HL Deb 17 January 1985 vol 458 cc1161-2WA
The Earl of Onslow

asked Her Majesty's Government:

If they will publish the report of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis on his proposed plans and priorities for the coming year.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Elton)

I am placing copies of the commissioner's recent report to my right honourable friend the Home Secretary in the Library of the House. He hopes to meet London Members soon to discuss the commissioners proposals and that it will be possible to find time to give an opportunity to debate the report before Easter in another place.

We have studied the commissioner's report carefully and have discussed its proposals fully with him. Nineteen eighty-four was a year of consolidation during which steady progress was made by the force in developing and further refining the strategy which my right honourable friend agreed a year ago. We remain convinced, as does the commissioner, that a strategy which continues to focus on the more effective use of manpower, on clearer objectives against crime, and on public co-operation, will best deliver the service that Londoners seek.

Last year's rise in crime is disappointing, but the commissioner is able to report an encouraging improvement in the clear-up rate achieved against burglary and an increase in the number of offences of street robbery cleared up. The force is particularly to be congratulated on the continued development of Neighbourhood Watch. We believe that the successful launch of these schemes in a short time reflects a growing understanding among Londoners of their responsibility to co-operate with the police in preventing crime. The report also show evidence of a continuing concern to achieve more effective use of expensive manpower and other resources, and to ensure that officers at all levels are aware of their personal responsibility to secure value for money. My right honourable friend has stressed to the commissioner that he expects to see an increasingly sharp focus on sound financial planning and management.

The commissioner's aim in 1985 will be further to improve the quality of service offered through;

  1. (a) the reduction of criminal opportunity through crime prevention, public contact, involvement and co-operation;
  2. (b) the enhanced detection of specific criminal offences—namely, robbery, burglary, drug abuse, racial attacks, vandalism and autocrime—in accordance with locally or centrally identified priorities;
  3. (c) the effective, efficient and economic use of manpower and other resources; and
  4. (d) the development of corporate and personal professionalism.

We particularly endorse the commissioner's determination to deal effectively with drugs offences and racial attacks. My right honourable friend has emphasised to him that he regards it as of the highest importance that every effort is made to achieve results in these areas.

As my right honourable friend the Home Secretary has already announced, a major development this year will be the restructuring of the force so that more of the available resources can be concentrated on operational policing at divisional level. The reorganisation will take two years to complete. As police authority, my right honourable friend will be consulted at every stage.