Font Size: A A A


Strategic Review of Policing

A new Crime Prevention Agency is among 56 recommendations urging reform to police culture, skills and training and organisational structure, in a Strategic Review of Policing in England and Wales, chaired by Sir Michael Barber and carried out by the Police Foundation think-tank.

Launching the Review’s final report in London, Sir Michael Barber said: “There is a crisis of confidence in policing in this country which is corroding public trust. The reasons are deep rooted and complex – some cultural and others systemic. However taken together, unless there is urgent change, they will end up destroying the principle of policing by consent that has been at the heart of British policing for decades.

“Policing in this country is at a crossroads and it cannot stand still whilst the world changes so quickly around it. Now is the moment to move forward quickly on the path of reform. The warning signs if we do nothing are flashing red and we ignore them at our peril.

“This report represents the most comprehensive review of policing for a generation and sets out an agenda for fundamental change. It is the product of over two years of work and engagement with the police and a range of different stakeholders. Everyone recognises the need to shift the odds, which too often are stacked in favour of the criminal. We need a modern police service fit for the future which is at the cutting edge of technology and training. And we need it urgently. I believe the will is there and that the talented police officers who work tirelessly for the public would be the strongest champions of change.”

As for police and crime, detection rates generally have almost halved in the last seven years. Last year, more than half, 53pc of all crime affecting people in England and Wales was fraud and cybercrime. Despite this, just 0.1pc result in a charge or summons.

What’s proposed

A Crime Prevention Agency would be responsible for designing out crime at source, and would have powers to enforce a new statutory duty on large companies to prevent crime. To tackle increasing cross border crime there should be a major expansion of the National Crime Agency (NCA), to make it more like a British FBI. Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs), which sit with local police forces, should be transferred over to the NCA.

The Home Office should introduce a Licence to Practice for police officers, administered by the College of Policing. This should be renewed every five years, subject to an officer demonstrating professional development through achieving relevant qualifications, passing an interview or presenting a portfolio of activities and achievements. Any police officer who fails this assessment could receive further support including mentoring. After successive failures they would have their licence removed and would no longer be able to practice as a police officer.

About the report

Among the advisory board was Dee Collins, the retired West Yorkshire Police chief constable; former Home Office policing minister Nick Hurd; former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith; Richard Hobbs, the lead Partner for UK Policing at the audit firm Deloitte; and Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime in London; former BBC TV Crimewatch host Nick Ross; and criminologist Prof Ian Loader.

To download the 196-page report, visit:

Photo by Mark Rowe; Deptford police station, east London.


Related News