Upcoming Elections Should Mean A Focus On Policing

There needs to be a “root-and-branch review into policing”, including funding, duties, mental health and performance culture, South Yorkshire Police Federation has said.

With PCC elections – and most likely a general election – in 2024, it’s time for politicians to support policing, said Federation Chair Steve Kent.

Steve said: “There needs to be a fundamental, root-and-branch review into policing. There needs to be a real shift in the way that police forces are funded. It needs to be recognised that areas with higher levels of poverty need to be funded more than areas that don’t have high poverty. At the moment, it’s a farce.

“We also need to see an examination into, holistically, what we do, because at the minute we are being set up to fail. There also needs to be a look at the mental health crisis that’s emerging in policing, and we need to look at the pay crisis that’s still going on – officers are vastly underpaid compared to our colleagues in other G7 countries.”

Performance targets were also a major problem in policing, Steve said, stating that he “fundamentally disagrees” with them.

He said: “Performance targets do not work well with the independence of the office of Constable. You’ve got officers across the country under pressure to fulfil targets, when that’s not what it should be about. There should be one target in policing, and one target alone, and that should just be victim satisfaction.

“If victims are satisfied with what the police have done, it shouldn’t matter if that’s been via an arrest, via a stop and search or anything else. The performance obsession within policing is totally unhealthy, and it’s driven by the Government and HMIC.

“The thing about British policing that is absolutely brilliant and head and shoulders above everybody else is that each PC acts under their own discretion and is empowered to use their own judgement. Targets skew that and create a risk to our officers, in my view.”