Headlines: July 4th, 2001

Home Secretary David Blunkett has called a meeting of all Chief Constables to hear about the issues which are concerning them. The meeting is part of a consultation process on the criminal justice reform programme, which will include a Police Bill.It has already been announced that a study has been launched to get the views from the frontline. Police constables will be asked about their working day as part of a study to help to inform the police reform and modernisation process. Bureaucracy is recognized as a problem and the study will seek to find out why police officers are held back from effective policing by unnecessary paper work or blockages in the system. The study team will look at the daily routine and working practices of front-line police officers to identify ways in which time could be saved. It will also look for ways in which new technology can reduce paperwork.

Senior police officers are expressing concern about increased central direction resulting from the setting up of a Police Standards Unit within the Home Office. An assurance has been given that operational matters will remain the responsibility of Chief Officers but it is clear that the Unit will have a significant influence on the way that individual police forces are managed. The Unit will have the task of driving up performance and ensure that best practice is applied. It will draw on the work of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.

The model for the Standards Unit was developed by the DfEE, as it was titled, while David Blunkett was Education Minister. The Unit successfully drove up standards in primary education, particularly by spearheading the ‘big idea’ of the literacy and numeracy hours.

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