Forces Have ‘Lost Focus’ On Core Policing

Forces have lost their focus on core policing as they’ve become entrenched in dealing with other agencies’ work, South Yorkshire Police Federation has said.

Federation Chair Steve Kent said he agreed with a recent comment by the Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Gavin Stephens, who said that forces had lost sight of “bread-and-butter” neighbourhood policing – burglary, shoplifting and the things that affect people’s day-to-day lives.

Steve said: “I think British police forces have lost their focus on a lot of things over the past 12 to 13 years and that’s partly due to just having to survive as organisations. We have become so entrenched in dealing with other agencies’ work, medical problems, mental health problems, social services problems, that we absolutely lost focus on core policing, and I think a lot of the public would be horrified if they saw what we had to do.”

He continued: “Don’t get me wrong, Right Care, Right Person will go some way to redressing that situation. But the expectation of other public services is sometimes staggering, where they think their shortfalls should be picked up by policing. Well, no.

“We absolutely have lost that focus, but that’s not going to come back soon when we’ve got funding cuts, because we’re not going to have the resources, money or infrastructure to reverse this. In fact, the potential here is for this to get worse.”

Steve added that there was an urgent need for forces to ask the public what they want from policing.

He said: “If you ask most members of the public, I’m pretty confident that they’d say to deal with and stop burglary, public order offences, shoplifting, and for them to be able to go out and feel safe every day, rather than the police being a backup for other agencies that are struggling. So the public need to get involved in this and weigh in with their MPs and their local councils, to say what they actually want.”