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  1. Response, investigation and neighbourhood roles becoming less distinct as 'underqualified' officers carry out detective work. Division of duties: The full in tray Date - 2nd May 2019 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle 6 Comments Policing has admitted a new world order for the first time where “underqualified” officers do jobs for which they have not been trained. Lines of responsibility are becoming “less distinct” as inexperienced response teams are carrying out investigations, often without enough supervision, amid a chronic national shortage of detectives. Bobbies on the beat are dealing with burglaries, thefts and assaults as a quarter of victims in a sample of cases did not receive the service they should expect, an assessment by the police watchdog inspectors has revealed. High-volume crimes are being resolved over the phone or allocated to officers without the necessary experience or qualifications, according to the first Peel spotlight report of 2019 from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services. Failings included opportunities to gather evidence not being followed up or potential lines of inquiry being missed. And redeploying neighbourhood officers, often to response, can damage their crime prevention work, limiting their engagement with communities, the report warns. HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said: "It used to be that you would have your CID, your response force, your community policing and they all had very discrete jobs. "Response officers didn't do investigations. Now they do. They don't have the same accreditation, they don't have the same experience." HMICFRS said investigations had become more complex because of the growth of online crime, the need to examine data on personal devices and improvements in identifying vulnerable victims. While high-risk probes were allocated to specialist investigators, frequently committed offences, such as burglary and theft from vehicles, were often resolved over the telephone or assigned to neighbourhood or response officers. "These officers often don't have enough formal training and qualifications in investigation," the report said. HMICFRS inspectors reviewed 2,608 randomly selected files from crimes recorded in the first three months of last year. They found that three quarters of theft offences and common assaults had "effective" investigations. The report said: "This means a quarter of these complainants aren't getting the service they should expect." The trend has emerged amid a shortfall in detectives and investigators, which the inspectorate has previously described as a "national crisis". HMICFRS says there has been some progress, with the deficit falling from 19 per cent to 14 per cent, but warned it would be a "few years" before all vacancies were filled. Mr Parr said: "There's a shortage of detectives to do the routine detective work, and very often it's being farmed out to people who do their best but are not trained at the same level." The Peel report A system under pressure – an overview of general findings that emerged in inspections of 14 forces – also found: Local policing is being "eroded" as neighbourhood officers are re-deployed, limiting their engagement with communities; Pressures of increased demand are stretching forces' ability to root out corruption and having an adverse effect on officer well-being; The number of 999 calls increased by five per cent nationally to nearly 10 million in 2017-18; and At the same time there was a three per cent fall in calls to the 101 non-emergency number, prompting the inspectorate to suggest the public are "losing confidence" in the service. The inspectorate concluded that police were delivering a good level of service with "dwindling resources", but warned that "cracks in the system" were widening. Mr Parr said: "Many of the forces we inspected are in general providing a good service to the public, but all are faced with competing priorities that if not managed correctly could see this service deteriorate." Police resources have repeatedly come under the spotlight following funding reductions and a fall of 21,000 in the number of officers from 2010 to 2018. Last year a Commons report warned policing risked becoming "irrelevant" amid vanishing neighbourhood presences and low detection rates. National Police Chiefs' Council chairman Martin Hewitt said the inspectorate had graded the majority of forces as either good or outstanding. He added: "Police chiefs, along with many others working in policing, have been very clear that the service is under severe pressure and requires additional long-term funding." The NPCC said it was working with other policing organisations to address challenges in recruiting and retaining detectives. A Home Office spokesman said: "We recognise new demands are putting pressure on the police and we are committed to ensuring they have the resource they need. "This is why we have provided more than a £1 billion increase in police funding compared to last year, including Council Tax and funding to tackle serious violence. "We are pleased to see detective capacity has increased by 5% this year, but are clear that forces must continue to make progress on reducing the shortfall to improve their investigative capabilities." The 14 forces inspected by HMICFRS were: City of London, Cumbria, Durham, Dyfed Powys, Essex, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Humberside, Kent, Leicestershire, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire, West Midlands and Wiltshire. View On Police Oracle
  2. The answer to police cuts is private companies funding their own law enforcement, says business lead. Camden Town: Businesses are financing their own law enforcement to fight against drug dealing and anti-social behaviour Date - 18th March 2019 By - Hermione Wright 4 Comments Business owners have taken matters into their own hands by funding nine private law enforcement officers. They say government cuts means the police service can no longer adequately protect them or their businesses. Simon Pitkeathley, Chief Executive of Camden Town Unlimited (CTU) - a body set up to protect the commercial side of London’s Camden Town - says money collected from businesses has been spent on funding six private security officers and part-funded three Met dedicated ward officers (DWOs). CTU has set aside £300,000 to pay for the nine people annually - £260,000 via business rates and £40,000 from Camden Market developer Lab Tech. The cash pays for the six private officers for one year, and under a Section 92 agreement, a loophole which allows the Met to unlock additional policing in exchange for private funding, the remaining cash pays for 50 per cent of the DWO’s annual salaries – the difference is paid by the Met. It is understood that if the private firm can no longer afford the DWO contribution, the Met will re-allocate them elsewhere in London. With drug dealing and anti-social behaviour in the area spiralling “out of control”, Mr Pitkeathley says it’s time for over-stretched police to consider more seriously teaming up with private companies to ensure there are enough officers protecting the streets. These companies can “be a partner to the force”, he says, and with the help of private security, “not only police officer instinct” will need to be relied upon in future. Mr Pitkeathley told Police Oracle: “We don’t know when the end point of this will be. We don’t think that we should be doing this frankly, this shouldn’t be hired by private industry. I hope that we don’t have to be doing this in five years’ time. “The cuts are hitting hard and the businesses are now having to pick up the slack at the same time that business rates have gone up as well as there being a late night levy – it seems incredibly unfair.” The three-year plan was put to a vote and shop owners decided to finance the radical solution – despite acknowledging that they would prefer to spend the money on projects like improving the area’s streetscape. However, despite the need to call in the private heavyweights, Mr Pitkeathley says CTU has a “good relationship” with the police with “lots of hands-on interaction”, and they meet for 30 minutes every week to discuss “suspicious people” and other law enforcing matters. “I wouldn’t say I’ve been let down by the force – officers are doing the best they can with the budget they’ve got,” he said. A Met Police spokesman said: “We would encourage residents who have concerns about policing in their area to contact their Dedicated Ward Officers (DWO). There are dedicated officers working in every ward across the capital. “Where organisations or communities wish to fund their own security patrols we will work with these personnel in the most appropriate way to prevent and detect crime. “Any reports of crime and evidence provided to the Met by a third party will always be assessed and dealt with in the most appropriate way.” View On Police Oracle
  3. A force will test a new approach to recruitment, roles and powers for people wanting to help it without getting paid. City of London Police specials at a recent attestation event A pilot scheme which will try to maximise the potential for volunteers to help the police service is about to begin. City of London Police will test a new approach where anyone who wants to give up time for law enforcement will be encouraged to do so – even if no roles exist for them at the moment. Under the Home Office-funded pilot the force, which leads on economic crime across the UK, is to introduce the system for trying to make the most of everyone who approaches it. Special Commander James Phipson told Police Oracle: “One of the biggest problems in the past is somebody walks into the front office of a police station anywhere in the country and says I want to help you, and the only thing that can be done is to direct them to HR. “Now HR doesn’t know what to do with them until it’s got a role description, risk assessment, you probably need vetting. Already you’ve probably derailed the police’s ability to use that person,” he said. Everyone “from the owner of an enormous accountancy firm” to a “pensioner who lives nearby” who approached the force will be sent to a recruitment event, to be held once a month. “Those events will be very different from events in the past, the role is really to evangelise, to say – if you want to help the police we want to help you to do so. “There’s lots of ways you can help us, we’ll use case studies that range from a barrister who might be prepared to take the odd phone call on a legal issue right the way through to an accountancy firm who will commit its fraud department to come in and assist us on a regular basis., or through to mucking out the stables.” He also gave examples of manning front desks and making tea in control rooms during crises. While the accounts of people being turned away from helping the police are anecdotal, researchers from the University of Northampton will be evaluating the pilot. The initiative will be launched next month with £25,000 from the police transformation fund going towards a fulltime coordinator and £10,000 for the evaluation. People in different departments across the force will have responsibility for helping to bring the would-be volunteers into their areas, though special constables are managing much of the programme “because they understand volunteers”. Those taking part may be assigned the new powers from the Police and Crime Act if it is thought useful. There is currently no guidance on how the powers can be used. S/Comm Phipson said an example of a volunteer the force is already about to use is an ex-soldier who ran ceremonies in the army who asked if he could help. “In the past we might have said you can be a special or a cadet otherwise we don’t know what to do with you, and he’s now going to be advising us on all of the state ceremonial occasions that we host. That’s gold dust.” Overall, he said: “The goal is to take away that ‘We don’t know you do for us therefore we can’t engage with you’ and reverse that to say ‘We now understand your skills, lets find out how we can use them’ because the answer will most always be ‘yes’." View On Police Oracle
  4. 'We welcome the considerable expertise City officers bring', force says. Scene of Thursday's attack in Mile End, east London. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire Detectives from City of London Police are aiding the Met as frequent violent attacks continue in the capital. On Thursday, six youths were attacked within a 90-minute period, including a 13-year-old boy who was seriously wounded after being set upon in Newham, east London. Around an hour earlier, two 15-year-olds were seriously hurt after being stabbed in Grove Road, Mile End, east London. More than 50 people have been killed in the metropolis since the start of the year, more than 30 of whom were fatally knifed. It was announced on Thursday that City of London Police are helping with the caseload. The force has taken on the investigation of a man killed at a bookmakers in Clapton, east London, on Wednesday. A statement from the Met said: “The investigation will be led by Superintendent Lee Presland, from City of London Police and a former Met officer. “The Met routinely works closely with other forces, especially its neighbouring forces - which include City of London Police - on a variety of crime prevention initiatives such as Operation Sceptre to tackle knife crime, and we welcome the considerable expertise City officers bring.” Victor Olisa, the Met's former head of diversity and head of policing in Tottenham told the Guardian: "It appears to people I have spoken to as though the police have lost control of public spaces and the streets. "The silence from senior officers in the Met is deafening." Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the rising number of murders on the capital's streets was "heartbreaking" and criticised the government for cuts to the policing budget. He said: "Of course it concerns me, I think one murder is one too many. "Since 2014 we have seen an increase in violent crime in London and across the country. "Already in the last seven years we have lost £700 million from the policing budget. Over the next three years the government plans to cut another £300 million. That's a billion pounds worth of cuts. "So my message to the government is please work with us to solve this national problem." View On Police Oracle
  5. For some obscure reason I cannot start a new topic so I thought I'd mention it here. Good news for Met, BTP, and CoLP Specials. Boris has announced a £150 Council Tax "cut" for London's Specials. I can't post the link or story for some reason so have a look on the Mayor Watch website or a simple search on Google for Special Constabulary in "News". Edit to add: Also a lot more details on the London.gov.uk website in News. Looks like it can be backdated 3 years!!!!

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