What is the role of the police in society? Does it go beyond simply cutting crime and acting as law-keepers to include working with local communities in ways that are sometimes characterised as acting more as “social workers” or “youth workers”?
How should forces work together following the introduction of the new Police and Crime Commissioners? How do we break down barriers between forces to encourage the sharing of best practice and increased cooperation? What needs to happen to ensure that the new Police and Crime Panels (PCPs) act as a check on the power of the Commissioner and are effective at guarding against politicisation and operational interference?
Do current arrangements for entry into the police service meet both the needs of the police and current employment patterns and expectations of potential recruits?
These are just some of the questions being asked as part of Liberal Democrats’ review of party policing policy.
The next few years will be challenging ones for the police. They will have to manage major organisational changes and respond to significant financial pressures. With the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act receiving Royal Assent recently, we are aiming to produce an up-to-date policy position that is fair, local and liberal for debate at Spring Conference 2012. This timescale does not give the opportunity of a formal consultative session with members so we are keen to get as many views as possible.
The floor is yours and all responses welcome!
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James Kempton is Policy Consultant to the Home Affairs, Justice and Equalities Parliamentary Party Committee.