Headlines: February 8th, 2006

People across England and Wales are to be given information on how well their local police force is performing. Summaries about policing are to be sent to every household in a move announced by the Home Office, which has issued guidance to police authorities and forces on what the documents should include.The guidelines say the summary reports must contain a statement of the police authority’s priorities for the year, an assessment of how well the police force met the previous year’s priorities and an assessment of how well the force has met any strategic policing priorities set by the Home Secretary.

The guidance goes on to suggest that the reports should offer information on how policing is organised and delivered in the area including details of local neighbourhood policing teams and how they can be contacted. It also offers advice on further ways to inform and reach out to communities.

Home Office Minister Hazel Blears said the reports would mean that every home had relevant and useful information about the priorities and performance of their local force. “If local people are to actively engage in policing, they need to be better informed and understand how to access and influence local policing,” she said.

Recent Home Office research, she said, had shown that effective and responsive neighbourhood policing was essential to sustaining the public’s confidence and trust and to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour. She added, “By working with the community the police will be able to exchange information and work together to continue to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and improve the numbers of offences brought to justice.”