Written Evidence submitted by Mr Rawson (POP0080)

[Note: This evidence has been redacted by the Committee. Text in square brackets has been inserted where text has been redacted.]

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1. Forty-three police forces of England & Wales are in desperate need of reform. To ensure best value for money and a high-quality service for the people a major reorganisation is required.


2. The four largest police forces, many of which were formed by amalgamating smaller forces many years ago, remain unaffected by the following suggestion that forces, many with less than 2,000 officers, amalgamate to form thirteen (this number is arbitrary) REGIONAL Police Forces.


3. To fully appreciate the need for this reorganisation it is helpful to understand there are two distinct parts in every police force – administration and service delivery.

Every pound spent on administration is a pound less spent on delivering the service to the public.


4. The challenge is to reduce the cost of administration and maximise the amount spent on front line services such as community and roads policing, emergency response and criminal investigations.


5. A good example of a Regional Police Force is POLICE – EAST ANGLIA, the amalgamation of the four constabularies of Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk with its headquarters outside Cambridge, the geographical centre of the force area.


6. Each of the former constabularies becomes a Division with a Deputy Chief Constable at its head. The Division is divided into Sub-Divisions, headed by a Chief Superintendent and further divided into Sections headed by a Chief Inspector.


7. Community (local) Policing can be at the forefront of Regional Police Forces, where the biggest changes are in administration unnoticed by the public who will see an increased police presence and a much-improved police response to their concerns. 

It must be made very clear local policing improvements are dependent upon the return of police stations – when a police station closes a community effectively loses its police officers and any pretence at prevention of criminal activity.  


8. New Regional Police Force Headquarters must include administration, recruitment, finance (pay & pensions) departments.

Residential accommodation for recruit training, promotion and CID (Criminal Investigation Department) courses providing best value for the taxpayer and a fit for purpose modern police service.


9. The new HQ should include a dedicated Forensic Science facility providing the force with an efficient response to crime scene investigators, removing the unacceptable delays in the privatised forensic science sector that exists today.


10. Finally, the estate must include a department dedicated to online crime and cybercrime, to be staffed by highly trained civilians – people with IT skills who do not require police powers of arrest, baton and officer safety training.

The unit to have a small number of police officers for supervision and to effect arrests and process cases through the criminal justice system.


11. The demands placed upon today’s police service exceed the capability of all forces and service delivery to the public is understandably poor at times.

One of the worst affected departments is Roads Policing, as highlighted in a recent damning report by HMIC.

With thirty-eight million vehicles on Britain’s roads and a rising collision rate the public is being seriously disadvantaged by the lack of trained Roads Policing officers dedicated to reducing accidents and addressing congestion which, by 2030, is estimated to have cost the economy £300bn.


12. To address all of the issues raised by HMIC, it is suggested England & Wales have a dedicated NATIONAL TRAFFIC POLICE (NTP) FORCE.


13. The force to be based upon the British Transport Police model which is funded by the Train Operating Companies and superimposed upon Home Office forces.

The National Traffic Police, with responsibility for all traffic related matters, should be funded by HM Treasury from the billions of pounds paid each year by motorists.


14. The proposed NTP is a properly constituted police force with the same powers, conditions of service, salaries and pensions as Home Office forces.

Regional headquarters of the NTP to be accommodated in the thirteen (?) new HQs and the force to work closely with all other police forces.

There are numerous advantages in having a dedicated Traffic Police –  for example officers who are highly trained will not be transferred to duties where their skills are not used, promotion within the force to ensure senior officers have come through the ranks and lead from real experience, a common enforcement policy throughout England & Wales, a high profile presence on the roads and motorways to influence driver behaviour (the greatest deterrent to law breaking is the fear of being caught), and a significant increase in vehicle Stop & Search (criminals use vehicles to convey stolen property, drugs and weapons).

Economies of scale, one model of 4 X 4 vehicle (with towing capability) one model of marked and unmarked patrol cars and motorcycles, high profile instantly recognised all-weather uniforms ensure value for money and very little waste.


15. The National Traffic Police Force can provides a rapid response to major incidents, additional armed response vehicles in cities where gun crime is on the increase and the transfer of some duties currently carried out by Home Office forces i.e. escorts of royalty, high value loads etc.

The force would be ideally suited to take over all police driver training in England & Wales with Regional Driving Schools situated at the Regional Headquarters – where residential facilities are available. 


16. The NTP should be the lead agency for motorways with National Highways civilian Traffic Officers providing a support service. This would ensure a very visible police presence for enforcement and immediate response whilst influencing driver behaviour.


17. It is acknowledged the suggestions contained in this evidence are radical and will not receive the support of many of today’s police forces.


18. These radical changes can only be achieved Region by Region over a period of time. Police officers will require guarantees in respect of their place of service (in respect of Police – East Anglia an officer currently serving in Chelmsford cannot be moved to Norwich on the whim of the Chief Constable).

Minimum strengths must be established to prevent some communities losing officers to towns and cities where crime is prevalent. 


19. If the committee agree the status quo is not an option, a sub- committee could examine the feasibility of Regional Police Forces.


20. In respect of the proposed National Traffic Police Force, the committee could call upon the experiences of Roads Policing Constables, Sergeants and Inspectors (as opposed to senior officers with no Roads Policing experience!) 


November 2022