Book News: July 24th, 2007

By Barry Loveday and Jonathan McClory, Edited by Gavin Lockhart.This report presents findings of a survey of the views of police superintendents in England and Wales by the think tank Policy Exchange. It reveals disturbing levels of dissatisfaction amongst commanders. Performance management appears to have increased bureaucracy and stifled innovation, distracting the police from focusing on the safety of the communities they serve. Local commanders lack the control over resources necessary to ensure that the service is as effective as possible and are hindered by a worryingly high level of non operational tasks.

The detailed findings show that 71% of superintendents believe the Home Office’s reporting requirements have a negative impact on the quality of policing in their area, while only 12% regard the targets as helpful. Nearly a fifth of superintendents disagreed with the notion that staff are encouraged to innovate and put forward new ideas. Crucially, 85% of superintendents regard the number of ‘abstractions’ where officers are unavailable for operational duties, as a problem. Almost two-thirds of commanders complain that they have too little control over resources, increasing the strain on them as they try to meet the demands of their local community.

The report is available at: