps pace with developments in crime, including combatting fraud and online crime, giving officers the tools they need to keep the public safe.

 

  1. Given that an estimated 90% of crimes now contain a digital element[12], policing must be equipped with the capabilities and skills to identify and respond to the challenges posed by continual technological change. We are investing in National Policing Capabilities and investing £350 million in Police Technology Programmes in 2022/23 to make sure police have the best technology and that officers have the right skills to support our objectives.

 

  1. Policing needs to be able to access relevant evidence to ensure the best investigative outcomes. More than ever before, crucial digital evidence may be held by a victim or a witness to a crime. That is why we have passed legislation on accessing digital information from victims through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act (the PCSC Act) to better balance the protection of privacy for individuals with the right to a fair trial. Through the £7m Digital Intelligence and Investigations Programme, frontline officers are provided with the skills needed to undertake digital investigations, and we have invested over £10m to improve police capabilities in examining and extracting victim's devices in adult rape investigations. We are also ensuring the quality of all forensic evidence by giving the Forensic Science Regulator statutory powers.

 

  1. We have also supported a new operating model for the NPCC, which will improve coordination, collaboration, and communication around the police response to national priorities. Similarly, we are working with ROCUs and the new national policing lead for SOC to transform the ROCU network. This will ensure stronger central coordination with a transparent accountability structure and clear remit; operationally and geographically balanced resources which align with the demand from the highest priority SOC threats; greater interoperability and connectivity, so the network can surge and flex resources in response to both local and regional priorities, supporting the National Crime Agency on national priorities. We are also working with policing's Chief Scientific Advisor to understand future threats and determine whether additional capabilities are needed to prevent, detect, and investigate crime.

 

Policing priorities

 

  1. The Government believes in local policing that is accountable to local communities. Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) (and those mayors who exercise PCC functions) are locally elected and democratically accountable leaders. They have a mandate to hold the Chief Constable to account, on behalf of the public, for the delivery and performance of their police service. PCCs produce Police and Crime Plans, which outline their strategic aims and objectives for policing and crime. Before issuing their plan, PCCs must consult with their local communities, key stakeholders and the force’s Chief Constable. These requirements ensure transparency for the public and other stakeholders on the activities of the PCC, and clear accountability to deliver on their priorities. The role of PCCs will be strengthened through the recommendations of the Home Office’s two-part PCC Review, which concluded in March 2021 and 2022 respectively. These recommendations aim to ensure that PCCs are strong, visible leaders in the fight against crime and have the legitimacy and tools to hold their police forces to account

 

  1. The police are operationally independent. It is for Chief Constables to make decisions about frontline policing and how resources are best deployed at a local level to fulfil the various functions they are responsible for. However, the public rightly expect that the police will pursue available opportunities to prevent and detect crime. We have been clear that we want to work with the sector to ensure that everyone has the security and confidence that comes from having a safe street and a safe home.

 

  1. The Policing Protocol sets out the role and relationships between Chief Constables, PCCs and the Home Secretary and seeks to protect the operational independence of the police[13]. Chief Constables have direction and control of the force's officers and staff. PCCs must not fetter the operational independence of the force and the Chief Constable who leads it, and Chief Constables have a duty to remain politically independent of their PCC. Under the Protocol, a Chief Constable must have regard to their PCC’s Police and Crime Plan and both the PCC and the Chief Constable must have regard to the Home Secretary's Strategic Policing Requirement when exercising and planning their policing functions. In recognition of how the policing landscape has evolved since 2012, we are consulting on refreshing the Protocol to provide a ‘brighter-line’ on the boundaries of operational independence, clarify respective roles and better reflect the role of the Home Secretary.

 

  1. The Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR), sets out what, in the Home Secretary’s view, are the national threats at the time the document is issued, and the appropriate national policing capabilities to counter those threats. The current SPR was last updated in 2015, adding Child Sexual Abuse as a new national threat alongside five other national threats that are: terrorism, SOC, a national cyber event, public disorder and civil emergencies. The then Home Secretary announced in March 2022 that violence against women and girls (VAWG) would be added to the SPR.

 

  1. The Home Office and Ministers provide strategic grip, governance, and oversight to ensure that the policing system has the powers, resources and tools to confront the complex and evolving crime picture we are grappling with. We have been clear on the strategic priorities for policing; to make our streets safer by driving down crime, putting more police on the streets and ensuring the swift delivery of justice.

 

  1. The Home Office set out clear priorities for policing in the Beating Crime Plan (BCP), published in July 2021. The BCP sets out our strategic approach to cutting homicide, serious violence and neighbourhood crime; exposing and ending hidden harms such as VAWG, child sexual abuse and modern slavery; and, building capability and capacity to deal with fraud, cyber and online crime. The approach balances the need for strong enforcement with a clear focus on deterrence and prevention. Policing has a central role in effective enforcement, and we know that swift and certain justice has a positive impact on preventing and reducing crime. But they are also critical to our wider prevention efforts playing a central role in multi-agency interventions as well as delivering specific policing approaches which contribute to crime reduction. This includes the visible deterrent approach of ‘hotspot policing’, their central role in local multi-agency partnerships, and the evidence driven ‘problem-oriented policing’ approach which focuses on addressing the causes of crime and has been shown to reduce crime and disorder.
  2. To focus the system on our national crime priorities we have developed directional, national measures for policing to reduce key crime types (the National Crime and Policing Measures). These measures provide collective responsibility to deliver real improvement. Accountability is driven through data-led Ministerial governance and supported by the new Digital Crime and Performance Pack which allows internal discussions on progress against these measures. High-harm, under-reported crimes are covered under two parallel cross-system measures: Criminal Justice System (CJS) outcomes for rape cases and tackling Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.
  3. At a national level, we have established the National Policing Board (NPB) to focus accountability and system grip across the policing system. Chaired by the Home Secretary, the NPB has acted as an effective forum to hold the sector to account in delivering our key policing commitments. Its sub-boards are focussed on strategic change and investment, the Police Covenant, PUP, and crime and policing performance – the latter providing a forum for detailed scrutiny of the national crime and policing measures.

 

  1. On the frontline, we have equipped police with the powers they need to meet our priority to cut crime and create safer communities through the PCSC Act. The Act delivered tougher sentencing laws to keep serious sexual and violent offenders behind bars for longer. We have also introduced the Public Order Bill which will improve the police’s ability to deal with disruptive protests and unauthorised encampments.

 

  1. We are strengthening how police forces tackle SOC through our SOC improvement programme. This includes improving how we scrutinise the effectiveness of forces at tackling the SOC threat by putting in place clearer lines of accountability through the appointment of a full time SOC policing lead and the introduction of a new His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS) SOC inspection regime.

 

  1. We recognise that the current police funding formula is out of date and no longer accurately reflects demand on policing. The Government committed to reviewing the police funding formula before the next general election with the aim of introducing a new formula that fairly and transparently distributes annual core grant funding across the 43 police forces in England and Wales. The Police Funding Formula Review is underway and includes an evidence-based assessment of policing demand (crime and non-crime) and the relative impact of local factors on forces ability to address demand (e.g., area cost and sparsity).

 

  1. We want to see all police forces operating effectively and efficiently so that they can continue to meet national and local priorities. HMICFRS plays a key role in providing the information the public needs on their force’s performance and to provide PCCs (and equivalent local policing bodies) with the information they need to hold their police force to account. HMICFRS has recently refreshed its PEEL inspection regime, which is shining a brighter light on areas of police practice that require improvement as a means to better focus on the need for continuous improvement. The new approach directly assesses forces against eight key areas and expanded the grading system from four to five to draw a distinction between adequate and good, better highlighting where a force is genuinely doing well and where it needs to               improve. HMICFRS has identified six forces where significant and persistent performance concerns have yet to be addressed effectively and has escalated these forces to its enhanced monitoring programme known as ‘engage’. Forces in ‘engage’ are supported by the Policing Performance Oversight Group (PPOG), which meets regularly, bringing together senior policing leaders to scrutinise, constructively challenge and/or support the Chief Constable’s improvement process, monitoring the delivery of outcomes against the Chief’s improvement plan where HMICFRS has identified a serious or enduring risk. We expect the system to work together to make sure genuine and sustainable improvement is delivered as quickly as possible in the ‘engaged’ forces.

 

A Whole System Approach

 

  1. Crime is a complex issue with a multitude of drivers. To truly cut crime and deliver safer streets, we recognise the need for a whole system approach.

 

 

    1. The Home Office is supporting forces to create a whole system approach to tackling organised crime. This includes recruiting ‘SOC community coordinators’ into every ROCU to support forces to tackle and take a sustainable approach to reducing OCG activity in the highest harm areas. We also fund the Tackling Organised Exploitation Programme, which brings together intelligence, data and analytics in a ground-breaking model that uncovers ‘hidden’ offending on complex, high harm organised exploitation including child sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation, fraud, modern slavery, and human trafficking

 

    1. We are also developing and delivering a wider range of interventions, in partnership with policing, by combining evidence on the key drivers of crime and data on the concentration of crime. We invested £170m into Violence Reduction Units (VRUs), which bring together local partners to deliver a range of early intervention and prevention programmes. Additionally, we are funding the ‘Grip’ programme, which supports the police to take targeted action in areas at the greatest risk of serious violence. These two programmes have prevented an estimated 49,000 violent offences in their first two years of activity[14]. Moreover, our ten-year strategy to combat illicit drug use (From Harm to Hope[15]), underpinned by £900 million of additional funding, aims to combat drug misuse at every stage, through tough enforcement coupled with treatment and recovery systems.

 

    1. We recognise that policing must balance various priorities and seek to support them where we best can. For example, police are facing pressures as a result of their duty to protect life, which relates to non-crime incidents such as mental health, missing persons and safeguarding related incidents. The Home Office continues to work closely with the National Police Chiefs Council Mental Health Lead, officials in the Department for Health and Social Care, NHS England and other health partners to address particular pressure points in demand on police, relating to non-crime mental health related incidents. The Government’s recent investment of £150 million to improve mental health services and facilities, including £7 million for mental health ambulances, will reduce policing pressures on non-crime related mental health incidents.  

 

    1.                            The Government is taking action to improve victims’ experience within the Criminal Justice System to ensure victims feel confident reporting crimes. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has published a draft Victims Bill which, once its provisions take effect, will amplify victims’ voices and entitlements, improve support for victims and strengthen oversight of police forces and other agencies in the support they provide to victims. The Home Office is working closely with the MoJ, police and PCCs to prepare for these important reforms. In 2023, we will launch a major new survey of victims’ satisfaction with the police. This survey will provide robust, consistent data across all police force areas in England and Wales, driving improvements in victim engagement and increasing transparency. The government is seeking to maximise Crown Court capacity to make sure we reduce the time rape victims spend waiting for justice. We are also investing over £140 million to support victims through the Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan and investing £6.65 million into Operation Soteria (2021-23) to develop a new national operating model for the investigation of rape which is focused on the suspect, not the victim. Additionally, the Home Office, working with the MoJ, have expanded the role of PCCs to include commissioning services to support victims and witnesses.

 

    1. We are increasing transparency of the System, at a local and national level, in the CJS Delivery Data Dashboards, for all crime and recorded adult rape offences. Introduced in March (2022) at a local level, the Dashboards bring together data from across the system in one place – starting at the point from which a crime is recorded by the police up to the completion of a case in court. The Dashboard enables the public to understand how their local area is performing, increases our understanding of CJS performance, and supports collaboration and improvements across the system.

 

Trust and confidence in policing

 

  1. The police’s ability to fulfil its duties is dependent on its capacity to secure and maintain public trust and support for their actions. Confidence in local policing in most recent figures (2019/20) is relatively high (74%)[16] and similar to 2012. The latest available data shows an overall decline in confidence with local policing between 2018-20 (75% women and 74% men in 2019/20 compared to a peak of 79% women and 78% men in 2017/18)[17]. There is further variation between different ethnic minority groups, with black people having lower than average rates of overall confidence in police at 64% compared with an average of 74%[18]. We also recognise that there has been a perceived deterioration of public confidence in the police in light of recent cases in policing.

 

  1. Significant progress has been made in policing over the past two decades since the Macpherson Report was published. Our police are now more diverse than ever before, with 11,477 ethnic minority officers (excluding white minorities) across England and Wales as of 30 September 2022[19]. Police forces have also worked hard to improve community engagement and we have seen major improvements in the way the police deal with racially motivated crimes. [20] But we know there is more to do.

 

  1. That is why the Government’s response to the independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED), Inclusive Britain, sets out over 70 additional actions to level up the country and to close outcome gaps between different groups. As part of the Inclusive Britain response, the Home Office, with policing partners, will deliver a series of measures to improve accountability and tackle disparities. This includes developing a framework for local scrutiny of the use of police powers, including stop and search and the use of force and taser, by Summer 2023. The framework will align best practice and guide forces to develop effective community engagement within their local force area, in order to demonstrate tangible improvements in trust and confidence between the police and the communities they serve.

 

  1. We are also taking action in light of evidence that suggests trust in the police, particularly among women, has declined since the murder of Sarah Everard in March 2021[21]. The Angiolini Inquiry was established in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder and HMICFRS has been commissioned to review vetting and counter-corruption arrangements in forces, looking at how misogynistic behaviour is identified and tackled. We have driven strong action across government and policing to work together to build back trust in policing in light of recent events across all communities. Through the NPB, the Home Secretary brings partners together to provide strategic direction and strong national grip over law enforcement VAWG, diversity, and confidence and trust in policing have been at the centre of recent agendas.

 

  1. We are working closely with the police service to ensure that they are supported in our commitment to eradicating VAWG. In July 2021, we published the cross-Government Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy[22]. This was followed by a complementary Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan[23] in March 2022. This work builds on previous activity to improve public and victim confidence in policing’s ability to respond to child sexual abuse and exploitation, in the wake of the Savile and Rotherham scandals. Our Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy, published in January 2021 sets out our whole of system approach to tackling this crime and includes a firm commitment to ensuring victims and survivors are always placed at the centre of our work.

 

  1. In the 2021/22 financial year, the Government invested £5 million in the Safety of Women at Night Fund, which supported the rollout of initiatives to improve the safety of women in public spaces at night, including in the night-time economy. 22 projects were funded which delivered a wide variety of crime prevention initiatives, including preventative policing to identify vulnerable individuals and potential perpetrators.

 

  1. Since the Safer Streets Fund launched in 2020, the Government has invested £120 million through four rounds, and an additional £5 million through the Safety of Women at Night Fund, supporting over 250 projects across high-crime areas in England and Wales. Interim findings and case studies from the independent evaluation of Round One of the Safer Streets Fund, with the final report expected to be published in due course, indicate funding has had a positive impact on local communities trust and confidence in the police.

 

  1. We are also supporting the police’s response to domestic abuse. In July 2022, the Home Office published Domestic Abuse Statutory Guidance, to accompany the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and support with the implementation of the wide-ranging statutory definition of domestic abuse, which incorporates a range of abuses beyond physical violence, including coercive or controlling behaviour, emotional and economic abuse. The Statutory Guidance sets out information on best practice multiagency working and is aimed at both statutory and non-statutory bodies working with victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse.

 

  1. Transparency is a key component in improving public trust and confidence, and the core UK policing tradition of policing by consent. That is why the Government is investing £14m this year to further develop the 'Single Online Home' for policing, a national web-based platform that effectively functions as a digital front counter which gives the public access to a range of policing services online as well as transparency data. It is also why the Government has worked with policing to publish more data, such as the new 999 league tables published in spring.

 

  1. The sector is doing valuable work to improve public trust in the police service. The National Police Chiefs Council and the College have co-developed a new ‘Race Action Plan’ which outlines a series of measures to improve policing and secure the confidence of black people, both within policing and the public. A review of the Code of Ethics is being conducted by the College, which will see a clear set of policing principles developed to provide a strong and ethical framework for professional decision making and guidance on professional behaviour. 

 

  1. The majority of police officers uphold the standards of professionalism and are dedicated to serving their communities. Where officers seriously breach those standards, they must be held accountable. In 2020, the Government introduced a package of reforms that strengthened the police complaints and disciplinary systems, including a new statutory duty of co-operation for police officers, where they are a witness to an investigation, inquiry or other formal proceedings. These reforms also increased the Independent Office for Police Conduct’s (IOPC) effectiveness by introducing new powers enabling the IOPC to present at a misconduct hearing, where it has investigated a case or where the force has undertaken an investigation directed by the IOPC in certain circumstances. These reforms received positive comment in the Committee’s recent report on Police Conduct and Complaints, particularly welcoming the reforms that ensure the delays to investigations are minimised’. The Home Office is also working closely with the College on their Code of Ethics review. This includes careful consideration on how to ensure that the Code has the necessary impact on officers, and how it can provide confidence to the public regarding officer behaviour.

 

  1. Arrangements for the IOPC review are currently underway, including identifying an independent reviewer. The review is expected to look at the IOPCs effectiveness and fitness for purpose. Further details will be provided in due course. Lastly, part 2 of the Angiolini Inquiry is expected to consider wider policing matters, such as professional standards. The Home Office will consider its findings in due course.

 

The Metropolitan Police and the role of the Commissioner

 

  1. There have been several high-profile incidents that have affected public trust and confidence in the Metropolitan Police. The IOPC is investigating recent strip searches of children, referred from the Met, including the case of Child Q. The IOPC has also announced it will be re-investigating the way the Met initially handled the deaths of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor.

 

  1. The Met was placed into ‘engage’ by HMICFRS on 28 June 2022, and the new Commissioner presented the first iteration of his detailed improvement plan to PPOG on 13 October 2022. This forum, made up of system leaders, will provide the Commissioner and force with expert advice and support where needed so that Londoners and those who visit our capital city see urgent improvements and get the service they deserve from the MPS.

 

  1. We expect to see improvements. We have been clear that Sir Mark Rowley must focus on restoring confidence in policing, delivering the aims set out in the BCP, and getting the basics right. Recent high-profile cases related to the force have raised concerns around serious cultural issues. Baroness Louise Casey is leading a review of the Met’s culture and standards which will produce recommendations for improvement. Its interim findings, published on 17 October, raised worrying issues about how the Met operates within the existing misconduct framework. The findings also suggest regulatory change. The Home Office has since announced a targeted, internal review into police dismissals, to ensure the system is fair and effective at removing those who have no place in policing. Operation Hotton, an IOPC learning report published in February 2022, also provided wide-ranging recommendations to change policing practice after nine linked investigations found evidence of bullying and discrimination within the ranks of the MPS.


Successful Criminal Justice outcomes and national conviction rates

 

  1. The Government is working across the Criminal Justice System (CJS) to improve public confidence in the system as a whole. Whether an individual is convicted is a matter for the judiciary in the magistrates’ court or the jury in the Crown Court. The agencies within the CJS are responsible however, for ensuring that the most robust prosecution cases are presented for the judiciary/jury in order to assist them to come to their decision. It is important that all evidence in a case is heard, including that of the defence, to ensure the right outcome is reached for the victim and the defendant. 

 

  1. In order to reach this point, the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will work closely together to assess whether it is appropriate to charge a suspect, based on the evidence available, and whether it is in the public interest to charge an individual or if other outcomes, such as out of court disposals, might better serve the interests of victims and wider society.

 

  1. The likelihood of a crime resulting in a charge can vary for a number of reasons. There is a current upward trend in police recorded crime. The Office for National Statistics recently pointed to improvements in recording processes and practices by forces, expanded offence coverage and an increased willingness of victims to come forward and report certain crimes to the police as factors contributing to this trend.

 

  1. We continue to work with partners across the CJS to improve criminal justice outcomes. This includes understanding how we can reverse the decline in the proportion of recorded crimes which result in a police charge and criminal prosecution, and reducing the time taken to achieve this. We continue to work closely with the NPCC to improve use of other outcomes beyond charges – for example, out of court disposals, using the new framework provided for in the PCSC Act. We will continue to work with partners to better understand what a ‘positive’ outcome looks like for individual victims, and what this means for the wider CJS. In the meantime, we will support policing partners in their joint initiatives with the CPS such as enhanced case progression; improvements in disclosure practices; refinements to charging arrangements; and, improvised ways of working following innovations identified during the pandemic.

 

  1. Improved partnership working such as the CJS Delivery Data Dashboards provides a new level of transparency, but also enables PCCs to collaborate closely with local partners to drive improvements. We continue to support the NPCC and CPS to improve case progression between agencies through reducing blockages, streamlining processes, and improving communications.

 

  1. We know that there is more to do to strengthen the CJS response to hidden harm crime types. We are strengthening the regime for managing registered sex offenders and those who pose a risk through the PCSC Act, which includes several measures to reduce the risk of harm posed by sex offenders.

 

  1. An independent review into the police management of registered sex offenders in the community will look at how the police use their current capabilities to manage the risk posed by registered sex offenders and whether the regime could be strengthened. It will deliver recommendations on what needs to be done across the policing and law enforcement landscape.

 

  1. Through the End-to-End Rape Review Report and Action Plan we are delivering real improvements through transforming support for adult victims of rape, ensuring that cases are investigated fully and pursued rigorously through the courts. Since January 2021 when the Joint National Action Plan (JNAP) was first launched we have seen a 53% increase in adult rape referrals (this includes referrals for early advice or for a charging decision) from the police to the CPS and an increase of 58% in charge volumes for adult rape[24]. On 20 October the police and CPS published an update on the JNAP which set out actions they have taken and will be taking to improve the investigation and prosecution of rape. We will continue to use our cross-system governance structures to drive this change and take further actions where necessary.

 

  1. The Home Office has to date funded a system which allows the courts to automatically notify the police of new FGM Protection Orders and Forced Marriage Protection Orders as soon as they are issued. In January 2020 new stalking protection orders (SPOs) were introduced, allowing the police to apply to magistrates’ courts for the issuing of orders which place restrictions and/or requirements on stalkers, to curb their behaviour. A review into SPOs was carried out by the Home Office in 2021 which made a series of recommendations for improvement.

 

 

November 2022

 

 


[1] Office for National Statistics, Crime in England and Wales: year ending March 2022 (2022), ons.gov.uk (CSEW March 22)

[2]Office for National Statistics, Crime in England and Wales: A comparison between year ending March 2022 and year ending June 2019 (2022) (ons.gov.uk)

[3] Crime in England and Wales - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

[4] Home Office, Police recorded crime and outcomes open data tables (2022), www.gov.uk

[5] CSEW March 22

[6] CSEW March 22

[7] National Health Service Digital, Monthly hospital admissions for assault by sharp object July 2022, NHS Digital. Please note Jul-22 figures are provisional and will likely increase by 20-40 admissions as more information is received from hospitals.

[8] Gov UK, Police recording crime open data Police Force Area tables from year ending March 2013 onwards, www.gov.uk

[9] Gov.UK, Police Officer Uplift, Quarterly Update to September 2022 (2022), (PUP September 2022 Update)

Police officer uplift, quarterly update to September 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

[10] By London forces we mean the Metropolitan Police Service, British Transport Police and City of London Police

[11] PUP June 2022 Update

[12] Police Digital Service, National Policing Strategy (2020) https://pds.police.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/National-Policing-Digital-Strategy-2020-2030.pdf

[13] The Policing Protocol Order 2011, No. 2744

[14] Gov.UK, Violence reduction unit year ending March 2021 evaluation report (2022) www.gov.uk

[15] Her Majesty’s Government, From Harm to Hope, (2021)

[16] CSEW 2020

[17] CSEW 2020

[18] CSEW 2020

[19]  Gov.UK, Police Officer Uplift, Quarterly Update to September 2022 (2022), (PUP September 2022 Update)

Police officer uplift, quarterly update to September 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

[20] The Macpherson Report: twenty-two years on: Government Response to the Committee’s Third Report of Session 2021-22 (parliament.uk)

[21] YouGov/EVAW Survey Results, (2021), EVAW.org.uk

[22] Her Majesty’s Government, Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy (2021)

[23] Her Majesty’s Government, Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan (2022)

[24] This data relates to comparisons between Q3 2020/21 (before the launch of the original JNAP) with Q1 2022/23.