Headlines: July 13th, 2000

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens has called for a major re-think in policing. The Commissioner says that the police service has become locked in a reactive spiral of chasing crime, over focussing on its aftermath and devoting too little attention to prevention. Innovative change to put law enforcement ‘upstream’ of crime must, he says, involve collective action from the whole of society, not just the police.And he is accepting that there may be scope for a new public body such as a crime safety executive, rather like the Health and Safety Executive, but responsible for protecting people and preventing crime.

The Commissioner made his comments to the Police Foundation, an independently funded policing research and development charity which maintains a research and training programme on local, national and international policing topics. He has pledged to make London the safest capital city in the world and believes that to achieve this the police must embrace new thinking. They must also work with scientists to make greater headway in ‘designing out’ crime. Mobile phones were given as an example of new technology which has spawned a whole new crime industry, from theft of the phones to fraud, yet if the resources had been in place at the right time, it should have been possible to design technology to render a stolen phone unusable. Find the full text of Sir John’s speech at www.met.police.uk/commiss/foundation.htm